More Than a 4
A Kindred Story by Jonelle Hobgood
As a 4 on the Enneagram, I search, think, unravel, and dig. Experts say that 4’s believe there’s an indistinguishable piece missing in our lives. Since we can never identify the exact place of lack, we exhaust ourselves searching for something to fill the gap. Along with our missing piece (peace?), we struggle with a desire to belong and refusal to conform. We want to be part of the group, but we also want to stand apart from it. Let’s just say, it ain’t easy bein’ 4.
When I first learned about the Enneagram, I thought, “Okaaaaay...As long as I’m not a 4.” I wanted to be a fun 7 or a revolutionary 8! In true 4 fashion, I looked for ways to work around the label when my 4ish tendencies surfaced. But—in the end, I carry the major tell of constant internal discontent. We 4’s live in our heads and need to work out the extremes of the world. We can’t seem to land in a place that can express gratitude for our own lives AND acknowledge the deep hurts and struggles of others. How can we just get okay with living in comfort while child labor and political corruption exist? Without an ability to reconcile the disparity of experience, we swing from high to low and back again.
I know that as a child of God, I should have peace regardless of circumstances. I WANT to live there, fully trusting in His plan and leaning into His presence. But, with my heart and mind in constant flux, navigating the instability of life as a 4 is a unique challenge.
Paul must’ve known the struggle of the 4. He says in Colossians 3:2-4, “Think about the things of heaven, not the things of earth. For you died to this life, and your real life is hidden with Christ in God.”
Paul’s words, “Think about the things of heaven, not the things of earth,” give me permission to rest. Suffering is an undeniable reality, but heaven is a true promise I can anchor into when waves of uncertainty crash around me. The reminder to “set your sights on the realities of heaven,” lets me stop looking for that mysteriously missing piece because my “REAL life is hidden with Christ in God.” It’s right there. In Him. Paul affirms me by acknowledging my conflict, and points me to the source of my fulfillment and identity.
The Enneagram is a helpful tool, but numbers will never tell our full stories. I am a 4, and I do all the 4 things. But before life and conditioning shaped my personality, God knew me as a daughter, and He assures me saying, “I knew you before I formed you in your mother’s womb. Before you were born I set you apart and appointed you” (Jeremiah 1:5). I’m free from the need to resolve every disconnect I observe in the world. My real life is in Jesus, not in my head.