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Mind

Heart

Overcoming Our Core Fears



Understanding our Core Motivations is part of using the Enneagram as an internal GPS on the path of healing and wholeness. When we gain insight into our Core Fear, what our personality is constantly trying to avoid, run away from or prevent from happening in everyday situations and interactions, we can harness the insight to steer ourselves away from common pitfalls and unhealthy patterns, leading us to peace, empowerment and freedom in life, work and relationships. Each of our tendencies to think, feel and behave in certain ways are rooted in protecting ourselves from our Core Fear. 

As you identify and confront your personality’s Core Fear, I challenge you to be honest with yourself. Though it may be a bit difficult, this exercise is not meant to bring shame! A Gospel-centered view of the Enneagram is never about condemnation, but rather about the growth and freedom that comes from knowing who you are and Whose you are. Learning how you’re hardwired allows you to face your fears, weaknesses and struggles for what they are, and then realize you don’t have to believe them or live them out. 

Having a Core Fear is an unavoidable part of life, but it’s what we do with this fear that makes the difference between bondage and abundant life! May this Enneagram knowledge help you find rest in the Lord, the one who intricately designed you. He knows your every fear, and He answers, satisfies and redeems it through the life, death and resurrection of His Son. 

Below you’ll find your Type’s Core Fear, how the Gospel frees you from it, and a specific prayer to pray in fearful moments. There are also some reflection questions to guide you in growth and awareness at the end of this post. 

Type 1: The Moral perfectionist

Core Fear: Being wrong, bad, evil, inappropriate or corruptible. 

How the Gospel Answers Your Core Fear:

Type 1, though you have a deeply-rooted fear of being immoral, bad or unredeemable, in Christ, you are seen by God as perfectly white like newly fallen snow! God knew you were tainted with sin and had no hope of being perfect, so in order to reestablish a right relationship with Him, He sent His only son to die in your place and fully redeem you. Not only did Jesus’ death wash away your sins, it also guaranteed you His perfect righteousness. This means that when God looks at you, He sees the goodness and blamelessness of His Son. Christ perfectly took care of your Core Fear, and enables you to have a right relationship with God. You are free! 

Prayer:

“Holy Spirit, I want to truly know, believe and trust that my past, present and future imperfections and sins are taken care of through Christ. Thank you for redeeming me, and help me to find peace in rest in the fact that, despite any of my sins or shortcomings, I am spiritually perfect in you.” 

Type 2: The Supportive Advisor

Core Fear: Being rejected and unwanted, being thought worthless, needy, inconsequential, dispensable or unworthy of love.

How the Gospel Answers Your Core Fear:

Type 2, though you have a deeply-rooted fear of being unworthy and unwanted, the opposite is what is actually true: God knows, sees and desires you! The all-powerful and all-knowing Creator of the universe made you, and He does not make mistakes. He is good, and He wanted you, personally, to be in close relationship with him. He knew you would not be able to mend what is broken, so out of His great love for you, He came and fixed it. Rest in the knowledge that you are valued, treasured and cherished by Him. 

Prayer:

“Holy Spirit, I want to believe and trust that you truly see, value and love me. Help me to remember that Christ’s work removes the need to seek love and acceptance from others. Please give me peace and rest in your unconditional love and approval.”

Type 3: The Successful Achiever

Core Fear: Failing, being incompetent, inefficient, exposed, worthless or unable to appear successful.

How the Gospel Answers Your Core Fear:

Type 3, though you have a deeply-rooted fear of failure or appearing mediocre, the opposite is what is actually true: Christ perfectly accomplished everything you need, and then credited His success and righteousness to you! When God looks at you, He sees His precious child. You are loved and valued for simply being you, and you no longer have to chase after a certain image or achievement. You can stop striving and find peace and rest as a child of God.

Prayer:

“Holy Spirit, I want to truly believe and trust how much you love the real me, and that I was not created to be like anyone else. Help me stop striving so hard to earn what I already have in you, and to remember to rest. Let everything I work for and accomplish be for the benefit of others and for your glory.”

Type 4: The Romantic Individualist

Core Fear: Being inadequate, emotionally cut off, plain, defective or without significance.

How the Gospel Answers Your Core Fear:

Type 4, though you have a deeply-rooted fear of being mundane, insignificant or somehow lacking, the opposite is what is actually true! The Creator of the universe made you just as He desired, completely special and unique. He intricately designed you to experience deep emotions, and put a longing for depth and creativity in your heart. He sent His Son to atone for your sins and shortcomings, so you can be made clean and be in right relationship with Him. God does not make mistakes, and when you display your authentic creativity, you bless others and radiantly reflect His image to the world.

Prayer:

“Holy Spirit, I want to truly believe and trust that only you alone can fulfill my longing to belong, be seen and understood. Help me remember that you love and value my ability to feel deeply, and that you have rescued me from all shame and inadequacy. Thank you for giving me the gift of creativity and individuality so I can bless the world. Please give me peace and security as your cherished child.”

Type 5: The Investigative Thinker

Core Fear: Being annihilated, invaded or not existing; being thought incapable or ignorant; having obligations placed upon you or your energy being depleted.

