According to some Enneagram teachers, there are probably more Sixes than any other Type. The world needs Sixes, also called Loyalists, to ensure that the community is preserved and that we’re prepared when disaster strikes.
Trust is a big issue for Sixes. If you have earned their trust – as a leader, friend, or spouse – then they will be with you through thick and thin. They won’t jump ship. But Sixes can also be some of the more skeptical people in your life. Often Sixes find themselves playing “Devil’s Advocate” – asking probing or even accusatory questions. They aren’t purposefully trying to be obnoxious or derail the whole system. They just want to know that those in charge have everything under control and have planned for anything that can and will go wrong.
|Perfect gift for the Sixes in your life!|
Sixes are worst-case-scenario thinkers. They live in the world of “mights”, “coulds”, and hypotheticals. If there ever is a real disaster or problem, you want a Six around because they’ve already gone through the scenario multiple times in their head.
Sixes are more likely to actually count the number of rows to the exit on the airplane and pay attention to the safety briefing before takeoff “just in case.”
There is safety in numbers. Always be prepared. These are the mantras that get a Six through the day.
Every number on the Enneagram lives in some sort of inner tension. For Sixes, that tension comes in their relation to authority. As children Sixes picked up on the fact that the adults in charge can’t always be trusted. So as adults they are inherently skeptical of those in power. At the same time, through, their greatest need is a sense of safety and security. Some Sixes end up trusting too strongly in human authority figures and are inevitably let down at some point. Other Sixes end up distrusting nearly all authority figures in order to protect themselves from that same disappointment. This is the difference between “Phobic” and “Counterphobic” Sixes. All Sixes must deal with their fear. Phobic Sixes tend to have more of a “flight” response, whereas Counterphobic Sixes have a more aggressive “fight” response.
ON THIS ROCK I WILL BUILD MY CHURCH
An excellent example of a Six in the Bible is Simon Peter.
Peter was the foremost among the disciples, not because he was the most loving or most knowledgable, but because he was the most committed to Jesus and the group. Peter latched onto Jesus as an authority figure like none other. Peter definitely had his share of screwups – recorded for us to laugh at 2,000 years later! – but he is also the one primarily entrusted with carrying on Jesus’ mission after the resurrection and ascension.
Who was the first to confess true belief in who Jesus was? Peter.
Who played “Devil’s Advocate” when Jesus told the disciples he was going to be killed? Peter.
Who jumped out of the relative safety of the boat during the storm into the certain terror of the raging sea in order to be near Jesus? Peter.
Who was the closest friend and confidant of Jesus? Peter.
Who was the leader of the disciples? Peter.
Who was willing to fight and die for Jesus? Peter.
When push came to shove, who gave into fear time and time again? Peter.
Who did Jesus want the women to specifically tell about his resurrection? Peter.
Who was able to overcome his fear and deliver one of the most powerful sermons in recorded history? Peter.
Peter attached himself to Jesus, but he also had his own fears and anxieties to overcome. Peter had a hard time coming to grips with the fact that Jesus was going to leave them. When Jesus said “let not your hearts be troubled – you believe in God, believe also in me,” I’m sure he was speaking directly to Peter. As a Six, Peter needed as much reassurance as he could get that everything was going to be ok. Jesus is basically telling Peter, “You’ve trusted me this far. Trust me a little more.”
All those times that Jesus had to say, “Do not be afraid,” I’m sure he was speaking directly to Peter.
That conversation that Jesus and Peter had on the beach after his resurrection always gets to me. Three times Jesus asked Peter, “Do you love me?” And three times Peter replied, “Yes, Lord. You know I love you.” Jesus’ response to Peter’s affirmation of love is an instruction to take care of the others. Jesus made it clear that he wasn’t planning on sticking around for a long time. He had to leave. But he promised that he would not leave them as orphans.
Side note: I think one of the worst things that can happen to a teenager in the church is to go through multiple youth ministers over the course of a few short years. Teens need someone who is going to be there for them through it all. It takes a few years for them to trust their youth minister, and by then he’s already moving on to the next church. That can be absolutely devastating, especially for Sixes who already have trust issues.
Back to the point. Jesus is redirecting Peter away from a single point of loyalty to a more group-oriented commitment. Jesus is encouraging Peter to step up and commit not just to Jesus but to the group. Jesus knew that Peter, the Loyalist, was going to be the glue that held the group together.
Peter was stronger than he knew. Jesus saw that from the beginning. That’s why he changed his name from Simon to Peter in the first place. Peter was going to be that solid bedrock, that foundational member of the group. It took some time for Peter to see in himself what Jesus had seen all along.
Sixes, you must know that you are stronger than you think. You are more capable than you think. We value your leadership, your loyalty, your commitment, and even your questions. You are the bedrock of our churches and families and organizations. Without you we would all tend to simply drift apart from each other. You keep us grounded and secure. You help provide us with the security you so desire for yourselves.
Sixes, hear again the words of the Master, “Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God – believe also in me.”
Check out the song “Six” by Sleeping At Last
Virtually each of us does not know our strength of mind and therefore it is very important that we are surrounded by those people who see it and help us understand it.