BY HANNAH STAPLETON, GRACE ATTENDER
Read the Enneagram series here.
Sevens are the most fun number on the Enneagram (no offense). Sevens are always running around, looking for the next great adventure. Part of Fear/Head triad, sevens seek out adventures in order to avoid pain or unpleasant emotions. At their healthiest, they learn to incorporate pain and dissatisfaction into their lives. But when they are unhealthy, they are wracked with inadequacy and avoid pain at all costs. That friend who is always asking you to go on a last minute road trip? Almost positive they’re a 7.
The passion or deadly sin for Sevens is gluttony—they have a need to devour positive experiences that is almost compulsive. They are fully of inexhaustible optimism. When they move towards security, they become more like a healthy 5. They contribute more and settle more fully into their lives. In times of stress, the look more like unhealthy Ones. They become pessimistic and judgmental.
Tommy Weber (TW) and I go all the way back to high school and he’s practically my big brother. Tommy is married, in his mid-twenties, living in Los Angeles. He’s been a Christian for about 20 years. He grew up in a Christian home and attended a mixture of public schools and religious schools. Now he works as an Assistant Editor for a podcast publisher.
Barry Rodriguez (BR) is the Associate Senior Pastor at Grace Church in Noblesville, IN. He is married to Olivia, and together they have two adopted rabbits, Humphrey and Roo. Barry is passionate about helping people find their destiny in the kingdom of God. He formerly founded and ran a non-profit photojournalism organization, World Next Door, which gave him opportunities to engage with the global church in the developing world. Along with being a pastor, Barry and Olivia are working on their dream to develop a permaculture animal rescue farm.
Sophie Miller (SM) is currently a sophomore Musical Theatre Major at Millikin University. She’s been a Christian since she was a young girl and has been attending Grace since she was born with my family. When she was home for an internship this summer, she volunteered and helped lead worship at Grace 146th Street, and growing up, she was involved in several of the Grace shows.
What’s your favorite thing about being a 7?
TW: We love to chill! Us 7s always have room in our day for some fun.
BR: As a 7, I joke that “I may swim in a lot of pools, but I always dive in head first.” Life is an adventure for me, and there is always something new to learn and experience!
SM: I love how I find joy in the little things. I think of everything as an adventure, and often daydream. But in this way, it helps me relate to other people who are different than me.
What’s the worst or hardest thing about being a 7?
TW: I once heard 7s described as people who avoid pain and tedium at all costs. My dirty apartment and piles of dishes agree.
BR: It can be a challenge to “stay in the room” with my painful emotions. If I could stay between “happy” and “ecstatic” at all times, that would be perfect. When experiences lose their luster or when relationships become challenging, it can be tempting to just jump away into some new experience which doesn’t hurt as much. A healthy 7 can be sober-minded and hopeful. An unhealthy 7 can be flighty and unable to commit or be serious.
SM: I often overwork myself. I want to try anything and everything, therefore leading me to getting involved in too many things/experiences. This makes it hard to give my all into everything I do.
If you could describe your number in three words, what would you pick?
TW: Dancing Through Life (the song from Wicked)
BR: Yay! Wow! Neat!
SM: Dreamer, Adventurer, Optimist
When did you know you’d found your number?
TW: My sister told me the best way to figure out your number is to figure out what you’re most averse to. I realized I was averse to anything that—and this is the technical term—“sucked.”
BR: Several years ago as I was running a non-profit social justice magazine which had me traveling the world and living in slums, refugee camps, and mountain villages (can’t get more 7 than that!). The “adventure” side of the 7 was obvious. The “avoiding hard emotions” side was a bit more of a surprise, but revealed itself to be true.
SM: Once I met more people who I related to, and realized they were also 7’s. Every time I read what excites them and disappoints them, I feel it describes me perfectly.
What’s one thing about your number you think everyone should know?
TW: If you feel like your 7 friend has been a consistent flake recently, let them know you miss them. I don’t want to give us 7’s too many excuses because Lord knows too much wiggle-room enables our poorer choices, but please be patient with us when we behave as bad friends. Let us know but give us a chance to redeem ourselves as well. If they’re a good friend, they won’t keep making that mistake.
