Many of us have learned to hide our struggles because society tends to focus on outward behavior. We haven’t been taught or we tend to ignore the reality that outward behaviors (i.e. drinking, gossip, criticalness, stealing) are symptoms of internal struggles.
Wounds that haven’t healed. Patterns of relating in unhealthy ways that have become entrenched. Spiritual inheritances that haven’t been broken and redeemed.
We’ve learned that people (ourselves included) just want “bad” behaviors to stop. Choose differently, we think. Stop doing that, we frown. Don’t you see how destructive your choices are?
We think it’s about choice, when so much more is involved.
If stopping were so easy, wouldn’t most people put a kibosh on unhealthy behaviors? They’d stop choosing the abusive boyfriend, they’d stop sabotaging their success, they’d quit being so fearful and critical.
But it’s not as simple as choosing differently.
And yet there are people who don’t seem to struggle. Parenting flows fairly easily for them. They don’t lean toward outbursts of anger or critical mindsets. Addiction doesn’t attach itself to them.
Our Spiritual Landscape
I wonder if it is due in part to the spiritual landscape of their lives.
One day I was thinking about how my kids have been dragged along on my journey to freedom. My three oldest remember the “before” days when I operated under heavy doses of fear, control and anger. They’ve witnessed from front row seats the transforming power of God in my life.
But my momma’s heart wishes they had been born into my freedom instead of my process.
As I pondered this, God brought to mind two men who do ministry together. One is a fifth generation Christian and the other is the first in his family to know Jesus. The fifth generation pastor has such blessing over his life, as does the first generation pastor. But the first generation pastor has had huge trials and difficulties he’s had to overcome, as have had his children.
The picture was a little bleak for me. I long for my family to walk in the blessing and freedom of the fifth generation pastor. But then God gave me a new perspective. He brought to mind pioneering homesteaders who were given plots of land by the government.
As each successive generation grew up and took over the farm, they would continue the process, but the obstacles and debris would become smaller and scarcer until the land became clean and grew healthy produce.
It’s the same with us. If we tackle the issues in our lives, learning how to be transformed so the negative has no place in us, the spiritual landscape for our family becomes altered.
Even if our children don’t live at home or they seem beyond our influence, the changes we make in our lives affect the atmosphere and dynamics in the spiritual over our families (Psalm 16:5-11).
The work we allow God to do in our lives has huge impact in the lives of those around us.
Father, teach me how to go deeper in You. Lead me into wholeness and deeper connection with You. Please begin the process of removing the obstacles in my life that hinder the freedom and growth You desire for me. Growth that will lead me into deeper intimacy with You and will impact the lives of those around me. Teach me how to enjoy the journey and rest in Your presence. In Jesus’ name, amen.
Photos via Pixabay