Biblical Enneagram Types: SEVENS
Everyone needs a Seven in their life. Sevens bring a joie de vivre that is hard for some other types to come by. Sevens are commonly known as Enthusiasts, and they can be the most joyful, energetic, and optimistic people you know. I think one of the best portrayals of a Seven in recent pop culture is the character “Joy” from Inside Out. Take everything you know about a Seven, and it applies to her exactly. If you’ve never seen that movie, I HIGHLY recommend it. Just bring the tissues.
Enthusiasts live for the next adventure. The keyword is next. Sevens have difficulty living in the present. They are very future-oriented by nature. They live off that dopamine rush of expectation and anticipation. Sevens love planning events but can have trouble enjoying the event. They love ordering products online, but are always a little let down when it arrives. The problem with living this way is that Sevens develop a “more is better” mentality that can lead to serious commitment issues and even addiction.
The vice of Sevens is gluttony. If a little is good, more is better. Sevens can struggle with anything from overeating to gambling, alcohol and drug abuse, obsessive collecting, pornography or sexual addictions. Sevens are more prone to addictions than other types. Their primary need is to avoid pain, so they fall back into numbing behaviors when they can’t physically escape the painful or traumatic situation.
Another way they avoid dealing with the pain is through reframing. They are experts at finding the silver lining in any situation. They can spin a failure to find the positive outcome. They are often known for cracking jokes to lighten the mood when a conversation gets too serious.
On the surface Sevens can appear to be spontaneous and carefree. But below the surface, healthy Sevens can be some of the most grounded individuals who know what it means to experience true Joy even in the midst of sorrow.
AFTER GOD’S OWN HEART
One person in the Bible that I think was a Seven might come as a surprise – King David.
I automatically thought of David as a Four because of the Psalms. Sevens tend to be disconnected from their emotions, especially the negative ones like sadness and anger. The Psalms of David are packed with emotions. Many of them are even lament psalms – heavily sorrowful and downcast. The Psalms can be major Four territory.
But if you compare the Psalms of David with the Life of David, I think it becomes clear that he was a Seven who was highly in tune with his own emotions.
Let’s start at the beginning. The wounding message that Sevens latch onto during childhood is You are on your own. No one else is here to take care of you. A lot of Sevens had to fend for themselves somewhat during childhood. They learned early on to ensure their own survival. Think about David. He was the youngest in his family with seven older brothers. David was out tending sheep by himself (1 Samuel 16) with no one else to come to his rescue. He had to come up with his own ways of fending off the predators who would endanger the flock, so he became incredibly skilled with a sling. He had to find ways to keep his mind occupied during the endless hours in the field, so he became an expert musician and song writer.
Many Sevens that I know are very talented and skilled in a lot of different areas. They make me jealous.
Then think about the most famous story of his life – “David and Goliath.” Here comes David, a young teenager, into the battle lines. Everyone else is terrified of Goliath, but David steps up and says, “I’ll fight him!” He doesn’t have any armor. He doesn’t have a battle plan. All he has is a sling, some stones, and a boatload of confidence in God and in his abilities. What stands out to me, though, is David’s reasoning for taking on the giant. He’s already killed a lion…and a bear…and now a giant warrior! Remember – more is better. Sevens are always trying to one-up themselves.
One other instance in his life really stands out as a Seven-moment. David led the processional of priests bringing the Ark of the Covenant into the newly established capital city of Jerusalem. Remember how he entered the city? He was dancing nearly naked in the streets in front of God and everyone! His wife even confronted him about it later. But his response to her criticism is amazing: “I will celebrate before the Lord. I will become even more undignified than this, and I will be humiliated in my own eyes.” (2 Samuel 6:21-22)
There would come a time, though, when his “gluttony” nearly ruined him. While his armies when out to war, David stayed home at the palace (avoiding pain and conflict). He looked out from his palace and saw a woman bathing on her roof. He asked about her and sent for her and used her. Remember what I said earlier about a tendency toward addiction and abuse? He already had a few different wives by that point – but he wanted her. When she became pregnant he arranged for her husband to be killed in battle rather than own up to what he had done. He nearly lost it all, but God was merciful.
Whenever I read through the story of David’s life – his adventures, his battles, his close calls, his antics – I’m absolutely intrigued. David lived life to the full and didn’t hold anything back. He was fearless and powerful, but he was also kind and gentle. He made his fair share of mistakes and blunders. But through it all, David remained a man after God’s own heart.
Sevens, if you’re still reading this and haven’t moved on to the next thing, then bravo! Here’s what you need to know. You must learn that more isn’t always better. Sometimes more is just more. Sevens need to learn to be content (Philippians 4:12-13). You also need to cultivate the disciplines of solitude and fasting, learning to say no to pleasures and to social engagements. Practice living in the moment and being fully present here and now instead of jumping to the next big thing in your mind.
Sevens inspire us, encourage us, and bring so much joy into our lives. Without them around, life would be much more boring and routine. But it’s ok for them to take a breather sometimes.