When There's Turkeys in the Room

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Every family has it's own unique idiosyncracies.  And the nuts don't fall far from the tree, do they.  Nowhere is this more obvious and irritating than at the holidays when far too many of us revert back to childhood roles and behavior, often without a clue.

It's usually not an attractive sight. 

It's rare to come across an extended family where this doesn't occur in some way, shape, or form.  And right up front I'll own my own stuff.  I don't have to look further than my mirror.

Tell me I'm not the only one.

I understand my storyline and have worked through how it's impacted me.  I've forgiven, I've moved on, but I'm still prone to head back into those old familiar ways of relating that protected me, made me feel more important, gave me a bit of power and control.

It's like slipping into an old ratty sweatshirt.  At least it's familiar and comfortable, even though it's long lost its appeal.

Some families have obvious dysfunction ... and others specialize in more subtle, passive aggressive ways of relating, disagreeing, speaking their truth.  If you've been repeatedly hurt, frustrated, scared, or disrespected, it changes the way you see the world and your default mode becomes living life on high alert, always prepared for battles, real or imagined.

It's easy to point the finger at others 'round the table, the ones that arrive with a bit of a chip on their shoulder ... or the ones who didn't bother showing up at all.  But the Psalmist points us to the mirror. 

Search me, O God, and know my heart;
Try me, and know my anxieties;
And see if there is any wicked way in me,

And lead me in the way everlasting.
Psalm 139:3-4

I like how the NKJV puts it because it goes to the roots of harmful, often sinful ways of relating.  This is what happens when festering wounds aren't identified, tended, and released to the Healer of our hearts.  Anxieties, unfinished business, pain, unforgiveness, anger are a sampling of the toxins that fill our wrecked souls and begin to define who we are and how we are seen by others.  And out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks (Matthew 12:34).

So if you're weary of being held hostage at family gatherings, click here for some excellent straight-talk on how to prevent the walking wounded from ruining your holidays.  You'll find it'll apply in other situations as well like the workplace, friendships, and yes, church life. 

And if you're feeling some nudges from the Holy Spirit about your own role in ongoing messy family dynamics, pay attention to what He's whispering ... or maybe even shouting.  The Healer of hearts specializes in guiding us into all truth (John 16:13).



Click here for relationship expert Leslie Vernick's clear-cut guidance on what constitutes physical, verbal, emotional, sexual, financial and spiritual abuse.  

The Emotionally Destructive Relationship: Seeing It, Stopping It, Surviving It by Leslie Vernick is an excellent companion if you're navigating rough family dynamics.  Click here to look into, have a listen, or get a sample.  I highly recommend.


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