BR: 7s are NOT all thrill-seeking, emotion-avoiding, failure-to-launch kids. We can be mature and thoughtful and can bring joy and life into dark places.
SM: 7’s aren’t always scattered, spontaneous, and they can focus. I’m a 7 for example who has to plan ahead for everything, even though it’s often stereotyped that we don’t.
What’s your wing? How does that play in to your dominant type?
TW: I’m not sure about my wing actually. If I had to guess I would say that I’m a wing 6 because I have to fight a million worries every day about whether or not people like me. After a social gathering, my drive home consists of me replaying every interaction and fretting over how I came off.
BR: I am an 8 wing. Honestly, I’m not sure I buy the whole “wing” philosophy. But perhaps my 8 wing helps me be a bit more assertive and allows me to see my ideas through to reality.
SM: 6! They say a 7 wing 6 is usually the entertainer. This definitely reflects in what I’m studying as I’m a performer. 6’s are the loyalists which sometimes I think I relate to more than a 7, especially at school with my friends and classmates. The enthusiast in me (7) combines with the hard-working part of me (6) and helps me get things done while enjoying them.
How does the Enneagram play into your vocation?
TW: Working in media is 100% because of my 7-ness. I love almost every part of media and this vocation gives me an excuse to inundate myself with it.
BR: As a pastor/teacher, being a 7 fuels my curiosity and joy, which I can use to foster curiosity and joy in my congregation.
SM: I’m an actor and I love to daydream. As a 7, I love to experience all different sorts of things. This all helps me fantasize into becoming a character. I’m also willing to travel wherever around the globe to work as an entertainer and use my gifts to honor Him.
How does your knowledge of Enneagram affect or influence your relationships?
TW: Sometimes investing in relationships is hard work. As a 7, leaning in to hard work doesn’t come naturally, so when I’m between choosing something that would make me comfortable vs something that would enrich a relationship, I now have the self-awareness to decide whether or not I need this comfort.
BR: My wife is a 4, about as opposite emotionally as you can get from a 7. Understanding our tendencies has helped us TREMENDOUSLY in our marriage!
SM: My family is on the lower spectrum of numbers, 1 and 2 so sometimes when we butt heads, it helps to know where we’re coming from. The different perspectives based on our different numbers. With friends as well, it helps to know how they react in stress and in growth and how I can best be there for them.
How does the Enneagram affect your faith? Do you use it as spiritual practice?
TW: I don’t let it affect my faith too much, other than being aware of my shortcomings. I don’t want to let my number define who I am or dictate where I feel called to serve, lest I start basing my choices on “that’s what a 7 would do,” rather than “that’s what Tommy should do.”
BR: I have learned that God has given me this curiosity as a tool for pursuing him. It has greatly shaped my study of Scriptures.
SM: I don’t necessarily use it as spiritual practice, but I do like to talk to fellow Christians about their numbers. It’s always interesting to see how they use their numbers when following God’s plan for them. I in turn like to reflect on my life and see where my number plays a role into the career I’ve chosen based on where God has led me.
How does the Enneagram bring you closer to God, if it does?
TW: A big obstacle for me in my walk is finding comfort in recreation over finding comfort in God’s word. Being able to name the source of my distraction helps me make rules for myself.
BR: I see the beauty and joy of God everywhere I look. It is such a blast discovering him in the created world!
SM: It helps me realize that He has given me a set of unique gifts that others can relate to, but also makes me different than others. It challenges me to respond to others in ways that respect them and would make me a safe person for them to reach out to, when knowing the strengths and weaknesses my number deals with.
What are some resources you would offer to other 7s?
TW: I have a rule for myself that I’ve found to be helpful (when I follow it): When I get home from work, I’m not allowed to sit down until I’ve done at least one chore. It’s a lot easier to continue being productive than it is to start being productive.
BR: The book The Wisdom of the Enneagram has been helpful for me.
SM: I would say to not overbook yourself. Pick a couple of things that you would really like to invest in, and spend all your energy on that, instead of trying to do so many things all at once. You could end up hurting yourself and others.
Resources for 7
The Enneagram Institute
Sleeping at Last “Nine”
The Road Back to You Podcast interview with Sarah Bessey