Our goal as Christ-followers is to resemble Him more and more. But sometimes as we study His Word, apply His truth and do what He says, we get stuck. We need the divinely inspired perspective, insight and commentary of others to shed light when we’re not sure what to do next. Sometimes the perfect book with God-centered words read at just the right time can get us moving again.
Because I only have one personality type (Enneagram’s Type 3: The Achiever), I asked writer-friends which books most impacted their spiritual growth, and we came up with this list. Many, many talented women writers gave freely of their time to explain why these books will help your Enneagram type because it’s their type too. If you resonate with their words, please visit their blogs—they’d be so happy to have you!
Not sure of your Enneagram type? Start here.
Four disclaimers: (1) If I was unable to find someone to write a review, I used the description from Amazon. (2) I’m an Amazon Affiliate, which means that I earn a small commission if you buy a book from any link here. Don’t worry, it doesn’t add any cost to the book. (3) I haven’t read every single book listed, but trust the sources who recommended them. (4) Not each type has an equal number of books—some have more recommendations and some have less.
Essentialism is Greg McKeown’s book describing “the disciplined pursuit of less.” This book is a soothing balm for my Type 1, perfectionistic heart. You don’t have to do all the things perfectly—you don’t even have to do them! McKeown encourages Type 1s to focus on the thing that’s most important, do it well and let go of the rest. – Megan Ericson of meganericson.com
The Confident Woman by Anabel Gillham speaks directly to the Enneagram 1. It’s an excellent message for the one who doesn’t realize that she believes perfection is the road to being loved. This book is for those of us who melt on the inside the moment we don’t live up to our own expectations or the expectations we perceive others have for us. Gillham shows the Enneagram 1 woman how to utilize truth in our lives in order to rest in our identity as beloved daughters of God instead of slaves to striving. – Kathy Schwanke of kathyschwanke.com
As an Enneagram 1, I often strive so hard for perfection that I take way too much on my plate, then I feel overwhelmed. Overwhelmed by Kathi Lipp and Cheri Gregory has given me better understanding of my perfectionistic tendencies, plus practical tips on managing my responsibilities. I am thankful for their help in planning my week, taking better care of myself and learning to relax. – Sarah Geringer of sarahgeringer.com
Even before I knew I was an Enneagram 2, I knew something was off. I had considered finances, calendar space, even mental space as filters for decision-making without considering something super important—emotional space. For me, if my emotional capacity is too full, every other area of my life will suffer for it. The Best Yes helped me to see my emotional capacity as important, relevant to the conversation and as something to factor into the conversation. This book helped me embrace my capacity limits and live within them. – Leah Heffner of leahheffner.com
Written in Shauna’s warm and vulnerable style, this collection of essays focuses on the most important transformation in her life, and maybe yours too: leaving behind busyness and frantic living and rediscovering the person you were made to be. Present Over Perfect is a hand reaching out, pulling you free from the constant pressure to perform faster, push harder and produce more, all while maintaining an exhausting image of perfection. – Amazon description
Like Mary, you long to sit at the Lord’s feet … but the daily demands of a busy world just won’t leave you alone. Like Martha, you love Jesus and really want to serve him … yet you struggle with weariness, resentment and feelings of inadequacy. For the Enneagram 2, who believes that being enough looks like serving more, Having a Mary Heart in a Martha World is a respite for your soul. – Amazon description
You are Free, for the Enneagram 3s, is an invitation to live a life of freedom. As 3s, we tend to hide our weaknesses, perform so nobody knows our brokenness and paste smiles on our faces while pretending everything is OK. Rebekah invites us to leave all that behind and discover a God who is willing and able to rescue, a joy waiting for us in the midst of brokenness and a life-giving freedom when we take off our masks and allow ourselves to be fully known. – Kirsten Sandland Kroeker of kirstenkroeker.com
