by Marlena Graves – IVP

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“Why do you hold back?” Enneagram Nines are often asked questions like this by others who want to invite them to share their gifts. Marlena Graves describes her own experience with deciding whether to speak up: “I know what it’s like to be run over and rendered invisible. I don’t want to do the same to others.” Nines are easy to be around because they seem to instinctively put others before themselves. In these readings Marlena reflects on what it’s like to be a Nine with a spirit of honest self-assessment and a desire for personal and spiritual growth. She draws wisdom from the deep wells of both counseling and spirituality, using illustrations from Scripture and life. She writes out of her personal context, drawing on the lessons learned from her Puerto Rican Abuelita and from growing up in poverty. But she also writes for all of us. Each reading concludes with an opportunity for further engagement such as a journaling prompt, reflection questions, a written prayer, or a spiritual practice. Any of us can find aspects of ourselves in any of the numbers. The Enneagram is a profound tool for empathy, so whether or not you are a Nine, you will grow from your reading about Nines and enhance your relationships across the Enneagram spectrum.

“Direct questions are the way to an Enneagram Nine’s soul. That doesn’t mean they make us comfortable or we necessarily enjoy them, it just means we need them to get to the soul of who we are, what our motivations are, and how to grow. In Forty Days on Being a Nine, Marlena Graves gives us exactly what we need by both revealing her own Nine-ish characteristics and then probing with gentle questions until we can both name our motivations and see past the stagnancy of our sloth to the path of action. I need books like this in my life on a regular basis to keep me continually asking inward questions so I can look outward in all of life.” (Lore Ferguson Wilbert, author of Handle with Care: How Jesus Redeems the Power of Touch in Life and Ministry)

“As achingly reluctant but sometimes alarmingly bold seers, Enneagram Nines are tasked with saying what we see and letting the chips fall. Marlena Graves holds this process out with open hands, celebrating the ease with which we find ourselves comforting people while also warning against the risk averseness that can keep us in dispiriting grooves. Most movingly, Graves shows us that loving ourselves a little harder is a sure way of loving others even better. Receive this book for the gift it is.” (David Dark, author of Life’s Too Short to Pretend You’re Not Religious)

“I’m a Nine―a no-doubter Nine. Just as some of the better parts of being a Nine are at work in me, so are some of the worst. Simply knowing I’m a Nine isn’t enough to keep me out of the paralysis so common to this type. Understanding what motivates us, what drags us down, and how the tension between those polarities works is vital for healthy living. This is why I’m grateful for this helpful book from Marlena Graves.” (Russ Ramsey, pastor of Christ Presbyterian Church, Cool Springs, Tennessee, and author of The Advent of the Lamb of God)