6. Prepare your heart for protection against defilement
Remember, the enemy loves to use those close to us to get us entailed in webs of strongholds. He knows that many of the battles you struggle with have been inherited traits in your family line. The same anger the enemy worked on your father is now working in you. The depression your mother carried is something that bothered you, but is now taking you on for size. This is not to blame your family for your problems. It is simply helpful to know why family gatherings can often be extremely toxic. The strongholds are so familiar they can kiss each other.
You have to know that from a spiritual standpoint, the enemy seeks to use family interactions as open doors to derail you into old patterns or to sideswipe your growth with triggers. Don’t be ignorant. Be on the lookout for bitterness, rejection and accusation coming at ya. Often it can be helpful to prepare your heart, pray and do some spiritual preparation before you arrive at gatherings so that you are not ignorant of satan’s devices.
7. Keep your boundaries and don’t give in to the guilt.
Unfortunately, there are those that do not want to reason towards peace and have no desire to pursue reconciliation. They want to stay in their junk and they are not interested in meeting you when it comes to having more healthy patterns. There are those who also operate in manipulative patterns and games that subtly seek to control you. There does come a point where you have to put your foot down.
In maintaining some health, you will certainly need to make boundaries and keep your peace in doing so, especially since most people are not used to having boundaries placed on them. As Kris Vallotton from Bethel Church says,
It’s really important to set boundaries with people. If you don’t learn to set boundaries in your life, other people will superimpose their priorities and values on you. The people who hate the fact that you’re setting boundaries are the very ones who need them the most! Some people view boundaries as unloving or harsh. They think that you should run to every emergency, let people violate your values, and never say no to anyone or else you are not being loving…
Do not be afraid to make boundaries as an act of healthy love. And by the way, don’t give into the guilt trips that will kick up when you make them.
8. Learn the art of shaking the dust off your feet and keep your peace
One of the most amazing gifts as a believer is the ability to carry the peace of God in your heart. In the Gospels, Jesus taught His crew to be mindful in guarding their peace, and it can certainly apply to visits you make. If peace is present to meet the peace you carry, then let your peace land in the house to bless those who are present. If people can’t receive it, make sure you keep your peace and take it with you as you go. Plain and simple, don’t let anything or anyone steal the peace of God in your life. Take it. Keep it. Guard it. When its not receive, shake that dust right off and move on. Don’t carry the defilement with you.
9. Keep a heart of honor.
You can make boundaries, hold your ground and make healthy changes in your life. But you don’t have to do with an attitude. Beware of a “I’m better than you” attitude. Keep a heart that sees honor in your parents and relatives, even if you have to make some tough decisions. Do it with a humble heart before God, knowing that you are not better than anyone.
10. Establish new traditions.
Why does everything have to be the way it was before? Why mourn over some lost fairly tale feeling when you can take on a new course today? Why not make today a new day to usher in a new chapter? Maybe you can do this by creating some new traditions and new ways of getting together. If garbage keeps happening each year, why not make some modified plans that will help to cultivate new interactions. Create traditions more about what you can give than what you can get. Whatever it may be, look to be more intentional this year and believe God to do great things!
Which point is the most helpful for you in your journey? Leave your comments below.