Sometimes it seems as if the odds are stacked against us. Have you ever said, “This is just who I am or how I was raised.”? Struggling with a habit or behavior that is hard to change is so frustrating.
We’ve all heard the statistics – abuse victims are more likely to abuse, children of alcoholics are more likely to become alcoholics and obesity tends to run in families. I am a child of divorced parents and the predictions for my marriage are grim. Our family of origin and the behavior displayed while we were growing up seems to make a big difference in our own behavior. If we were raised in a very dysfunctional home that can be disheartening.
Does being male, and witnessing your dad beat your mom, make you destined to abuse your own wife? If like me many of your extended family were or are alcoholics including your dad, do we resign ourselves to being an alcoholic? I sure hope not.
I’m not educated enough in the area of environment versus genetics to argue the point one way or another. What I want us to realize today is that we can change. We are not destined to be abusers, drunks, obese, die of heart attacks or automatically become diabetics. Mine and Lary’s marriage was not doomed from the beginning. These things are lies of Satan. Tyler Perry’s Mr. Brown says it so well, “The devil is a lie.”
For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.” Jeremiah 29:11 NLT
Our lives can be different. We can be the game changer in our family. Dr. Chris Thurman writes in The Lies We Believe, “We choose our emotions and actions whether we realize it or not. No one can force a feeling on us or force us to act a certain way. To think otherwise is to be irresponsible, to place responsibility for our lives in the hands of every person and event life throws at us. The blame game is one of the deadliest games we can play. If we want our lives back, the game must stop.” (emphasis mine)
Maybe you are thinking that most of your family died with heart disease and you already know how you will leave this world. Genetics may be involved but we can choose to eat better, take our medicine as we should , stop smoking and exercise. If I never take one drink of alcohol, I am sure to avoid being an alcoholic. I just stacked the odds in my favor.
God has wonderful plans for us and we don’t have to live defeated as if we have no control over how we live our lives. Self-control is one of the fruits of the Spirit. Will it be easy to change? Well, it never is for me. Almost every time I have changed any thing, the catalyst seems to be pain and discomfort.
Ex husbands are not the problem, co-workers are not the problem, our mommas and daddys are not the problem. Let’s take control back of our emotions and actions. If we are born again, saved by grace through Jesus Christ, we have the Holy Spirit to empower us to do different, be different, feel different. Our minds can be renewed. I love how Romans 12:1-2 reads in The Message:
So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you.”
Let’s ask ourselves some questions. What do we need to change in our lives to be healthier spiritually, mentally and/or physically? Do we live our lives as if our past (our family or our past behaviors) controls our future? We decide our actions. The responsibility for change lies square in our laps.
Lord, will you help us change? We give our temper, way of eating, attitudes, our ____________ (you fill in the blank with your “thing”) to You. Empower us Holy Spirit to do the hard work. In the mighty name of Jesus, amen.