Forty Days on Being an Eight, By Sandra Maria Van Opstal alt

Forty Days on Being an Eight

Enneagram Daily Reflections

by Sandra Maria Van Opstal
Series edited by Suzanne Stabile

Forty Days on Being an Eight
  • Length: 128 pages
  • Number of Studies: 40
  • Published: November 23, 2021
  • Imprint: IVP Formatio
  • Item Code: 4757
  • ISBN: 9780830847570

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What is it like to be an Enneagram Eight?

"Fósforito! The explosion happened so quickly there was no stopping it. My mother called me 'tiny match' when she would see this fire exploding from me." This is how Latina pastor, activist, and worship leader, Sandra Maria Van Opstal, describes her experience as an Eight. There came a point in her life when she saw how her fiery explosions were undermining her leadership. A wise spiritual director helped her discover how the Enneagram could reveal more about both her gifts and her weaknesses. Sandra offers insight from her ethnic journey alongside Enneagram wisdom. Each of these forty readings 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 an Eight, you will grow from your reading about Eights and enhance your relationships across the Enneagram spectrum.

"If you're an Eight like me, your need to challenge the status quo, run through walls, and even fight for justice is dangerous. This book can help you be strong, not just play strong. Strong enough to speak up. Strong enough to stand up. Even strong enough to shut up. If you are also a White person who leads things, like me, Sandra may not be the voice you want, but she's the voice you need in order to be better anchored in accountability to men and women of color. Your life will be sharpened and strengthened by what Sandra has excavated from her own life and shares with us here. If you've grown a little weary being the champion and defender of others—or if you're concerned that your energy isn't always going toward those who need it most—Sandra Van Opstal is the guide you've been waiting for, to champion you and to help you hone your energies toward creating the world where everyone rises."

Jeremy Courtney, CEO of Preemptive Love and author of Love Anyway

"Some of the best people I know are Eights, and I am so grateful for this resource that sees, celebrates, affirms, and blesses them. Sandra brings a much-needed perspective to the Enneagram with this journey. Her words are a gift, not only to Eights but also to those of us who love them."

Sarah Bessey, author of A Rhythm of Prayer

"I loved this book! Sandra Van Opstal's self-revelatory Forty Days on Being an Eight provides an invitation for other strong Eight personalities and leaders to similarly enter into a reflective process of celebrating strength and courage while acknowledging our kryptonite, our blind sides, and our stubborn objections to the softening edges of transformational growth. I am eager to revisit Van Opstal's daily reflections often, as they are truly an overture to a fuller life—full of the intensity of both joys and sorrows—as we journey together on the walk to becoming more like Christ."

Mae Elise Cannon, activist and author of Beyond Hashtag Activism: Comprehensive Justice in a Complicated Age

"Forty Days on Being an Eight offers daily reflections that are honest, refreshingly direct, and passionate. I was deeply affected by the nuance and contextualization that infuse Sandra's writing. Her insights on being an Eight and a Latina woman in leadership shared parallels with my own leadership journey as an Eight and a Black woman: similar stereotypes and scars. In this powerful book, Sandra leans on Enneagram wisdom to name the potential and the joy of being an Eight. Still, she ultimately reminds me that God sees and celebrates who I fully am: an image bearer. A must-read!"

Jo Saxton, speaker, leadership coach, and author of Ready to Rise

"The Enneagram has been a very helpful tool for me and the congregation I pastor. It has been a gift in better understanding some of the areas of the soul God wants to address. That's why I'm so excited for Forty Days on Being an Eight by Sandra Van Opstal. Sandra offers fresh, honest, and powerful reflections in this book. The Eights of the world have a way of propelling us into a future marked by justice and clarity. Sandra is a remarkable leader with a powerful voice and will help the Eights—and those in relationship to Eights—in much-needed ways."

Rich Villodas, lead pastor of New Life Fellowship and author of The Deeply Formed Life

"Sandra Van Opstal's extensive experience developing leaders and helping them grow in emotional and cultural intelligence, plus her connectedness to various communities of color, make her voice on the topic of the Enneagram something distinct. Sandra's perspective on many things is often profound, but her insights on the type Eight structure as a Latina have the power to bring healing to all who read it, regardless of how they identify. I have experienced this healing, both from her book and from knowing Sandra as a champion for those on the margins."

Dayo Ajanaku, founder of @TheBlackEnneagram

"I've read and continue to read Enneagram books. Many have been helpful. But this one, because of its devotional structure, provides a deeper level of reflection for us fosforitos! I highly recommend this book not only to anyone on the path of personal transformation but to anyone who wants to understand the complex inner world of the great Eights, whether a spouse, family member, coworker, or friend. I found the author clearly communicated the complexity of being an Eight, the spiritual and relational yearning resonant in all of us, the distractions that pull us at times, and the ascending levels of our possibility if we can 'slow our roll' and take the time to commune with the Lord. This devotional offers a clear path for personal and spiritual evolution for Eights everywhere!"

Elizabeth Rios, missiologist and founder of the Passion2Plant Network

"As an Enneagram Eight with a Seven wing, I could not stop reading as Sandra's words filled my heart, brought tears to my eyes, and reminded me of the importance of self-reflection, staying grounded, and finding ways to choose yourself when you feel compelled to save everyone else. This is the first book on the Enneagram I could truly relate to. I encourage everyone to read this book, especially those of you who are Eights and women of color."

Faitth Brooks, author, speaker, and podcast host of Melanated Faith

Read an Excerpt


Welcome to Enneagram Daily Reflections by Suzanne Stabile
On Being an Eight
40 Daily Readings


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Sandra Maria Van Opstal

Sandra Maria Van Opstal is a second-generation Latina and the executive director of Chasing Justice. She is an author, pastor, and activist reimagining the intersection of faith and justice. Sandra has given leadership in global movements such as Lausanne, The Justice Conference, and Urbana Missions Conference. She has also had a strong domestic presence as an executive pastor at Grace and Peace Church and as an activist on the west-side of Chicago. She is a contributor to the New York Times bestselling book A Rhythm of Prayer and she's also the author of The Next Worship.

Suzanne Stabile

Suzanne Stabile is a highly sought-after speaker, teacher, and internationally recognized Enneagram master teacher who has taught thousands of people over the last thirty years. She is the author of The Path Between Us, The Journey Toward Wholeness, and coauthor, with Ian Morgan Cron, of The Road Back to You. She is also the creator and host of The Enneagram Journey podcast. Along with her husband, Rev. Joseph Stabile, she is cofounder of Life in the Trinity Ministry. Their ministry home, the Micah Center, is located in Dallas, Texas.