Emotionally Healthy Relationships: Understand Your Family of Origin (05.20.19)
Commence your time together by reading the simple words below, and then take three minutes of silence in the presence of the Lord.
Each week we gather to praise our God,
to give ourselves over to our God
and to ask our God for help
We believe when we gather, He is with us
We believe when we openly confess our hearts, we become more like Him
We believe in Christ we are our truest selves,
created to love and serve others for the sake of the world
Pair with a person next to you and think back to when you were about 10 years old. Developmentally this is an age when we are still completely dependent on our families and also learning to be more aware and critical of what is happening at home.
With your partner, take turns providing a simple, 2-3 minute verbal sketch of your family from when you were about 10 years old. Describe your parents or primary caregivers, siblings, other people living with you, your home, and an example of how you would all normally relate to one another. What was the underlying emotional tone of your home?
After both people share, say a prayer over one another and the rest of your CG as we examine our families of origin.
Generational Sins & Blessings
Pursuing spiritual maturity requires us to pursue emotional health. A key to developing emotional health is understanding our family of origin—taking inventory of the values, patterns, sins, and blessings of our family trees. Many times these deeply ingrained family patterns can be unconscious to us, as if they are the water we swim in.
Take seven minutes of silent, prayerful reflection on one or two items on the list below that jump out to you. Feel free to journal in a notebook or phone if it will help you focus.
How did the following show up or not show up in your family, and how did you adopt your family’s approach or react to it?
• Emotions: joy, anger, fear, grief
• Lies & secrecy
• Harm, abuse, or trauma
• Marriage, friendship, & romance
• Mental health & addiction
• Guilt, shame, avoidance, & hiding
• Commitment & responsibility
• Money, status, & success
• Power & weakness
• Physical health & sexuality
After the reflection time, return to your pair and share with one another what stood out to you during the reflection. Practice vulnerable honesty and compassionate listening.
God’s Redemptive Family
After being sold into slavery by his brothers, falsely imprisoned, left for dead in a jail cell, and then miraculously elevated to prominence in Egypt, Joseph reconnects with his betraying brothers. Read Genesis 50:15-21and discuss:
• What does the interaction between Joseph and his brothers teach us about resolving problems in family history?
• What do you think it would look like for you to adopt the words of Joseph for yourself: “You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives” (Genesis 50:20)?
• What are the new values and relational patterns of God’s family that you feel invited to adopt as your own?
Closing (5 min)
Have someone close your time in prayer.
Note for this next week:
As we prepare to live out this principle of emotionally healthy relationships, take note of any moments of frustration or disappointment over the next week. When these happen (and they likely will), ask the Lord to remind you of any roots these may have in the family history your carry.