The Gift of Being Yourself by David G. Benner, is an encounter with deep truth for the Enneagram 3. As a 3 himself, David helps us embrace the concept that knowing our very true self is a knowing of God as the One who created us with beauty in mind. All of our feelings and thoughts have a place before our loving God. The importance of standing with all aspects of our self and feelings, without shame, but rather gentle awareness, is a brave invitation that he unpacks throughout this book. – Amanda Whiting of thisabundance.org
Enneagram 3 friends, Scary Close was written just for you. You’ll resonate immediately with Miller’s desire to perform less, be yourself and overcome the fear of being known. If you’re scared of living out of who you most fully are, this is a must-read. Enneagram 3s, when you read this, you’ll know you’ve found your people. – Jill E. McCormick
An Enneagram 4 sees her life through the dramatic lens of story, with highs and lows, challenges and victories. That is precisely what you’ll find in Hannah Hurnard’s Hinds Feet On High Places. Rich in symbolism and metaphor, this allegory mirrors our individual struggle to find high ground when life seems to bring us down, and it offers hope that we aren’t as alone as we sometimes feel. – Kerry Campbell of mylittleepiphanies.com
Finish by Jon Acuff changed my work. For 4s, the creative side of our brains fights the logical, and this can hinder follow-through in our work life. Jon nudges us to let some things go so we can focus on what matters and find contentment while pushing into the hard work. He writes from experience with raw humor throughout. I can’t recommend this book enough. – Meghan Weyerbacher of thebloggingwriter.com
New Seeds of Contemplation speaks to the soul of anyone longing to live truer, fuller and out of a firm center of love. Most Enneagram experts believe Merton was a Type 4, making his language exceptionally exquisite, able to plunge existential depths and keen to challenge even the most individualistic and elusive persons. For Type 4s, reading Merton is like being spoken to within, from the truer self we long for and fear we may never find. – Katie Jo Ramsey of katiejoramsey.com
A highly emotional person from childhood, I grew up with a culture-ingrained idea that emotions are bad and not to be trusted. Emotionally Healthy Spirituality has not only taught me how emotional health and spiritual health go hand-in-hand, it’s been instrumental in reshaping my belief systems regarding emotions. I’ve learned that emotions are from God, that God Himself is emotional and that as a woman created in His image, denying my emotions effectively denies my own humanity and my position as an image-bearer. – Carrie Beth Davis of Instagram
Enneagram 5s often struggle with emotion and feeling “enough,” which can make relationships difficult, including a relationship with God. If you find yourself feeling incapable of fully understanding or accepting God’s love for you, The Furious Longing of God by Brennan Manning is a book you should read post haste. Manning blends the intellectual and emotional as expertly as a musician blends theory and passion in a love song. Read it and be blessed! – Donya Dunlap of donyadunlap.com
As an Enneagram 5, you may appreciate art deeply, and yet your need to do things expertly keeps the world of art outside your grasp. If this sounds familiar, Emily Freeman wrote A Million Little Ways just for you. You may feel more comfortable burying your head in a textbook than plunging your hands into a pile of clay or flinging paint onto a canvas, but you can still learn to embrace the art that lives inside you. This book will lead you on a creative journey that will light your soul on fire. Prepare for it to become your new favorite book. – Donya Dunlap of donyadunlap.com
If you are like most 5s you feel things so deeply it scares you sometimes. And yet, you struggle to express those feelings to the world. Never fear: Ann Voskamp has done the work of exquisite expression for you in her book The Broken Way. You need only read it. Ann understands that you have big questions about God and grief and authentic relationships. She’ll remind you of God’s love for your questions and that big brain of yours. However, be careful to read it alone and with a box of tissue nearby as you may be surprised by the emotions rising to the surface. Even 5s need a good cry now and then. – Donya Dunlap of donyadunlap.com
