This is a strong blog post title and a strong statement, but it is something I believe in strongly. I don’t apply this to those who are under age. When you are still a child, then you are under your parents control and should do as you are told to do. I have never believed that God holds children accountable for the sins parents place upon them.
I came to accept this belief during a life changing a-ha moment. If I remember correctly, this occurred while I was reading Luke 14: 25-35 when I was a student sometime around my first year in college. For the first time as an adult I sensed the possibility of freedom from destructive generational habits and sins that had strongly affected my ancestors and myself. In reading this passage I had learned the opposite of what I had been taught in church; I was in fact free to not have to give into sinful or unhealthy behaviours influenced by generational familial sin. YES! THANK YOU LORD FOR THIS BLESSING!
The idea of putting God before your family is still a concept and biblical truth that is difficult for some Christians to accept. There are many people who can and will quote scriptures about listening and doing what your parents tell you to do. I always tell people that those scriptures only apply if your parents and family members are guiding you in God’s truth. If your family is helping to lead you away from what God has commanded or steering you away from the individual calling He has placed on your life, there are no excuses: God. Before. Family. Always!
One area that I have firmly chosen not to follow in my family footsteps is health and wellness. I am overweight and despite my 30 pound weight loss in 2015, I am still in the obese category. I have an obese mother who at 5’1 was a size 18 and weighed over 200 pounds when I was in junior high and high school. She weighs less than that now due to diabetes, but she is still medically obese. I remember my mother being in denial about her weight. As a teenager I explained to her that our doctors’ scale was fine, and that our doctor was not lying about what the scale reported.
Growing up I had a very unhealthy diet and it continued into adulthood before serious health problems and surgery forced me to alter my eating habits and food choices. I fell for the misconception that being fat or obese was genetic. If my mother was obese, well, that is why I was obese. A lack of proper information about weight control allowed me to believe I couldn’t help but be obese.
It’s easy for us to convince ourselves that we can’t become healthier because of our family habits, but as I wrote in the opening paragraph, only children are under their parents control. If you are an adult, you no longer have to follow the family tradition of eating unhealthy foods, living in the bondage of eating disorders and disordered eating, or living an inactive lifestyle.
If your spouse doesn’t want to exercise, oh well, exercise on your own. You don’t have to have second and third helpings of fatty foods and dessert just because your grandmother put the food in front of you. We are taught that food is love, but another way to show love is to respect the boundaries of others. If your family loves you they will respect your desire to not eat in excess. Some relatives will be upset with you, they might be insulted that you only wanted a tiny amount of the food they cooked, and yes, they might even gossip about you to others regarding your eating style, but these are possibilities you will have to accept with strength if they do occur.
You might be family, but you are the one living in your skin, living in your body. If your family is not going to care about your health, then it is up to you to love yourself enough to care about your own self.
Self care is healthcare.
QUESTIONS: Does your family have unhealthy habits that you’ve noticed? Are there family or generational habits that you need to cease in YOUR OWN life?
ACTION: Pray over your family, for the Holy Spirit to work through everyone and for an end to any unhealthy habits that have developed in your family. If you are in the midst of developing a healthier lifestyle but lack the support of your family, pray that they will become an encouragement to you. If you have any anger, bitterness, or jealousy towards relatives, ask God to soften your heart enough to extend forgiveness, understanding, and grace towards those who don’t support you and those who refuse to change.