The Ties That Bind…

When I was about 7 years old, I remember asking for a big brother. As an only child, there were days when I felt a bit lonely…but most of all, I thought a big brother would be really nice. Some of my friends had one, and there was something about the security that came with it that I craved. Someone to look up to, but also someone who would take care of me. Well, my parents weren’t able to accommodate me, life as a child can be so disappointing at times. 🙂

Throughout the years it has been fascinating observing family dynamics. I spent a lot of time, and still do, watching how families interact. There are many instances that I don’t understand, but beneath it all, I can see how unique these relationships are. There is a lot of loyalty, but deep down, often there is also envy and a strong sense of competition. It doesn’t seem to matter what age the family members are, the emotions are the same, but the behavior masking the emotions comes out differently.

We tend to behave according to our status in the family. So, as an only child, I have a fairly strong sense of independence. I can come across as pretty capable, and as I grew up I didn’t really have someone telling me their opinion on the sidelines. It has its perks. But, then it also translates to not being able to take instruction very well. Having a spouse giving me his opinion on what I should or should not do…doesn’t always work. After all, I raised myself…and I think I did a pretty good job. :). Handling conflict isn’t something I learned, and I tend to run from conflict. Manipulation is something that works, and I have to watch myself, because it is a tool I can use quite easily.

Being part of a family, even one that doesn’t always work, brings a sense of belonging. It is such a blessing to be part of a larger family…that Family of God. This family, in its ideal form, is a group of people who love unconditionally, who pray and support each other. There is no envy, bitterness, competition or gossip…right? Isn’t this how it’s supposed to be? Does that look like the Family of God to you? A place where you are safe to be yourself?

Obviously, being part of that group sounds like Utopia…we can’t take basic human behavior out of ourselves. We still, quite often, act out the same way that we act in our own human families. We throw tantrums, we try to control, we try to manipulate ourselves to the top…or we just sit and mope and use this negative force to try and get attention.

We are predictable…and so often, we can’t see the behavior we exhibit. After all, this is how we have behaved in any group that we belong to.

I can just imagine, Father God, sitting on the sidelines…watching, and shaking His head…”why don’t they just GROW UP? Can’t they see that the Kingdom of God, the Family they want to be in, isn’t going anywhere? Can’t they see that their behavior prevents revival? Can’t they see that I am here…waiting to be asked, to do anything for them? Why do they keep thinking that they can do it all themselves? They don’t listen…they just act busy, and think that everything will work out according to their plans. Then I get the blame when everything goes wrong…!!!”

What would it take to be part of a healthy family? What would the results be?

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