I am thrilled to have Stacey Pardoe here today to give us a glimpse into the life of an Enneagram One. This begins our foray into the Gut/Anger Triad. Stacey is one of those people whose writing draws you in from the first word. Enjoy her words and leave her some love in the comments.
Dawn is just breaking through barren maples as I settle beside the window. Thick study Bible open on my lap, my hope is to drink deeply from these words of life so that I might pour out love when the day unfolds.
I pause to pray before digging into a Psalm, and my eyes are drawn to the smudges on the sliding glass door in front of me. It seems tiny applesauce-hands found their place in this same space not so long ago. It takes everything within me not to go get the window cleaning cloth from the cupboard.
Redirecting my attention outside to the deck, my eyes settle on a little boy’s yellow bike helmet on the far edge of the deck – out of place. Really trying to focus on God and step into soul-silence, I gaze out to the yard, where a plastic crocodile see-saw has been pulled from its place in the shed and left haphazardly in the middle of the yard. Next to it, there are two weathered basketballs and a plastic golf club.
I desperately want to still my soul, but in the midst of what feels like a chaotic mess, the battle to focus my racing mind feels insurmountable.
Who is the Reformer?
This is life as an Enneagram Type One. Known as an Idealist or the Reformer, Type Ones tend to be perfectionists, moralists, and principled individuals. We focus on right and wrong – good and bad – and we’re always looking for ways to make the world around us better (hence the obsession with the toys strewn throughout the yard).
Type Ones are known for being hard-working, responsible, honest, dependable, practical, and self-controlled. We are disciplined and have high standards. Type Ones dream of making things perfect. We make good teachers, and we are the women you’re seeking when it comes time to plan your wedding or large event.
Unfortunately, Type Ones also tend to be overly critical, resentful, non-adaptable, judgmental, and emotionally repressed. We struggle with spontaneity, and we are often too rigid. Our loved ones sometimes feel they can never perform to meet our high standards.The day I discovered I was a Type One, I was almost ashamed to admit it.The label “Reformer,” in itself, seemed less gentle and loving than other Enneagram Types, such as “Helper” or “Peacemaker.” #EnneaWhat #TellHisStory @StaceyPardoe Click To Tweet
I felt like a hard task-master in a world where women are applauded for being gentle and loving wives and mothers. However, seeing this aspect of my personality has also been transformational as I seek to honor Christ with my God-given personality.
Spiritual Mindsets of an Enneagram One
The following mindsets have helped me immensely as I am to honor Christ as a Type One:
1. Aim for Excellence over Perfection
Type Ones benefit from exchanging perfectionism for excellence. A like-minded friend once challenged me to overcome perfectionism by “letting it be.” This means that when I see something small that happens to be out of place in my house, regarding my children, or strewn in the backyard, I leave it alone. I resist the urge to rush to clean a small mess when I’m in the midst of something more important.
This pursuit of excellence instead of perfection applies to everything from my standards for my house, to my eating and exercise patterns, to the expectations I have for my career and for my children. I am not aiming to be perfect, I am simply aiming for excellence.
2. Give Yourself Opportunities for Laughter
Type Ones tend to take ourselves very seriously. We have high expectations for ourselves, and because of these expectations, we sometimes find it difficult to relax. For this reason, I carve out time each week for sheer relaxation. I take walks, lounge in the living room with the kids, and watch a slap-stick comedy television show once a week. Opportunities to relax and laugh are deeply life-giving to my very serious personality.
3. Don’t Take Yourself so Seriously
Creating opportunities for laughter helps me take myself less seriously. It’s also important that I don’t burden loved ones with standards that are too high to meet. I remind myself that life will go on, even if my kids don’t clean the toys to my expectations or flawlessly make their beds. “Good enough” really is good enough, both for myself and for those I love.
Instead of silently chastising myself for submitting a piece of writing with a grammatical error, I extend grace to myself. In the same light, when my 9-year-old brings home a less-than-perfect spelling test, I remind us both that we are not aiming for perfection; we are aiming for excellence.
4. Remember where You Find Your Identity
I am prone to find my identity in what I can produce and how well I can perform. The most powerful reality in my life is the realization that I am not defined by what I do, but by the One to whom I belong.
