Tyler Hanns

Dealing With Your Past: Part 3

Tyler Hanns
Dealing With Your Past: Part 3

Narrative Scripts

by Bethany Allen  

 

Begin with prayer (5 minutes)

Gather together as a Community in a comfortable setting (around a table, on the couch, the floor of a living room, etc.). Have somebody lead a prayer asking the Holy Spirit to lead and guide your time together.

 

Debrief last week’s practice in small groups (15-20 minutes)

If you are in a Community of seven or more, divide into small groups of 3–4 people each (ideally same gender).

Spend a few minutes catching up on life…

Then talk through the following debrief questions:

  1. Did you listen to the teaching? What did you think?

  2. Were you able to identify a few relational patterns in your family of origin? Was it difficult to do? Why or Why not?

  3. What do you think was helpful about identifying an attachment style?

  4. If you’re able, share one thing from your life and family history that was evil, but that God has used for good. And how?

 

Transition back to one large group (5 minutes)

Ask a few questions about the last week’s Practice:

  1. Any stories from the last week’s Practice with which you would like to encourage the whole group?

  2. Any “aha” moments of breakthrough?

  3. Any highs or lows?

 

Read this overview

As we observed last week, each of us have inherited some kind of framework or pattern from our family for how we exist in relationship.

But that’s not all you inherited.

From our family of origin and from key life events we have developed something called narrative scripts. Narrative scripts are messages from our life that inform our behavior. These scripts are essentially our way of making sense of the world around us. Our narrative scripts are usually rooted in our family of origin and are often linked to messages that were spoken over us, about us, or to us. These scripts can also come from our understanding and interpretation of ourselves through difficult or traumatic life events.

Since narrative scripts are largely rooted in our family of origin, and our family of origin is not perfect, we can rightfully assume that not all of our scripts may be true or accurate. Meaning, it is essential for us to identify and learn the narrative scripts that have and are influencing our lives.

In Week 3 of our Practice, we will focus on identifying our narrative scripts. For many, the most influential messages you received came from your parents. This is where we will start. From there we’ll identify the messages we received from key events in our lives, and then we’ll take time to identify the messages you believe and are living into today.

Optional: Many may have a hard time getting started on this practice. If you’re wondering what one of your scripts may be, you could (bravely) ask a friend, parent, or someone in your community if there is something you repeatedly say about yourself, others, God, or life in general. This is often a good indicator of a narrative script that has or has had influence over your life.

 

Open to the Bible together (10 minutes)

As we continue to press into our past, it is important and helpful to remember the nearness, kindness, and faithfulness of God. Wherever you find yourself on this journey, remember that you lack nothing good in his presence and that he lovingly draws near as you call out to him.

Have somebody read Psalm 34v1-10

Talk about the following questions:

  1. As you read this Psalm, what phrase stands out or is encouraging to you and why?

  2. How are you currently looking to God for protection, provision, or a taste of his goodness?

  3. In this scripture, we see the Psalmist recount God’s faithfulness, what is one way that God has been faithful to you on this journey of dealing with your past. How have you responded to his faithfulness?

 

Talk about the coming week’s Practice as a Community (10–30 minutes)

Here’s the Practice for the coming week:

Note: Many of your narrative scripts will come from specific memories from your past. Therefore, it is very important to allow yourself space and time for memories to come up. We suggest doing this practice in a peaceful, distraction-free environment.

You may also want to have a separate sheet of paper or a notebook available for this exercise.

 

Step 1: Messages I received from my Father or paternal caretaker

  • Pull out your Genogram Workbook from last week. Settle into a comfortable, quiet place, and put away any other distractions. Turn to page 7.

  • Invite the Holy Spirit to lead and guide your mind and heart, and to give you discernment and insight throughout this exercise.

  • Jot down the messages you received about life from your father or a paternal caretaker. (e.g. “Failure is not an option” or “Life isn’t easy or fair, but it is good.”)

  • Jot down the messages you received about yourself from your father or paternal caretaker. (e.g. “You’re lazy” or “You are beautiful just the way you are”)

  • Next, ask the Holy Spirit to show you a memory that might give you insight into the messages your father or paternal caretaker passed on to you about life.

    • What is the message you received based on that memory?

    • Ask the Holy Spirit if there are any other memories he wants to show you.

  • Now ask the Holy Spirit to show you a memory that might give you insight into the messages your father or paternal caretaker passed on to you about yourself – this includes your worth, value, place, competencies, failures, successes, etc.

    • Ask the Holy Spirit if there are any other memories he wants to show you.

 

Step 2: Messages I received from my Mother or maternal caretaker

  • Jot down the messages you received about life from your mother or a maternal caretaker. (e.g. “No one will ever care about you more than you care for yourself” or “Money is the key to a happy life”)

  • List the messages you received about yourself from your Mother or maternal caretaker. (e.g. “Your weight is the barometer for your beauty” or “You are special”)

  • Next, ask the Holy Spirit to show you a memory that might give you insight into the messages your mother or maternal caretaker passed on to you about life.

    • What is the message you received based on that memory?

    • Ask the Holy Spirit if there are any other memories he wants to show you.

  • Now ask the Holy Spirit to show you a memory that might give you insight into the messages your Mother or maternal caretaker passed on to you about yourself – this includes your worth, value, place, competencies, failures, successes, etc.

    • Ask the Holy Spirit if there are any other memories he wants to show you.

 

Step 3: Messages I received from key life events

  • Jot down key life events that have shaped or impacted you. (e.g. divorce, death, loss, abuse, financial stress, etc.)

  • List the messages you received from these key life events (e.g. “You’re all alone” or “Money is security”)

  • Next, ask the Holy Spirit to bring to your mind any other key life events that you may have missed or forgotten. If there are more, be sure to record the messages you received. (e.g. “No one is safe.”)

 

Step 4: Cumulative Messages I Believe (beliefs may or may not be true)

  • Take a few minutes and read through the messages you have listed.

  • Ask the Holy Spirit to show you the messages you believe. Don't be afraid to wait on the Holy Spirit.

  • List the messages you are believing.

  • Now, ask the Holy Spirit to show you whether those messages are true or not true.

    • Some may be easy to identify, but others may not. Don't rush this – take time and allow the Holy Spirit to show you the truth.

  • Next to each of the messages you’ve listed, mark whether they are true or not true.

  • Spend a few minutes praying over the messages you have marked “not true”

    • Ask the Holy Spirit to show you the truth related to that specific message.

    • Take a few more minutes and write down the truth he reveals.

    • Now, ask him to exchange the old, untrue, narrative scripts with the truth he revealed.

  • Close your time by thanking God for his help and truth.

 

Work through these discussion questions (10-15 minutes)

  1. Any thoughts, creative ideas, or feedback on this coming week’s practice?

  2. Is there anyone you need to connect with this week, maybe a sibling or a parent, who could help give you better insight into your narrative scripts?

  3. What are the emotional roadblocks or defenses you might be tempted to put up as you do this exercise?

  4. What is most daunting about discovering and gaining insight into your narrative scripts?



Close in prayer (10 minutes)