April 27, 2023

Navigating Family Culture

Tell Me More About is a podcast with our Lead Pastor Whit George. Whit will answer questions and talk about things he didn’t get to talk about on the weekend.

In episode one, Whit and Casey talk about analyzing and navigating family culture, and answer questions like, why should I have to do something about something that was done to me? How do I fix a situation that feels broken beyond repair? Where do I even start?

Check out Episode One:

 Family is messy.

Joseph is an epic story within another epic story: the book of Genesis. Throughout Genesis, you see God promise that He will redeem creation through a family. But this gets complicated, because, well, family is messy.

Throughout scripture, the covenant faithfulness of God is on full display, but you also see the family traits of Abraham that emerge: deception, favoritism, division, and betrayal . . . and these ripple down through generations.
Put plainly, family history tends to repeat itself. 

The Reality of Your Family

The reality of family is that you’re connected to a people whether you realize it or not.
The family that you come from shapes you in significant ways. To not talk about dysfunction in your family is to underestimate the impact that it has.
If we don’t understand the dysfunction, we’ll carry our old family patterns into the family of Jesus.
The goal is not to lay blame, but to understand how your shaped and get insight into why you do what you do.

Where Do You Start?

It can feel really overwhelming to even know where to begin in navigating family culture and figuring out how to move forward. Here are some good places to start:

1. Acknowledge Unhealthy Behavior

It’s all too easy to avoid, ignore, and deflect. Maybe the unhealth in your family feels out of your control. It’s tempting to view it as “their” problem.

But denying the existence of a problem will keep it from ever being fixed and will likely result in more problems.
A great place to start is with you. What unhealthy behaviors and patterns can you identify in your own life? Ask yourself, why do I react to situations in the way that I do?

Bring these things from darkness into the light. Acknowledge these areas of unhealth and talk about it in a safe space with people you trust.

2. Ask Honest Questions

A huge part of understanding how you’re shaped is understanding where you come from.

The Family Excavation Tool  (adapted from Pete Scazzero’s book The Emotionally Healthy Leader) is really helpful in starting to ask some honest questions about your family of origin.

The very act of putting words to things is powerful. Words bring form to that which is formless and give name to feelings and experiences you’ve never identified.

The simple step of using the tool could lead clarity and realization.
After you’ve done this, it may be helpful to unpack your findings with a trusted friend or counselor.

 

3. Focus on What You Can Control

The reality is, you can’t undo mistakes in your past or your family’s past. But you can make the next right choice.  You can take the step in front of you and let God deal with the rest.

There’s a tension between resignation and obsession.

On one hand, why should you spend time obsessing over things you can’t control? You may have heard the adage, “let go and let God.”

Well, maybe a better saying would be, “Do you part and let God deal with the rest.”

In scripture, it’s clear that God invites humans into partnership with him. Revelation 21:3 says, And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God.”

Yes, God is in control. But we still have a part to play in partnership with Him. We see this play out in the story of Joseph .

Joseph’s family gets themselves into a situation that can’t fix. And Joseph isn’t the one to fix it. God is. God worked something in and through them because of Joseph’s obedience.

Give yourself grace. This isn’t easy and change won’t happen over night. Just focus on the step in front of you. What step can you take in obedience? God will lead you from there.

Show notes:
  • Getting into counseling might be a next step for you. Check out some of our trusted counseling resources.
  • Check out our past podcast episode on family culture:

Family culture: I’m just like my dad.

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