Above all else, God calls me “beloved” (see Song of Solomon 2:16). This endearing term is the core of my identity. I am the apple of his eye (see Psalm 17:8). God’s love was proven for me, once and for all, when he sent Jesus to die for me on the cross (see Romans 5:8). I do not need to perform or to maintain perfection, because I am sealed as God’s beloved child. Period.
Despite the distraction of the mess out my window, I manage to stay put and connect with God through my morning time with him. And perhaps this is the greatest victory of all: Putting the most important relationship in my life in front of my ongoing pursuit of perfection. If you know a Type One, or if you are a Type One yourself, my prayer is that you will extend greater grace to yourself and remember that your highest calling is not the pursuit of perfection; your highest calling is to a relationship with Christ.
**Next week our Enneagram series continues with Ruthie Gray, an Enneagram Nine. This is another post you don’t want to miss.
Here is a rundown of the Enneagram series so far and links to catch all the posts you missed.
Stacey is a lover of the woods, a passionate and imperfect follower of Christ, the mother of three blue-eyed children, the wife of Darrell, and much more. She writes words about her walk of faith in the in-between moments, and she mentors and teaches the Bible to younger women.
My blog: www.staceypardoe.com
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Stacey – I could relate, although, over time, I have made great strides. However, I will always be a work in progress. Thank you Mary for sharing Stacey with us today.
Hearing that you’ve made strides encourages me, Maree! God certainly keeps me humble as I continue to aim to overcome the negative-side of my personality! Thanks for connecting with us here this week! You are an inspiration to me every week!
Stacey … thank you for that gentle reminder where we need to find our identity! Only the Lover of our souls can give us what we’re craving … in great abundance.
Thanks for reminding me of my own reminder today, Linda! Oh how I am a woman who needs to stand on this identity of being a beloved daughter of the King every single day! Be blessed as you continue to bless others!
Thanks for reminding me of my own reminder today, Linda! Be blessed as you continue to bless others!
I may not know which number I am, but I do know one is not it! I am the queen of, “it’s good enough.”
Me too, Lauren. Sounds like there’s a little “Number One” somewhere in there for you too! May we learn to lay down those things which God calls us to release, whether they feel good enough or not!
Stacey, I’m not sure of my number, but how often have I sat on my porch to read and ended up weeding the flower bed. My husband said, “Don’t look at it.” But I saw it. I regret the times I was too hard on my children when they were growing up, thinking I was helping them learn how to do something better. Thanks for this wonderful post. I have learned to rest. God gave me some challenges to make sure I got the message.
This is good wisdom from a woman who has lived out these years of parenting little ones, Debbie! Thanks for this reminder today! And now for this mama to learn to receive the gift of rest as well!
Thanks for this great study, Stacey. I have had a lot of those “1” tendencies over the years too. But God has gradually been softening them, even to the point that it’s just not possible to be that perfectionist in this current season of chronic illness. But I can see how He is still working in me to not be so hard on myself! What a faithful God we have, He is so persistent but so tender towards us. Blessings to you this week!
Thanks for this encouragement, Bettie! I’m sorry it has taken chronic illness to press out the perfectionist, but God does use these trials to soften us. Thank you for taking the time to share your wisdom and experience here in this space. Be blessed as you press toward the King!
Thank you, Stacey, for this enlightening post. I don’t think I’m a One, but I do have some tendencies towards being a perfectionist. Like you told Jeanne, I am learning to step back and “let it be.” 🙂 I love this – “Above all else, God calls me “beloved” (see Song of Solomon 2:16). This endearing term is the core of my identity.” Amen! Thank you for pointing this out. I’m having trouble with what my number is, and I sometimes feel like an oddball. I can rule certain ones out, but I can’t yet pin one down. So your reminder of this truth is so comforting. Love and blessings to you and Mary!
Letting it be is no easy calling for me, but I’m learning, Trudy! Thanks so much for reading and taking the time to share your thoughts! Taking the test can be quite fun if you have fifteen minutes some day to dig in! It was helpful for me to see where I fell, and it really helps me identify moments when I’m pushing outside God’s best for me or falling back to the flesh instead of letting him work through me and my number!
