September 17th – little family/big family
DIVIDED WE FALL…WHAT DIVIDES US
- Unresolved Grief
- Prolonged Disappointment
- Pride, Lies, Apathy…essentially…sin
These are the core issues we deal with in family counseling, whether it be a marriage, a child and parent, a parent dealing with an adult child, or an adult trying to process boundaries with a parent.
Most of these things in themselves cannot create problem…a bottle of liquor or pills has no volition, death is a reality, so grief is inevitable and intended to be a healthy process…and if we believe that some of these are genetic or “disease” oriented, etc. then on some level people may not be able to do anything about it…BUT… It is the anger, hurt, bitterness, that the actions from the above list that keep our families divided and stuck.
And if those don’t impact your family…Then there is even what disconnects/divides us on a daily level…
- Too Much Activity
- Too Much Technology
- Too Much Time in Isolated Spaces
- Too Many Choices
In short, the potential for division is everywhere. Yet, I don’t think this is our heart.
SHOW BOOK COVER
In survey after survey, Americans show up as valuing marriage more than people in almost any other country. Yet at the same time we have the highest divorce — and romantic breakup — rate in the world, Andrew J. Cherlin observes in his book “The Marriage-Go-Round: The State of Marriage and the Family in America Today.” We step into and out of romantic relationships faster than couples in Europe, Japan, Australia and New Zealand. By age 35, 10 percent of American women have lived with three or more husbands or domestic partners — a higher proportion than in any of these countries. Children born of married parents in America face a higher risk of seeing them break up than children born of unmarried parents in Sweden.
So, the problem is clear…we can be divided and easily, even easier than some other countries. We can be divided in our nuclear family and our extended family. But we don’t wanna be…we want to be united.
UNITED WE STAND…WHAT UNITES US
- PERSONAL ACCOUNTABILITY…stand before God Ourselves…we gotta look in the mirror first…just like we’ve been saying the past few weeks regarding sin.
Ephesians 4: 1 As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. 2 Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. 3 Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. 4 There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called; 5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism; 6 one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.
Romans 12: 17 Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. 18 If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. 19 Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord.
Someone has to be the adult! The person healthy enough to bring about change. It’s sad when that’s not the older parent or sibling, but often someone who shouldn’t be the designated driver has to be.
Personal accountability is recognizing that I can only control my attitude and my actions. But being able to control them is incredibly powerful. Both for my own personal health, and being able to affect change in the family. I cannot allow the dysfunction and others to make me dysfunctional.
Not always the person who hurt us… Mental Roladex – I’ll never be that foolish, open, trusting etc. again.
Illusion of distance – because we tend to react and load balance against others, we can often feel the distance between us is greater than it actually is.
Sometimes “living a life worthy of your calling” and going “as far as it depends on you” isn’t easy or enjoyable.
Exodus 20: 12 “Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the Lord your God is giving you.
That word, “HONOR” kabad…to be heavy, weighty, or burdensome…
John has a joke about how the Ephesians passage about “Husbands love your wives as Christ loved the church…” he says, which means when you think you are about to die for her…you’re almost there. This is similar…dealing with our parents, regardless of how we were parented can be “heavy”, “weighty” or “burdensome”. Even if you had idyllic parents…one day they will need care, and that can be costly, they can forget who you are…God said thousands and thousands of years ago…it can be tough. BUT..it’s also the only commandment that comes with a promise…
20:12…so that you may live long in the land the Lord your God is giving you.
You know why? Cause one day YOU will be “heavy and burdensome”.
Ephesians 4: 31 Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice.
32 Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.
Matthew 6:14-15 “For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, but if
you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.”
If we want our families healthy we are going to have to forgive. I love that word TRESPASSES…think about that. Little or small when people trespass, they cross our boundaries, impact our emotional territory, or enter our physical space without permission…they are trespassing…and some trespasses are easier to deal with than others. If someone cuts through my yard to get to a neighbor…it’s different then if someone parks their tiny house in my front yard, or I come home from vacation and someone is living in my house…
Little or small how do we move forward from a trespass?
- Pray It…then ask to mean it.
- The Art of Not Taking It Personally (this will apply across all weeks)…they are doing this TO you.
