Today I want to talk about something that may be a bit controversial or uncomfortable for some of you.
YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED!
I want to talk about the idea of holding family up so high that it essentially becomes our god. Family is surely important and I am not trying to belittle the effort that needs to go into having a healthy and happy family, but I do believe there is a point at which people cross the line and place family up on a pedestal it was never meant to be seated at.
How do you know if you have elevated family to an idol level?
It will likely look different in person to person. But here are some examples that I have seen. (Note… if any of these strike a chord with you and you find yourself offended, I promise I am not out to get. Also, this may mean that you are at risk of being a family idolator and it would be wise for you to guard yourself for your own well being!)
1) Parents losing their identity when they are empty-nesters.
2) Allowing arguments within the family to tear you down emotionally or completely ruin your day
3) Feeling like a failure because your child does not do what you hoped for them
4) Treating your son or daughter in-law with contempt because they are taking your child away or changing how he/she interacts with you
5) Not taking care of yourself because you have to sacrifice EVERYTHING for your family
6) Family traditions become staunch requirements with no excuse to miss
7) (For children) You are not able to express yourself because it might ruin the family dynamics
8) Spending money you don’t have for the “betterment” of your family/children’s experience
9) Not being able to have a conversation with your spouse that does not involve your kids (or it is an extreme rarity)
10) If there is family dissonance your mortified if others find out about it
11) You look down on others who don’t value family as much as you do
Wow. These are not easy things to hear. Do you experience any of these?
Maybe your reaction is, “So what if I idolize my family? Who are you to tell me what to value?” I completely understand this and hope you know that I am saying this from a place that is to help you and not harm you.
Family will let us down. Family members will hurt us, betray us, and not appreciate the love we give. To expect any different would be flawed. Families are ever changing; as people are ever growing and maturing. Living for family will end in disappointment, not because of anything we do wrong, but simply because families are made of humans. Humans grow and change. And humans are not perfect.
How can you protect yourself from the disappointment that can come from idolizing family? Make an inventory of the things you value and what you find to be the purpose of life. Remember, not everyone gets the opportunity to be in a family! If you are in a stable and loving family, you are blessed and possibly of the minority. Be grateful for your dear family and do not idolize it… it will let you down and then where will you be with your “god” that has failed you?