I think dysfunction has become the common function. God calls us to love in a world where we hurt each other so easily and entangle ourselves in addictions, lies, bitterness, and anger. These all become so natural in our lives and we learn to live with it. We become so accustom to unhealthy things in our lives, that dealing with our problems actually becomes way too uncomfortable and at first it seems like everything gets worse. And it does. But only before it gets better. In many situations, doing nothing only prolongs the problem while seeking healing feels painful. But ultimately things need to fall apart to be put back together again. We want a quick fix for our marriage problems, or family dissention, or co dependency. But quick fixes are like putting a cute little band-aid on a bullet wound. The wounds may be hidden and look really cool with Hello Kitty or spiderman on it, but you’re still losing blood and in a lot of pain. Without surgery your are still dying. And surgery hurts a lot. But after you fix the problems in your relationships; communicate, forgive, apologize, love, hug, and move forward, you are ready to strengthen them.
Are you in a dysfunctional situation with family or friends? Are you at a loss about what to do? We all get to this point sometime in our lives. There’s really not one answer about how to deal with it. But here are some tools that may help you.
1. Create some distance between you and the situation. It’s very hard to think in the thick of it. There are so many emotions and bitterness that people say things they don’t mean and you don’t have a level head. Take some time away from the drama to quiet your mind.
2. Pray. While you are distancing yourself, talk to God about how to deal with it. The goal is healing not proving your point, or being right, or dwelling on the past. Ask God how you can move forward.
3. Communicate in love. Don’t hold everything inside but also choose your words wisely. Don’t point the finger at people and tell everyone what they are doing wrong. If you were hurt, communicate that and seek healing. I know easier said than done, but remember that nobody is perfect and there might be things you need to let go of and move on. But it is important to speak with each other about what is going on in a loving manner.
4. Don’t let bitterness mess up your progress. Sometimes we create distance, pray, and communicate and begin to move on, but then we still feel anger and bitterness and drudge up the past. Don’t do it. Let it go. Loving people isn’t always going to feel good, especially if they hurt you. Keep loving them, and give your bitterness to God, forgiving people continually for the past.
5. Forgiving doesn’t mean be BFFs. If you are in an abusive situation, then you can forgive and move on, but you should move on without them in your life. Sometimes when you take that time away from people you realize how toxic it was and it might be time to change who you surround yourself with.
6. Seek counsel. Yes God can help us through prayer, but he also helps us through the advice of others. Be open to what other people say, including your counselors, and friends. They will have a less emotional and bias perspective of the situation.
I am not a pro at how to deal with dysfunctional situations. I don’t always handle situations the right way. But I’m learning. You can have all the knowledge in the world but still say the wrong thing at the wrong time and just be at a loss at how to fix your relationships. But I do know that deep seeded issues take years to grow and in order to have healthy relationships we need to take the time and pain to deal with our stuff before it becomes seeded in our hearts and takes sprout. We need to stop being ok with living with broken relationships. God calls us to more than that! He calls us to be free!