How the Gospel Answers Your Core Fear:

Type 5, though you have a deeply-rooted fear of being overextended or depleted, the truth is that God has provided you with a never-ending source of knowledge, understanding, and energy -- the Holy Spirit. He will always give you exactly what you need in the timeframe you need it according to God’s good purposes for you and His glory. When you ask Him for good things and they align with His will, He will bless you beyond what you can imagine. He wants you to have wisdom and knowledge, but more than that to trust Him knowing that He will provide for your needs willingly and with great delight.  You are Christ’s beloved child, and He will give you the endurance you need when you feel too depleted or empty inside to keep going.

Prayer:

“Holy Spirit, I want to truly believe and trust that you see my every need, and that they’re never too much for you. Help me remember that peace only comes through you, and not through more knowledge or understanding. Please give me the resources and endurance I need, and help me remember that your Living Water never runs dry.”

Type 6: The Loyal Guardian

Core Fear: Feeling fear itself, being without support, security or guidance; being blamed, targeted, alone or physically abandoned. 

How the Gospel Answers Your Core Fear:

Type 6, though you have a deeply-rooted fear of being unsafe, uncertain or abandoned, the opposite is what is actually true: God is with you! He created the universe and is all powerful, all knowing, all providing, and all sustaining. He is a good Father, and you can cast all your anxieties and worries on Him, and He won’t be shocked by them. In fact, he came to free you from them. He wants to you rest your weary and worried heart on Him and allow Him to provide for and protect you. 

Prayer:

“Holy Spirit, I want to truly believe in your power and sovereignty, and trust you with all my cares and worries. Help me remember that you know me and are always with me, and I am not abandoned, unprotected or alone.” 

Type 7: The Entertaining Optimist

Core Fear: Being deprived, trapped in emotional pain, limited or bored; missing out on something fun. 

How the Gospel Answers Your Core Fear:

Type 7, though you have a deeply-rooted fear of being bored or limited, suffering and negative emotions, the truth is that God has provided you with a never-ending Spring of Living Water that will fill you up completely with satisfaction and contentment -- Jesus Christ. When you take the time to fully see what He has done for you, gratitude will start to well up inside you. This gratitude is the key to experiencing deep and lasting satisfaction. Christ set you free and provides greater joy than anything on earth can give you. You can trust Him to meet all your needs willingly and with great delight, because He does not withhold good things from his cherished children. Take rest in this overflowing blessing. 

Prayer:

“Holy Spirit, I want to truly believe and trust that you have taken care of all my needs. Help me to experience real satisfaction and contentment that comes from having a grateful heart. Thank you for being my joy and my provider.”

Type 8: The Protective Challenger

Core Fear: Being weak, powerless, harmed, controlled, vulnerable, manipulated, or left at the mercy of injustice.

How the Gospel Answers Your Core Fear:

Type 8, though we live in a fallen world full of injustice, God is your protector and strength. Christ willingly became weak and vulnerable, and withstood great harm to accomplish his Father’s will to protect us and bring us back into right relationship with him. When you fear harm, betrayal or humiliation, remember that He is your constant strength and shield. You can find rest by fully trusting that God is always in charge. He loves you, is with you and and always has your back.

Prayer:

“Holy Spirit, I want to truly believe and trust in the great love and power that you have for me. Thank you for going to great lengths for me, and even when I’m weak, you are always strong. Help me remember that I could not save myself, but Christ rescued me from having to be my own protector. Please give me peace and rest in your protection.”

Type 9: The Peaceful Mediator 

Core Fear: Being in conflict, tension or discord; feeling shut out and overlooked; losing connection with others.

How the Gospel Answers Your Core Fear:

Type 9, though you have a deeply-rooted fear of being overlooked and out of relationship with others, God sees you and has given you a never-ending connection with Him. When you were separated by sin, He sent His Son to reconcile a right relationship, and the Holy Spirit to bring peace. He is a good Father, and not only does He not overlook you, but He purposefully seeks you out as His beloved child. He intricately created you with specific gifts, passions and ideas to share with the world. When disruption, unpleasantness and conflict arises, know that Christ brings real and lasting peace that smooths out all tension and discord.

Prayer:

“Holy Spirit, I want to truly believe and trust that my presence matters to you. Thank you that because of Christ, I don’t have to hide behind and merge with anyone else to have an identity. Help me to remember my significance in you and that I don’t have to hide my opinions, passions and desires.”

Reflection Questions:

1. What comes to mind when you honestly confront your Core Fear? Do any particular words ring more true to you than others? 

2. What situations in your everyday life tend to activate your Core Fear? How does it impact your life, work and relationships? 

3. When your Core Fear arises, what thought processes tend to lead you astray? Do you hide from your fear, allowing it to control you, or face it for what it is? 

4. How does it feel to know that Christ has answered your every fear? How can you “catch yourself” in fearful moments and refocus your mind on what is true? 

When you find yourself running from or being controlled by your Core Fear, remember, 2 Timothy 1:7: “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” You belong to Him! 



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Your Enneagram Coach was founded by Beth McCord, an Enneagram speaker, coach and teacher for over 17 years. Beth is passionate about coming alongside individuals and helping them re-write their story, allowing them to see that lasting change, meaningful relationships, and a life of deep purpose is possible. This passion is what drove her to create this community, a safe place for individuals to explore the Enneagram.


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