The place we call home in many cases, is a dysfunctional, destructive, codependent place…a place of coping and hoping and false comforts.
But nonetheless, we call it home. Home is supposed to be a comfortable place, a place that is safe, a place of love, connectedness, acceptance. Unfortunately, home for many of us is a place of much less than this. The lack of openness, genuineness, honesty, and the presence of resentment, anger, codependency, addictions to porn and substances, and so much more dominate what should be one of the safest places in life.
It’s not that it can’t exist… it does. But in my experience, I haven’t found it very often. I remember during a period of working in a church and doing much of the counseling there. I literally had families falling apart; kids on drugs, sexual promiscuity, running away, suicidal… but when they came to church they made sure to make it look like they were the Cleaver family from Leave it to Beaver. Why?
Because somehow, I believe especially in our westernized society, we are pushed into a mold of being “FINE”. It all started in a cartoon that ran from 1913 and ran into the early 40’s. It reflected the class system of this country. “Keeping up With the Joneses”. Always trying to “one up” the neighbor, because if you don’t have the best looking family, house and car, you are deficient, reflecting on you as a deficient human being. So when you actually don’t you must act like you still do, no matter what the dysfunction going on behind the front door.
The “Great American Dream” also became a perpetrator of this pursuit of something that actually can exist, but cannot be born out of a wrong pursuit.
In 1931, historian James Truslow Adams first publicly defined the American Dream. He used the phrase in his book “Epic of America.”Adams’ often-repeated quote is, “The American Dream is that dream of a land in which life should be better and richer and fuller for everyone, with opportunity for each according to ability or achievement.”
Adams went on to say that it is not, “… a dream of motor cars and high wages merely, but a dream of social order in which each man and each woman shall be able to attain to the fullest stature of which they are innately capable, and be recognized by others for what they are, regardless of the fortuitous circumstances of birth or position.” ( As long as they are “succeeding”.)
If you can’t see the set-up of these two paragraphs, read them again. Bottom line if focuses on CLASS and STATUS, ABILITY, and ACHIEVEMENT. It has nothing to do with the emotional, spiritual, family health and intrinsic value given all of us by God. So of course, we are trained to focus on external pursuits, instead of internal spiritual and emotional health. Look good on the outside, and that’s really all that matters. So in more cases than we would like to admit, we have crumbling families, loose morals, addictions out of control, and to make sure we stay that way, make sure nobody knows what is actually happening inside. Even churches, that should be the place where we can be true, open, honest and receive help, are the last place we will go because, surely, all of those people “have it all together.”
The great American dream lie permeates us so deeply, we cannot even see it. God help us to get real, honest and genuine, and leave that dysfunctional “home”, the false comforts we steep ourselves in and become the authentic human beings God created us to be.
Romans 12: 1-2
“…Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you.”