Introduction to the Course

Reflection & Engagement

“The purposes of a person’s heart are like deep waters, and a person of wisdom knows how to draw them out.” -Proverbs 20:5

All conversations are about the human heart, but we rarely engage conversations with such awareness. The heart holds our stories and is where the matters of God reveal themselves, but the heart is also hidden, complex, and fiercely defended. We’ve said this many times and in various contexts: You can’t take anyone further than you have gone yourself. If you will step into your own story and the heartache that is there, you will have a path to enter into the wonder and complexity of other people’s stories.

Throughout this course, we’ll be engaging the matters of the heart as they relate to our family of origin, one of the most protected places of the human heart. As we begin, we invite you to address two core assumptions:

1. Eventually, every story intersects with our core stories from our family of origin. No matter how wonderful or heartbreaking our family was, our family of origin was our earliest learning classroom and influences every dimension of our life for good and ill. Our family of origin plays a significant role in shaping our style of relating to ourselves, others, and God.

2. Addressing our family of origin and the core stories that shaped us is a tender act and difficult to face without defensiveness. But we must find the courage and compassion to do so, for we will never invite others to go further than we have engaged in our story.


Before we move on, take a moment and reflect as honestly as possible on the following questions:

1. How would you describe your family of origin?

2. What are your normal defensive patterns to escape looking at the heartache in your family? Try and think of a specific time someone addressed failure in your family and how you defended, explained, or dissociated your way out of engaging the truth.

3. We are meant to both honor and be honest about our parents and our family of origin. Do you tend to be more honoring than honest or more honest than honoring? What is the risk to grow in the one that is your weakest (honesty or honor)?

4. What is some of the work you need to do before engaging the family of origin of others?