Written by: Briana Whiteside
I didn’t stand a chance.
It is quite intriguing that the words family and familiar are spelled almost exactly alike. The Latin spelling of the word family, familia, means to be a servant of a household, while familiar means to be close and intimate; however, further research into familiar leads back to family. I think it is telling that these words are almost synonymous with one another, especially since our familial ties can hold us hostage.
Sometimes, the familiar is dangerous and counterproductive to our progress as we attempt to follow Christ. I would also go as far as to suggest that familial ties have the power to stagnate our lives in ways that other relationships cannot. Therefore, we have to recognize that in order to be successful in our pursuit of God, we have to figure out which characteristics He entrusted to us, and which are the hindrances from ancestral lineages.
Lineages are very important to us because they provide clues to the outcome of our lives. Think about it. At a doctor’s appointment, they ask that patients to fill out a questionnaire about the history of their family. At the minimum, the doctor seeks information about three generations of individuals within one family. This is not simply happenstance but highlights an understanding of the importance of familial ties. Ultimately, doctors understand that families have a lot in common including genes, environment, and livelihoods. Taken together, these may provide clues to generational ailments that could surface in a family. By investigating these patterns, healthcare professionals can determine if an individual, other family members, or even future members are susceptible to developing certain conditions.
If this is true in the natural it is definitely true spiritually. Think about people in your family who have distinctive commonalities. Perhaps all the men in your family die prematurely or end up in jail. Maybe all the women in your family get pregnant out of wedlock or are bitter. All of these commonalities could be clues about what has attached itself to your family lineage and what might be after you.
This is a hard reality. I must admit that this will not be an easy thing to combat because the normalcy of our family seduces us into the comfort of its hold. But, we have to do something distinctive if we hope to live differently. Sometimes what we don’t realize is that God, the devil, and our families are always competing for our understanding of identity and thus our destiny. These three opposing perspectives will each show you the benefits of following their path, but each will not be in your best interest.
Sometimes it is hard to decipher if our familial characteristics are causing us to live beneath who we were created to be. More often than not, these are also the very traits that are used to identify us as family. The battle then becomes one of deciding whether to cater to our identity in God or our parents. If I can be honest, there was a time that I had difficulty deciding between the two, which is why I chose the familial lifestyle that was most familiar. Unfortunately, this “small” choice took me down a destructive path that cost me a lot of time in the wilderness. So, I caution you to choose God! I’m telling you this because I know what it’s like to fight demons attached to my last name.
I descend from a line of strong black women who are single mothers. They are phenomenal women, but when I say strong, I mean strong! Again, this is a common trait, but just because it is normal in my family doesn’t mean it is right. Anything outside of the will of God or His initial plan for a thing is perverted. The operation of strength in spite of God leads to idolatry and He is clear on his position on the matter. Therefore, I want to challenge you to spend time locating the lineage commonality in your family and test that characteristic against the Bible to see if it aligns. Ask God to reveal any hindrances to your life that are a result of your familial lineage. You should record anything he shows you or anything that comes to mind. Remember, whatever is not in alignment with the Word of God is wrong no matter how normal it may seem to us.
While it is true that your ancestry has the ability to dictate to you the ways in which you live, when you overcome the generational curses assigned to your last name, there is a level of freedom that you will operate in. Ultimately, there is hope! Just as certain traits follow families for several generations, the Lord gives a promise in Psalm 105:8 that He remembers His covenant and promises for a thousand generations. Today, we measure a generation by twenty-five years or so, and if this understanding is applied to the scripture, it means that God’s word will be fulfilled from 25,000 years prior. I wonder how far back we would have to travel to see the original promise in our families. Would we even know to whom the promise was made? Think about the children of Israel, God made several promises to them and we are privy to the ramifications of some of them as revealed in the scriptures: wealth, virtue, influence, and force, to name a few.
What promises has God made to you? What promises will you see, if you obey his word and break free of the generational cycles? Think of your siblings, friends, your children, and grandchildren. They are all depending on your act of obedience and willingness to break free.
This is why you need to sign up for The Break The Cycle Challenge. You don’t want to be the only one in 2018 who is still haunted by the reality of their past.
Married & Young’s FREE 4-day “Break The Cycle” challenge starting on Monday, February 5. We are breaking the patterns off our lives NOW so we don’t repeat them later. Click HERE to sign up!