The greatest challenge I have working with people both as a pastor & coach to christian leaders, is to sometimes strip away all the language around our Christianity, enough to get to some of the soul realm that religion loves glossing over.
For example, when looking at your family history, the biggest push back I get, is when someone says 'what's the point, doesn't this then become an excuse to stay the same?'
And I think it is actually the opposite.
Seeing patterns, ways of relating, themes, addictions, legacy on paper, actually gives you an opportunity to be aware of the driving forces behind some of your current ways of relating.
Andrew and I just engaged in this process as we support one of our daughters in her own healing journey. And seeing what we actually already knew, but in a diagram, on a white board.. was both confronting and liberating. It was both a challenge and an invitation.
And there is so much more that you can do, that can unlock even deeper revelation and freedom.
So today I wanted to give you the questions that Peter Scazzero references in his book Emotionally Healthy Spirituality. He says there is often an 'unspoken' Ten Commandments in our families, that we do not even recognise until we think about it more.
1. Describe each family member with two or three adjectives (parents, caretakers, grandparents, siblings, children).
2. Describe your parents’ (caretakers’) and grandparents’ marriages.
3. How was conflict handled in your extended family over two to three generations? Anger? Roles?
4. What were some generational themes (e.g., addictions, affairs, losses, abuse, divorce, depression, mental illness, abortions, children born out of wedlock, etc.)?
5. How well did your family do in talking about feelings?
6. How was sexuality talked or not talked about? What were the implied messages?
7. Were there any family “secrets” (such as a pregnancy out of wedlock, incest, or major financial scandal)?
8. What was considered “success” in your family?
9. Where there traumatic losses in the past or present, such as sudden death, prolonged illnesses, stillbirths or miscarriages, bankruptcy, or divorce?
10. How was money handled? Spirituality? Holidays? Relationships with extended family?
11. How did your family’s background shape you?
12. Were there any heroes in the family? Scapegoats? “Losers”? Why?
13. What kinds of addictions, if any, existed in the family?
Just these questions alone are worth thinking through
You can watch the four minute Youtube of Peter Scazzero talking about it here
If this type of work interests you, and you would love someone to co-journey with you as you embark on this type of understanding of yourself, there are a few steps you can take:
Do it with a friend, or your spouse, or a trusted leader. Start by telling them you will be doing this work. Just reaching out is powerful.
See if your church offers Emotionally Healthy Spirituality as the course by Peter Scazzero (at Resurgent where I Pastor locally, we have this as a self-paced online course for anyone who is an active part of our community)
If you have a therapist, let them know you would like to dive into this type of work and see what resources that they have (feel free to email me with any questions that you have where I can help you be specific with your therapist about what you are looking for)
Enrol in the Freedom Program (Resurgent launches it this week and it is online and open to anyone in our community. Register here)
I can take you through three - five sessions in my coaching and the session packages are here
Friend, can I encourage you that now is the time to continue finding freedom. The earth is yearning for what you carry, and the freedom journey you venture on gives others permission also.