If I had taken the E test 25 years ago I would have been a one but time and age has mellowed me!!! Great wisdom shared here.
Oh to be mellowed, Susan! I pray God softens these rough edges as he conforms me to the likeness of Christ! Thanks for your thoughts and wisdom!
This is a great post, Stacey! It is interesting to learn more about the different types and how that plays out in everyday life. I’m not a number 1 but I do need to remind myself to let go of perfection at times too!
Thanks for reading, Lesley! It seems so many of us struggle with perfectionism on some level! I’m learning to let this go, but it has been hard death to self! Thanks for your encouraging words! I am blessed every time I read your words as well! Fun connecting with you in this space!
This was so helpful in understanding the one’s I know. You put flesh and soul on the number. I can so relate, to wanting to hop up and clean the window and move the toys. It is hard for to relax when my environment is not tidy. And I loved the part about not expecting others to live up to our expectations. This just causes grief for them and us.
Thanks for connecting, Theresa! And now for me to remember to live this out! It sure is a process, but I’m slowly learning to keep first things first! I’m so glad these words spoke to you! You are an encouragement and a blessing!
Oh, Stacey. I love the insight you show here. Isn’t it wonderful how the Enneagram can shine the light on our God-given personality so we can give ourselves some grace?
Your #3 is one truth I remind myself of repeatedly. My Enneagram number is a 7, but maybe I have a little bit of 1 in me too! 🙂
Thanks for reading and sharing, Laurie! Grace sure is important! I’m so thankful for God’s unending grace for me . . . and now to offer that same grace to myself (and to others)! It’s a hard calling at times, but he is faithful to equip us! Bless your day, my friend!
Wow, Stacey … this is so insightful. I love the idea of aiming for excellence over perfection. We can only do our best, and that’s enough. I don’t think I’m a “1” but there have definitely been seasons in my life when each one of your points would have been extremely helpful to paste on my bathroom mirror! Wonderful post!
I should probably hang this on my bathroom mirror too, Lois! It’s easy to sit down and lay it all out, but living it out is a whole different beast! I’m so thankful for God’s grace to help us glorify him with our personalities! Thanks for taking the time to read and comment today! It’s so much fun connecting with so many like-minded sisters!
I call myself a recovering perfectionist so I really appreciated your point to strive for excellence instead of perfection.
I, too, cringe when I see a grammatical mistake I’ve made. At least on my blog, I can fix it, but often when I comment on other blogs, I can’t figure out how to change the mistake. Then I’m embarrassed and beat myself up. “Why can’t you remember to proofread,” I’ll say unkindly to myself. You’re so right, we need to remind ourselves, it is “good enough.”
I’m with you, Jerralea! It’s no easy thing to extend grace to ourselves. But I’m thankful for the gentle ways God humbles me in those moments. I also see his sense of humor shining through. One blog post title mistake was a misspelling in the title “Why Starting Poorly Is Better than Not Starting at all.” I misspelled “starting.” A friend pointed out that it almost seemed intentional to misspell a word in the title when the post was about starting poorly! God surely smiled . . .
Excellence over perfection! Yes, doing our best is what God asks of us, isn’t it? And lean into His strength to do so. I love how One’s can see what needs to be changed and then go for it, with discipline and tenacity. They are important in my world where being spontaneous can lead me off my path. So thankful for your gifts!
What kind words, Lynn! I’m so grateful for the God who made us all different – and able to create balance for his glory! Thanks for taking the time to point out these strengths offered by the Ones out there!
Thanks for writing about me 😊. And thank you for the advice to strive towards excellence, not perfection. Although my relationship with God has been my priority for years, I sometimes lose sight of the fact that he doesn’t need or want me to be perfect or strive for excellence on my own. He wants me to lean on him.
I should have guessed you were a fellow One, Anita! May we keep striving for excellence and set aside that gnawing desire for perfection. And may we learn to lean on him more and more as we set it aside!
I so appreciated this post, more than I can even express, as it helped me to better understand a one in my life 🙂 This brought such a needed perspective. Thank you, Stacey, for your words and insight!
