I love the enneagram. It has helped me understand myself and others better and significantly improve my relationships. I also use the enneagram in my therapy practice! So I was thrilled to be on the launch team for a series of new enneagram devotionals. I want to share my review of this devotional along with several other enneagram journals, books, and resources I recommend.
Elisabeth Bennett’s Enneagram Devotionals
The Guardian: Growing as an Enneagram 6 is one book in a series of 60-day enneagram devotionals by certified enneagram coach Elisabeth Bennett. Elisabeth is also the face of the popular Instagram account Enneagram.Life and was trained by my favorite enneagram teacher, Beth McCord.
Devotionals for types 2, 4, and 9 released in September 2020; types 1, 6, and 7 release March 16, 2021; and types 3, 5, and 8 release September 2021. As a type 6, I was thrilled to be selected for the launch team for The Guardian devotional!
The Guardian starts with an introduction, which gives background on the enneagram and 6s in particular. The devotional is then divided into six sections: 10 Days of Loyalty, 10 Days of Killing Fear, 10 Days of Courage, 10 Days of Saying No to Anxiety, 10 Days of Handling Competition, and 10 days of Peace. I liked how the sections alternated between a 6’s strengths and virtues and our weaknesses and common pain points. The last two sections were a pleasant surprise, as they focused on the stress number and the growth number of the 6 (3 and 9, respectively).
Along with Elisabeth, four other authors contribute to the devotional. I did not mind the change in author voice, although I found some days (such as the history lesson on St. Patrick) less applicable than others. Sarah Upton, the author’s younger sister and a 6w5, wrote my favorite devotionals, probably because she spoke more to me as a fellow 6. Her devotions felt the most fleshed-out and relatable. I do not believe that someone has to be your type or even similar to you to help you, but I often found it hard for the non-6 authors of the devotionals to connect with the experience of a 6 as well as Sarah did.
Each day’s devotional has a theme, such as “Loyalty in the Bible” or “What is Anxiety?”, and includes one or more Scriptures related to that theme. Each devotion ends with a “Shift in Focus” section that includes two or three reflection or application questions.
For the most part, the content was helpful, relevant to type 6, and thoroughly biblical. I appreciated the Scriptures to go along with each day’s readings, because without Bible reading, it’s more of a gift book and not a devotional.
I enjoyed the brief nature of each devotion. Typically I could read each devotion in about 10 minutes; if the reader has more time and interest, she could reflect or journal for 30 minutes or more. However, the brief nature of a devotional doesn’t lend itself to a thorough examination of some weighty topics like anxiety. I often felt like the devotions were too short to do a topic justice. For example, the author gave an example of 6s being frustrated when others are not as loyal to a sports team as they are. This felt like a minor example to an important concept that I wish she had explained more.
As expected, a one-page devotional runs the risk of being overly simplistic and even cliché. For example, at times cliché Bible verses on anxiety (“do not worry about tomorrow”) accompanied overly simplistic advice like “Stop fearing because God is in control!”. Helpful reminders, to be sure, but I didn’t find myself gleaning any thoughtful insights or applications on these days.
I found the author’s discussion of anxiety as sin versus anxiety as mental illness inadequate. When describing anxiety and sin, the author states that “Some anxiety does come from sinful fear that can be traced back to wanting to be in control and not fully letting yourself trust in God.” Perhaps because I am a therapist who treats anxiety disorders (as well as a 6 who experiences anxiety), I thought this explanation of anxiety and sin could do more harm than good. Ultimately, I believe that all anxiety, whether a result of sin, mental illness, or everyday stress, is a result of living in a fallen world, so I found the author’s distinction unhelpful. Again, the brevity of a devotional impedes detailed explanations. While this is not a book solely on coping with anxiety, I felt like this concept (and others) needed more depth.
I enjoyed reading The Guardian and I think it would be a helpful and encouraging devotional for most Christian readers. However, perhaps because of my profession as a psychologist or the level of depth I prefer on the topics of personality or spirituality, I don’t think this is a devotional I will find myself re-reading in the future.
The Guardian: Growing as an Enneagram 6 by Elisabeth Bennett, 2021, Whitaker House. (You can use this link to find any of the types.)
3.5 stars (out of 5)
Other Enneagram Devotionals & Journals
Forty Days on Being a Six (Enneagram Daily Reflections) by Tara Beth Leach is part of a series of enneagram devotionals edited by Suzanne Stabile, one of my favorite enneagram teachers. I’ve already pre-ordered type 6! My type comes out in August, but several other types have already released or will be released sooner. I am looking forward to seeing how these compare to Elisabeth’s devotionals because unlike hers, each book has a different author writing about her own type. That may solve some of the problems of relatability and lack of depth that I found in Elisabeth’s devotional.
The Enneagram Type 6: The Loyal Guardian (The Enneagram Collection) is a journal written by my favorite enneagram teacher, Beth McCord. It is a guided journal, with space on the page to reflect on enneagram concepts like your core motivations, levels of alignment, the wings and triads, and the paths to stress and growth.
Note: Each of these books has a version for all 9 types. I have shown Type 6 below, but you can click the image to find any of the types.
Here are some of my favorite enneagram books:
- Becoming Us by Beth & Jeff McCord. Read my full review!
- The Road Back to You by Ian Morgan Cron and Suzanne Stabile. Read my review!
- The Path Between Us by Suzanne Stabile. Read my review!
Listen to my two enneagram podcast interviews! Then I’ve shared some of my favorite enneagram podcasts or series.
- Your Enneagram Coach
- Enneagram and Coffee
- The Enneagram and Marriage Podcast
- Typology with Ian Morgan Crohn
- The Enneagram Journey with Suzanne Stabile
- That Sounds Fun EnneaSummer series with Annie F. Downs
- For the Love of the Enneagram series with Jen Hatmaker