Chapel speaker talks personality test, God

Suzanne Stabile shares stories of life, faith and what to do when God doesn’t feel real

“I’m fond of thinking God is all-knowing and all-benevolent.” Stabile said. “I can’t be in love with a God I’m afraid of, and I kind of want to be in love with God.”

Stabile, expert on the Enneagram Personality Test and co-founder of Life in the Trinity Ministry, is has known vulnerability as a speaker. She has spent more than 20 plus years teaching young people about the Enneagram Test, a personality test meant to help people realize one’s personal strengths and weaknesses. She visited Baylor on Tuesday and Wednesday to lead workshops on the Enneagram in Bobo Spiritual Life Center, and spoke with Chapel students Wednesday.

At 65 years old, Stabile has held many roles. From small town Floydada, she dreamed of becoming a basketball coach. After college, she coached at several high schools before returning to her alma mater and serving as SMU’s first women’s basketball coach after Title IX . Title IX ensures that students are not discriminated based on sex. She realized she had a passion for spiritual teaching, and for the past 20 years has served as an inspirational lecturer — traveling the world to share her story, and the importance of the Enneagram test.

Chapel leader Ryan Richardson introduced Stabile as a “professional encourager.” The two shared laughs as they sat on the Waco Hall stage answering questions tweeted at Stabile by the audience. Topics ranged from her personal faith to advice she could give to college students.

Students laughed at Stabile’s charismatic and honest answers, especially when she said the word “sexy” multiple times just to make Richardson uncomfortable. A brief anecdote about her Catholic-priest turned pastor-husband had students roaring.

“It’s an odd thing to go on a date with a 40 year old man when it’s his first date ever,” Stabile said. “He took me to Chili’s. He asked if I wanted to share a hamburger.”

A question of the trials she has faced within her spiritual journey led Stabile to open up about family matters. The audience grew silent as she shared how her faith had been shaken when her 31-year-old son had tried to commit suicide last July.

“I didn’t feel like God wasn’t real,” Stabile said. “I felt like the connection that I thought I had with him wasn’t real. It felt like a breach… that I as a mother didn’t know that this was going on.”

When asked how she would explain her faith to someone who didn’t understand it, Stabile answered simply, “I am trying to serve a God so perfect that no matter what I do I can’t mess it up.”

Perhaps the greatest piece of encouragement that came from the conversation was when Stabile explained why she enjoys speaking with college students.

“I believe in you,” Stabile said. “I want to be in the world that y’all create for my grandchildren, and I’m ready for you to lead because I’m tired of leading.”