Oh, I’m so glad this was helpful for you, Joanne! My husband probably would have really appreciated reading a post by a One sometime in the thick of our first year together 🙂 I’m glad it was insightful for you, my friend!
As a 1, I completely understand everything you said. Since digging deeper into the enneagram & finding out more what a 1 is & how I can use this to grow closer to Him, I struggle with the harshness of being a 1. God made me this way on purpose & I have no doubt that I can use it for His Kingdom, it’s just getting past walls that I’ve put up & letting go of what really doesn’t matter. Thanks for sharing a piece of your bubble with us.
“Good enough” really is good enough, both for myself and for those I love.
Yes! Those are awesome words of advice for all of us, regardless of our type. I have a lot of One tendencies myself. When I notice a grammatical error on one of my blog posts, I immediately cringe and can’t wait to fix it. Your examples of seeing all the things “wrong” as you were having your quiet time also feel very real to me. I love your advice to work through the perfectionist tendencies and aim for excellence instead.
As with the other posts in this series so far, you provide a great look into the life of your number, Stacey! An excellent post indeed. 🙂 Thank you for sharing here and for all the excellent posts you give us at your blog.
Thanks so much for these affirming words, Lisa! I laughed as I read them, because I once had a grammatical error in the TITLE of my blog post. Somehow, when I fixed it, it still refused to appear correctly in previews shared on social media. I wanted to melt into the floor! But through my humanness, God continually shows me his goodness and his love, regardless of the size of my imperfections! He is so good!
Thank you for sharing so honestly. Thought I’m a type #2, I have a lot of #1 tendencies. In my earlier days I was such a perfectionist and I was ruthlessly hard on myself. It can still be hard to just let things be. In my later years, I believe I’ve settled in more to my Helper role. I may still try to “help perfectly” (whatever that looks like??).
We are like-minded sisters, Bev! I’m only one point away from being a dominant Two. You are so right on: My default is to be the “perfect helper” in all situations! This doesn’t always go well when it comes to trying to help my kids or be a helpmeet to my husband! Oh, I am a woman who needs Jesus, and I’m so thankful for his mercy and lovingkindness!
I know very little about the Enneagram, but I’m enjoying reading about the different types. I can identify with the struggle for excellence rather than perfection.
I didn’t know much either until a few months ago, actually, Barbara. A friend suggested I take the test, and it’s been so helpful in understanding myself as well as my loved ones! This is just a great series on honoring God, regardless of our “Types.” I’m so honored to be a part of it!
Stacey, you already know that I love you, and this bit of insight into your life as a one has been so helpful in understanding you and other friends who I suspect may also be 1’s. I identify with your feelings about your number–Oh, how I would love to be a sweet 2 helper or a peacemaking 9! And yet God, in his wisdom, has ordained differently, and our gift it to the world is to show up with the best our numbers have to offer, knowing that our greatest weaknesses can also become our greatest strengths as God transforms us. Miraculous!
You are so precious to me, Michele! I love the reminder that our greatest gift to the world is to show up with the best our numbers have to offer – to let God work in the weak areas of those numbers! Amen! I remind myself all the time that even when I’m being ridiculous in my pursuit of making things better around me, God can work through me as he humbles me and uses me, all at the same time!
Even though I’m not a ‘one’ this was still very encouraging in some areas that I struggle with. It’s like every now and then I see imperfections so much stronger and I’ve definitely had to learn to put things in the right place especially when it comes to parenting with grace.
Oh to parent with grace. You know you’re really speaking my language today, April! May we continue to lean into the God who shows up in our weakest places and makes his power perfect! Thanks for taking the time to read and connect today!
Awwww, Stacey, yes and amen. I’m a One as well. I loved your words, and I found myself nodding my head through much of your post. Thanks for the reminder to give myself grace. I’m pretty terrible about doing that. Great words here!
I’m so thankful God extends grace upon grace, Jeanne! There are moments when my Type-one personality even starts to drive ME crazy, and I can hardly imagine how my family members are feeling! May we learn to step back, breathe, and “let it be” when it’s not essential to dive in and “fix it up.” If I could do this once a day, I imagine my family would be blessed!