Sunday, November 20, 2022

When There's Turkeys in the Room

- i'm thinking you'll want to share
this on your social media -

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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  1. There is so much wisdom packed in every one of your posts, sweet friend. I am so thankful for your steady encouragement and the way you always point us to Jesus. You are such a blessing! May God bless you and yours this Thanksgiving season.

    1. Have a wonderful season making music, Cheryl! And thank you for your kind words. All praise goes to Him.

  2. Wonderfully thoughtful words and advice, Linda, as we head into the holiday season. And we should be examining our own hearts and minds if we continue to let the same negative triggers get to us.
    Blessings and Happy Thanksgiving!

    1. Yep, for sure, Psalm 139 isn't a one-and-done practice, is it, friend.

      I hope your Thanksgiving will be joyful and relaxing. God has been so good in getting us through this year. I hope you're feeling well and strong.

  3. So wonderfully spoken my friend.
    Thank you for sharing this wise information with Sweet Tea & Friends this month.
    Happy Thanksgiving 🤗

    1. We simply encourage each other with what God is showing us. The variety of perspectives and creativity is such a nourishing feast. I am so grateful for this abundant blogging life He's given us!

  4. I feel very lucky that we all get on well. I know there are always some challenges but somehow everyone plays nice when we're all together, which makes for a much more pleasant event! Sending lovely Thanksgiving greetings your way.

    1. Jeanie, I like how you put it - 'everyone plays nice.' Have a wonderful day with your family.

  5. Jesus often welcomed people with the words, "Peace be with you". Wouldn't it be wonderful if we did that instead of good morning, good evening or whatever. That way it puts us and the other person at the right footing from the start of the conversation or meeting.

    Just a thought.

    God bless.

    1. Wow. That would stop everyone right in their tracks. We really do get to set the stage, don't we. How soon we forget.

  6. Oh, dear! I pray we can walk in the spirit this year - strengthening and encouraging one another heart-to-heart, and not walk in the flesh - tearing each other down. Life is too short for the latter! May the Lord use us to help set a tone of love and encouragement this year. May you and your family have a grace-filled Thanksgiving, Linda, especially as you miss your sweet momma's presence.

    1. You said it well, Lisa. There's so much tearing each other down, most especially in recent years because of increasing frustration, fear, hurt, and disrespect in our culture and our world.

      I'm saying 'amen' to the truth that life is too short and that we're called, even commanded to 'set a tone of love and encouragement.' Your words are powerful and spot on. Thank you so much, friend. Bless you for your wisdom.

  7. Replies
    1. Carol, I'm grateful that we've connected in recent weeks. So thankful.

  8. As always, thank you Linda! Thankfully, there is no drama in our small family. We all just love to eat and play with the children. Wishing you a wonderful Thanksgiving, my friend!

    1. Yes please! Let's eat and play with the kids! No drama just joy! I just know your Sunshine Cottage is going to be a magical place, Pam.

  9. Beautiful words and advice, Linda.
    I am always inspired by your pearls of wisdom.

    Hug and blessings!

  10. Oh families...they can be tricky to navigate! But a place we can grow and learn a lot about ourselves. As the youngest of five, I still, at 57 years old, fall into feeling like a "baby" who does not know much when I am around my whole family! A very timely post, Linda and I agree that it is packed full of wisdom!

    1. Thanks for being honest and sharing your family 'role' with us, Lynn. It's like you've given us all permission to name where we too often find ourselves when we're with our flesh and blood. Calling it what it is helps us to figure out what we want to do about it.
      I'm so glad you've weighed in on this. Bless you!

  11. No you are not the only ones and yes we sure do slip back into those roles. Thanks for the great reminder!