You love your family, but they drive you nuts! Learning how to accept your family for who they are will help you live in peace with both them and yourself.
If you can’t accept your family, you’ll have a hard time accepting yourself. If you can’t accept yourself, you’ll have an even harder time accepting and loving others. Healthy family relationships give us the foundation of happiness, joy and peace in other areas of our life.
You love your family, but accepting them for who they are is easier said than done, isn’t it? I know. My relatives have experienced so much divorce, death and destruction that I don’t even know where to start healing our broken family relationships. Luckily I’m not here to tell you how I myself created peace in my family! Instead, I can share a better way.
In What to Do When Your Family Won’t Listen to You, two She Blossoms readers described the effects of not being heard by their families. The pain of being abandoned, neglected, or even abused by family members is devastating. That’s the bad news.
The good news is that our families do not define who we are. We have the choice to adopt a different, better, healthier self-image. We can find power and strength to renew our minds, refresh our spirits, and revitalize our identities. We can accept our families for who they are, accept ourselves for who we are, and blossom into who God created us to be.
3 Ways to Accept Your Family for Who They Are
This is the article I’ve been dreading! I’m writing my way through Scripture — I call it my She Blossoms Through the Bible. I’m writing a blog post for every book of the Bible; I’ve been dreading the day I’d have to write about a long, dry, boring family record. That day is here. It’s Esau’s family lineage in Genesis 36…and I’m celebrating a miracle. This “long, dry, boring family record” is actually juicy and overflowing with so many things to write about that I didn’t even know where to start.
You don’t have to believe in God, Jesus, or the Holy Spirit to benefit from my tips on how to accept your family for who they are. That’s the wonder and wisdom of the Bible: everyone can come, learn, and grow. The wonder and wisdom of Jesus, however, is a different story. If you know Him, you know what I mean. If you don’t know Jesus, you’re here because the Holy Spirit wants to include you in a different type of family. Confused? Keep reading…
1. Expect to be confused by your family
The families in Genesis are often confusing, dysfunctional, unhealthy, manipulative, and even abusive. Genesis 36 focuses on Esau’s family record, describing how wealthy and influential Esau became. He had so many flocks, herds, livestock, tents, servants, children, wives and possessions that he and his younger brother Jacob couldn’t even live in the same area. Jacob had stolen Esau’s birthright and blessing (Preparing to Meet an Estranged Family Member). Jacob was confused and humbled when his brother Esau forgave and welcomed him back into the family. Jacob was so humbled, in fact, he said it was like seeing the face of God (Genesis 33:10).
Families are always confusing, often irritating, and sometimes dysfunctional. The sooner you expect to be aggravated by your family, the easier it’ll be to accept them for who they are. What do you expect from your family? Who do you want them to be? Why do you want your family to be that way? Explore your own expectations and needs. Don’t try to figure your family out or fix their flaws. Accepting your family means letting them have their warts, weaknesses, and wrinkles.
2. Avoid comparing your family (or yourself) to others
Genesis 36 reveals huge differences in brothers Jacob and Esau — who were fraternal twins. Jacob the younger was shrewd and manipulative, deceptive and conniving. Esau the older was impulsive and impetuous, earthly and rash. Jacob ran into trouble when he compared his inheritance to his brother’s and tricked his father Isaac. Esau created problems by choosing to marry outside his faith, community, and land. Despite their flaws, weaknesses and foolish decisions God chose to bless Jacob and Esau in different ways.
Who are you comparing your family — and yourself — to? You’re struggling to accept your family for who they are, which means you want them to be something they aren’t. In How to Deal With Problems in Your Family I describe how difficult it was for me to accept my mom for who she was. I grew up comparing myself to my friends and other family members. The more I compared myself to others, the unhappier I was. I didn’t know the freedom of basing my identity in Jesus or receiving the love of God. All I knew was that everyone else’s family was better than mine. Are you falling into the same trap? Who are you comparing your parents, siblings, or children to?
3. Learn what “accepting your family for who they are” means
In the family records of Genesis 36 we meet Esau’s first descendants. We learn that they are Edomites (Esaus was also know as Edom), and that their family lineage can be traced all the way to the New Testament. King Herod, an Edomite who tried to exterminate all the Jewish baby boys after Jesus was born, was part of Esau’s family line. King Jesus — who died so all the Jews and Gentiles could receive a free, joyful, deep life — was part of Jacob’s family line. See how the Bible is woven together and how integral families are to God’s story? The most amazing part is that we, too, are included in Jesus’ own family…if we accept Him for who He is.
Accepting your family doesn’t mean allowing them to manipulate, harm, or use you. Rather, accepting your family members for who they are means that you see them clearly. It’s hard to be objected about people we love, which is why it’s important to get family or individual counseling. Even just talking to or writing about your family dynamics can help you see your relatives more clearly. Accepting your family has to involve setting healthy boundaries — and letting them set boundaries with you.
There are no quick tips or simple ways to accept your family for who they are…unless you start by accepting God for who He is. If you build a relationship with God as your Father, your identity will change. If you accept Jesus as your brother and Savior, your view of the world will change. And if you allow the Holy Spirit to guide you into a new season of life, your perspective of your family will change.
And that will change everything.
What do you think? Your big and little comments are welcome below!
With His love,
P.S. Are you struggling to make a decision or find the right path in your life? Read an Easy Way to Stop Overthinking God’s Will for Your Life.