Book Review: The Road Back to You

The Road Back to You by Ian Morgan Cron

I feel like I need to begin by saying that I find self-discovery fascinating. To understand myself better is like an exciting treasure hunt that leads me around bends and into, admittedly, some dark, frightening spots. I emerge, though, in the end with the prize of awareness, better coping mechanisms, and a clearer understanding of my strengths and weaknesses. Through the years, these have granted me the freedom to be who I am, not who I think I am supposed to be. Additionally, I prize understanding people – where they are coming from, what makes them tick, and why they behave like they do. It’s the first thing I set about doing when I move to a new place. It helps me feel connected when I understand people.

This is because I am a two on the Enneagram (The Helper). For those of you who have read the book, that means I’m the most relationally driven number on the nine point circle. This is the quote that began my chapter:

I want you to be happy, but I want to be the reason. – Unknown

If you aren’t looking to feel very uncomfortable in your own skin for a chapter; if conviction and facing your most hidden (to you) sin tendencies is not what you want to do, then don’t read this book. If, however, you want to wade into the waters of being made more whole and more holy, while also, surprisingly, finding yourself entertained, go get this book and read it ASAP. It’s easy and fun to plow through aside from the chapter that pegs you. That chapter IS prickly but also freeing. For example:

At their best, Twos are warm and generous, and at their worst they’re resentful martyrs. 

Ouch. Alternatively, I discovered I’m a Two with a Three wing:

Twos with a Three wing (2w3) are more ambitious, image-conscious and competitive. Extroverted and sometimes seductive like the Three (the Performer), they are more concerned about relationships and connections than Twos with a One wing. These Twos are more confident, so they achieve more; being seen as successful is a close second to being known as loving and generous. In this space Twos with a strong self-image can shape-shift like Threes to become whatever is called for to achieve the desired result.

After a thorough and easy to read chapter on what the Enneagram is and how to read it, Cron dives into each number. He provides a list of self statements that identify the number at hand, a story or two about real life Numbers played out, the Number’s biggest sin tendency, what the Number looks like in relationships, at work, and as children, and what the Number looks like with wings (or Numbers around it whose traits it takes on) then he provides positive steps toward spiritual transformation for the Number.

In the end, it’s helping me dig deep in my own life to identify where I’ve gone wrong over and again, and how I can avoid those same pitfalls again and again. It’s also helped me hone in on how God has wired me individually, in positive ways. In the end, though, I feel most excited to employ this new knowledge in relation to Josh, my kids, and the people I’m in close relationship with.

I’ll leave you with this quote from the final chapter that sums up the heart behind the whole book:

The beginning of love is the will to let those we love be perfectly themselves, the resolution not to twist them to fit our own image. If in loving them we do not love what they are, but only their potential likeness to ourselves, then we do not love them: we only love the reflection of ourselves we find in them. – Thomas Merton

I love, loved this one. I honestly believe it is beneficial to anyone who is looking for ways to improve as a human being, friend, and/or follower of Christ. Add it to your list!

If you read the book and have trouble identifying your number, you can take the test here and it will help you narrow it down. I took the test before I read the book and it pegged me EXACTLY!

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