Gary's blog for couples and parents plus resources for individuals, leaders and churches.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Breaking the Harmful Cycles - Part 2

Breaking cyclical behaviors, attitudes and actions from our past is rarely easy. Many of those characteristics in our relationships stem from years of habit, dysfunction and emotional inbreeding. It will take our own honesty, intentionality and commitment to rid ourselves and our homes from the effects of years that are now behind us.

And sadly, much of what we do today is not our fault. However, we must take responsibility for what we do from here on and the good news is that change IS possible. We dare not accept the idea that this is just the way we are and everyone else will have to accept that. Our God is a God who changes people from the inside out!

I gave a couple of beginning suggestions last time about how to make those significant changes we need to make, to not be run by our past so let me add a couple more this time. First, be honest. Admit that those tendencies, responses and habits still lurking in your heart and mind are real and need to be addressed.

If you're married you need to fess up and talk about them with your spouse. It's also helpful to get some counseling or mentoring that can help you face some of your issues head on and begin to do something about them. Whatever you do, don't just cover them up. Like a tumor that has the potential to do great damage, we must have our "tumors" exposed and ultimately removed so that we can begin to live more free of the cancers from our past that can potentially damage everything.

Second, begin to go where you fear the most. Most of us have things we simply won't do because of the fear, shame or inappropriate actions we've learned from our past. For example, you may have been taught or had modeled that the only way to get what you want is to yell or demand. So now your home is a place where a loud voice is the only one that "wins."

You likely fear that you will never be heard or given attention if you're not the tough guy or gal. If you're going to be different and begin to model a new way of relating then you'll have to try another approach. You'll need to move toward your spouse or children confidently but without the loud voice. You need to try being gracious, listening and not just talking and getting your point across without all the gusto.

Or if you believe that people won't like you if you don't do just what they want, lavish them with gifts or always play the pleaser you can try something different. Decide to be their friend - period - no strings attached. Be willing to say what you think for a change even if you disagree. No longer demand that they like you.

Fear is the great paralyzer. In fact most of our past struggles stem from fears that were built into us, modeled or obtained. We fear not being loved and accepted. But instead of enjoying God's unconditional love and acceptance we demand it from others in our lives. And when those people don't come through for us (and no one ever does that perfectly) we begin to panic.

With God, however, there doesn't need to be any fear about who we are. In Him, we're always OK. So go where you fear and begin to change those debilitating and even destructive tendencies you've brought with you from the past. Change may be slow and tedious at times. We'll never totally arrive until Heaven, but we must head in the right direction.

It will change everything!
Gary Sinclair Writer | Speaker | Leader

Gary is currently a consultant, teacher, speaker and chaplain providing resources for families, leaders and churches.

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