As a Type 6, I perpetually carry deep, deep worries about the worst-case scenarios in my life. I wonder how I could go on if I lost the people I love or suffered greatly. Corrie ten Boom lived all my worst fears. As they lived in a concentration camp, her sister said, “Corrie, you have to tell everyone. Tell them there is no pit so deep that He is not deeper still.” Corrie’s story in The Hiding Place reminds me that God is deeper and stronger than my fears, and that He will use pain and suffering for His great good. – Jessica Smart of smarttereachday.com
Holy Hustle by Crystal Stine is the perfect fit for the Enneagram 7. Laced throughout the book is the encouragement to slow down and appreciate the work God has given you, helping you realize that even when resting, you’re not missing out on anything. Stone closes the gap between the holy (resting in what God has called you to) and the hustle (working hard for the glory of God), and helps you find the balance of working hard and resting well. – Taylor Phillips of lettheredeemedsay.wordpress.com
For the Enneagram 7 who has trouble facing her own pain and has a tendency to numb her emotions, Heart Made Whole by Christa Black Gifford is a must-read. The author bravely tells the story of the loss of her baby at birth, and the healing journey God took her on to grieve the loss and make space to listen to her heart in God’s presence. We all face seasons of tragedy and loss, and for the 7 it’s crucial that she learn how to cope with pain in way that is healing instead of destructive. – Jessica Dalton of Originality – The Personality Podcast
As an Enneagram 7, my natural reflex is to recoil from suffering and that which isn’t beautiful. Falling Free by Shannan Martin taught my eyes to seek out the beauty in the broken world. She and her family traded their picture-perfect farmhouse life to follow God’s call to downward mobility and love in the trenches. Her book inspired me to take risks and choose to fight for the beauty I want to see in the world by searching for God in the midst of the ordinary, the unlovely and the hard. – Heather Kristine of heatherkristine.com
Most of my life was spent believing I was “too much” because girls weren’t meant to be passionate. That belief was shattered when Restless by Jennie Allen taught me that every facet of my story, including my passion, was a gift that could serve people. The intense way we as Enneagram 8s approach life creates a natural restlessness that Jennie flawlessly connects to a deeper purpose to serve people. – Deborah West
Dr. Henry Cloud’s 9 Things You Simply Must Do to Succeed in Love and Life is a great read for Enneagram 9s. He gives practical steps to help us uncover our desires and take a proactive approach in life, particularly in conflict and difficult situations. This is particularly helpful for anyone who finds themselves often falling asleep to their own hopes and dreams or merely reacting to other people’s whims and decisions. This book will help you live life as a healthy 9 who brings peace and stability to relationships and situations, without sacrificing your individual identity and opinions. – Laura Austin of heymrsaustin.com
Enneagrams 9s have a hard time with conflict and aren’t always aware of our own wants and desires. Our desire to avoid conflict can extend not only to people but also to God. We can often feel afraid to ask Him for what we really want because if we don’t get it, it would mean being in potential conflict with the Lord and that would feel devastating for a 9. Sacred Rhythms is an invitation to acknowledge that we all have desires and that we can bring them before the Lord, our desires are safe with Him and the spiritual disciplines are tools that can help us explore the deepest longings of our hearts. – Zohary Ross of zoharyross.com
If you’re an Enneagram 9, you long for there to be harmony among the people around you, and also peace within yourself. A Confident Heart by Renee Swope will help you journey toward peace and confidence in your identity, your thought life and your faith so that you can be a proactive peacemaker for yourself and for others, and faithfully pursue all that God has called you to do. – Jenn Soehnlin of embracing.life
This piece was originally published on JillEMcCormick.com. Used with permission.
Jill McCormick is the writer behind jillemccormick.com, a blog where she shares common-sense grace with women trying their hardest. Jill lives in South Texas with her husband Ryan and their two daughters, born 18 months apart. Most days you’ll find her with a book in her hand or a podcast talking in her ear buds. Her work has been featured in RELEVANT magazine, ForEveryMom.com, and UndeniablyGodMinistries.com, and she’s co-authored the book, Sister, Walk in Truth