I am not the one to ask about healthy family dynamics or what a family unity should look like. None of my family experiences have been anything other than dysfunctional at best. So last week when my pastor discussed how as Christians we are all siblings in Christ, I internally winced. My initial thought was one more family I am an outsider in. That sister no one actually thinks to invite or really wants around. The sister who is more drama than most people care to deal with.
And that’s the truth. I have contributed more than my fair share of dysfunction in my family experiences. I have caused plenty of chaos, hurt, and hard feelings. Family isn’t a word I think of with warmth and love. It’s a word that strikes fear in my heart. When’s the next time I won’t be accepted? When is the next time I will be asked to leave? When is the next time I’m the cause of everyone else’s trauma?
And then last night I sent a long email to our lead pastor. And the promptly regretted it and shared it with a couple of trusted people, one being a sister in Christ. She said to me “YOU are inviting them into YOUR space, the real, redemptive, healing, family space”. I was instantly reminded of something said to me in the past. I was asked, “Why do you care if they want you? Start asking yourself if you want them. Stop giving them that power.” (Context there was not church related)
Pastor B made a point to discuss that families are messy. Families step on each others’ toes. Families hurt each other. Families get in each others’ ways. What he didn’t mention was probably my biggest takeaway (happens a lot). Sometimes we project our insecurities on other people. Who says they don’t want me? Who says I’m not good enough? Who says I’m not wanted? Maybe that’s just me saying that, because I do know God never said that. Jesus never even hinted at that, He went so far as to die for me.
For me. And you. To save us from our own self destruction.
I can’t unhear my family asking me to leave in January**. Sometimes I think it’s finally in the past and then the insecurity kicks up again. But Jesus never asked me to leave. Nothing I’ve ever done in my life has been bad enough for Jesus to abandon me and ask me to leave. To some extent, I wonder if my insecurities about being accepted in the greater church congregation comes not from Christ or the congregation, but from my experiences with people in the past.
How often do we take our life experiences with others and project the outcomes on people not involved? I bet, if we’re being honest, we all do a lot more than we want to admit.
** That situation has been resolved. The anxiety and fear surrounding it are mine alone and something we’re still processing. We did not have to leave.**