It’s easy to feel stuck in patterns of the past. Most of the time we inherit these cycles from society, parents, or even the church. Let’s get past the layers of dysfunction and have an honest talk about emotions, racism, addiction, and religion. It can stop with you —you can be the cycle breaker!
I’m Breaking the Cycle of Emotional Pain
weekend in review
Mike Breaux teaches the benefits of honest self-reflection, the importance of asking God to help us identify and break unhealthy cycles that stifle us, and our need for each other’s support in order to leave a healthy legacy of faith, goodness, and love.
Begin with some conversation, checking in on how people are doing. You can talk about whatever you’d like, but here are potential questions to get the conversation going.
- What’s one funny or quirky thing your family did when you were growing up that you only later realized wasn’t something everyone’s family did?
- Mike likened examining the story of each of our lives to observing the rings in a cross section of a redwood tree. Is engaging in self-reflection something you do much of in your time with God? Why or why not?
- None of us come from perfect families. Even in families steeped in love, one might find things like generational insecurities, unhealthy communication tactics, anger issues, judgmentalism, addictive tendencies and such that get passed along from one generation to the next. Can you identify one that you do not want to carry with you any further? Share it with the group if you feel comfortable doing so.
- Was there sibling rivalry in your family that affected you growing up? How so? How did your parents deal with it?
- Rick Villodas, in his book The Deeply Formed Life wrote it is helpful to keep three categories in mind as we examine our “rings”: patterns (bad habits, practices, ways of thinking), trauma, and scripts (potentially unhealthy things you believe about yourself). What came to your mind as Mike described these?
- What is the script you identified with in your family while you were growing up? How has that shaped you? As God’s beloved child, how do you see yourself now?
- It has been said that hurting people hurt people. How have you seen this to be true?
- Read Psalm 139:1-12, 23-24. Many people refer to this as their favorite psalm. What feelings does it inspire in you? If there are psalms that you are particularly fond of, share them with the group.
- Read Psalm 25:4-5. Mike assured us that as we identify and shed the light of God’s healing grace and love on our blind spots, unhealthy patterns, and hidden junk, we will find ourselves walking in greater freedom, joy, and peace. Share an example of this having happened in your own life.
- Read Ecclesiastes 4:12 and James 5:16. Mike said that there is a deep longing within us to come clean and be known. But we tend to fear being judged, rejected, or embarrassed and end up resisting what our hearts have been craving. He encouraged us to find a trusted friend or friends who know the Lord, who might walk alongside us and help us become a cycle breaker. Who in your life could journey with you? Who would be both honest and encouraging?
- In Psalm 139:23-24, David asked God to know his anxious thoughts, to help him examine his rings, so to speak. Choose a question to explore: What am I mad, sad, or anxious about? What gives me great joy? What triggers me? Are there unhealthy patterns I’m repeating? What trauma, what hurt am I holding onto that I need to let go of? Are there any roles I’m still playing from the script I was handed? I’m asking you, Lord, to show me what’s true about me that maybe I can’t see or haven’t had the courage to deal with.
- Consider more deeply the patterns, trauma, and scripts that have been a part of your story. Invite God to work with you, to heal you, and to change you.
- Patterns: What are the legacies you’ve received from your family? What about religious, ethnic, and cultural influences? These might include the way you think and attitudes you hold; the way you define success and beauty; the way you communicate; how you manage money; your work ethic; love of sports, music, or art. And it may include destructive things like workaholism; conflict avoidance; jealous rivalry; commitment issues; dishonesty and deception; avoiding, repressing or rationalizing away difficult feelings; addictions.
- Trauma: Have there been traumatic moments in your life that have shaped you in some way, leaving scars? This may include abuse, loss, and the emotional pain of things that failed to happen.
- Scripts: What are the messages that were given, the roles that were handed out, the part in the family movie you believed you were supposed to play? What is your script today?
WRAP UP & PRAYER
- Pray for healing and wholeness as we own our hurts and all that we are, exposing everything to God’s grace and love.
- Pray for each of you to find someone(s) you can trust to support you as you grow in the Lord. Someone who follows Jesus, who will be honest enough to point out your blind spots, who will encourage you in your strengths and remind you of your unique gifting and calling and who will love you unconditionally.
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