What do you do when fear, guilt, or shame creeps in? When the distractions fade and you’re left alone with your Accuser? Adam and Eve, after eating the forbidden fruit, sewed fig leaves to cover the awful feeling of being naked and exposed.
“So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate, and she also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate. Then the eyes of both were opened, and they knew that they were naked. And they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loincloths.” -Genesis 3:6-7
All of us, like Adam and Eve, sew our own figs leaves together as a way to avoid fear, guilt, and shame. Let me share with you each Enneagram type’s strategy for avoiding its characteristic vulnerability. These nine strategies are adapted from the book Nine Lenses of the World: The Enneagram Perspective by Jerome Wagner.
The Reformer (Type 1) says, “I do things right, therefore you can’t criticize me.”
The Helper (Type 2) says, “You need me; therefore, you can’t reject me.”
The Achiever (Type 3) says, “I get a lot done; therefore, you can’t be disappointed in me.”
The Individualist (Type 4) says, “I am one of a kind, therefore you can’t abandon me.”
The Investigator (Type 5) says, “I’m knowledgable; therefore, you can’t trick me.”
The Loyalist (Type 6) says, “I know your ways; therefore, you can’t catch me off guard.”
The Enthusiast (Type 7) says, “I can find the good in any option, therefore you can’t limit me.”
The Challenger (Type 8) says, “I’m in charge, therefore you can’t control me.”
The Peacemaker (Type 9) says, “I’m on your team, therefore don’t get upset with me.”
While Adam and Eve were trying to protect themselves, God mercifully pursued them and replaced their fragile fig leaves with better “garments.” He made the necessary animal sacrifice to create a better covering. Today, you and I have been covered with a far better sacrifice.
Our sinless Savior was stripped naked on the cross and exposed before the crowd. He was intended to be shamed, but instead turned the narrative on its head: He despised the cross’s shame, and in the process made a spectacle of the Accuser’s powerlessness in the light of God’s love and mercy. The curse of shame has been defeated and we have been clothed with his protection and righteousness.
Today, you can take the fig leaves off because you are fully covered.