“Nothing other people do is because of you. It is because of themselves. All people live in their own dream, in their own mind; they are in a completely different world from the one we live in.” Miguel Ruiz
- BE A TEAM!
Testing the cohesiveness of our team. (Unified or Divided?)
HOW IS OUR TEAM DOING?
Ephesians 4: 3 Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. 4 There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called; 5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism; 6 one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.
Matthew 19: 4 “Haven’t you read,” he replied, “that at the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female,’ 5 and said, ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh’? 6 So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.”
Living around each other does not mean we are on the same team.
Parenting: Are our parenting styles in sync? Do we speak with one voice? Are our kids playing us against each other?
Budget: Who are the spenders, who are the savers. If were both spenders is it on different things? (He spent a decent chunk of money “we don’t have” on new rims, so I can spend $$ we don’t have on a new tattoo)
Goals: Get into a house, pay off the house, save for college, making memories, vacations, day trips, playing in back yard, going to museum, ETC. and are we on the same page with those? “Competing Priorities”.
Luke 14:28-30 ‘Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Won’t you first sit down and estimate the cost to see if you have enough money to complete it? For if you lay the foundation and are not able to finish it, everyone who sees it will ridicule you, saying, ‘This person began to build and wasn’t able to finish.’
Clearly defined goals and priorities help make small decisions that lead us to success. If we have a goal to go to Disney, then choices we make week to week have an impact.
McLendon Family Goal: Kids get athletic scholarships. Made a huge impact on our finances (lessons, gas to drive around, camps, trainers, etc.) on our time (lessons in Brentwood when we live in H’ville, etc.)
Play to Your Strengths: Does our family operate with each person 80% in their gifts and strengths? And then the 20% doing the things that have to get done… do we do life well? (Ex. He is terrible with money, but he won’t let her manage finances cause he wants control. She works 40 hrs a week and carries all the housework, cause “that’s what women do”, so she’s tired and cranky…he’s not gonna be happy either.)
Intimacy: to grow our communication, to reach our life goals, better speaking our love languages, how many monthly hookups do we want, and are we having greater joy in our sexual encounters.
Do we have an endgame? With our kids, with our future, with our retirement, seeking purpose and not just letting life happen to us? Are our kids college material or not? How are we preparing them either way?
How can we get our team back on track?
What Can Unite Us…Practical Things…
- Serve Together
- Get Outside Together
- Eat at the Table
- Spend Time
- Play Games
- Have you forgotten you are FOR each other?
I think sometimes we forget that we are ultimately FOR each other, that we allow lies and wounds to convince us we are against each other. While there are always examples of people that truly set out to do us harm, I think most of the time we are trying to be FOR people. Maybe we can’t see how we are doing that, cause we can only stand in our own shoes and see through our lens…so we say stuff, do stuff, struggle and we don’t realize how that impacts others. But I have yet to meet at mom that hopes and arranges to screw over her kids. And even in broken marriages we didn’t set out to get started that way. We fail, we get stuck, we struggle…so we mess up, but we usually are still FOR the other.
We build walls and set up defense systems and I get it, but many times we would benefit from stopping and realizing that sometimes so much junk gets in the way we can’t see any more. We have forgotten.
I drive my mother crazy, we disagree, often, she drives me crazy. I could point out how she messed up, she could remind me all the self-centered and dysfunctional things I did…so much so, we forget we are FOR each other. She assumes I’m being arrogant and looking down at her life and judging her…I assume she still sees me as a child and is judging me.
Romans 8:31 What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32 He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?
You might say, “well that’s great, but that’s about God…you don’t understand what THEY have done…”
An “un-dividable love” is an amazingly powerful thing…we are granted that in Christ IN ORDER TO SHOW that to each other?
- God’s Gotta Get In There
Ultimately…I’m not sure we can adequately love our families in our humanness….in order to break generational cycles, to bring healing to a family system, to unite a family…someone has to get healthy which requires let God lead.
Transition to Song…Regardless of how we are divided right now in this moment…God doesn’t waste one experience. He is in the job of uniting of reconciling.
2 Corinthians 5:16 So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer. 17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come:[a] The old has gone, the new is here! 18 All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: 19 that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. 20 We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us.