Thrive in Dysfunction

Every family is different, yet all families have something in common. If we’re honest about it, we all can think of at least one person in our family that just won’t do right. It’s easy to feel like you will end up like them because you’re related. However, no matter how unstable our family may be, we can learn how to thrive in dysfunction. 

Family dysfunction is something we tend to want to keep a secret.


Perhaps you have a father that’s an alcoholic or a mother who suffers from bipolar disorder. It could also be that you have a brother on drugs, a sister who shoplifts, or an uncle in prison. In addition to that maybe your aunt has a gambling addiction or your cousin constantly lies. Unfortunately, there could be several issues going on in one family but you still have a choice in the matter. Dysfunction does not discriminate on race, gender or economic status. It is something that everyone has somewhere in their family whether they admit it or even know about it.

Take the life of Joseph for example.


If you don’t know about Joseph in the Bible, you may want to take some time and read about his family ancestry in the book of Genesis. In short, he is a great example of someone who was able to thrive in a dysfunctional family. There were issues going back to his great grandfather. Like Joseph, if you look back, can you find some dysfunction throughout your family’s history. You may not even need to look back too far to find it.

So how can we thrive in dysfunction?


1. Be Trustworthy



While Joseph was working as a slave, Potiphar, one of Pharoah officials entrusted him with his entire household and everything he owned. Though he was in an unfavorable situation, by Joseph doing what was required of him, he ended up finding favor with the one he was enslaved to.

Can you say that you are trustworthy in your family? Is your family able to trust you around their possessions? Are you able to handle when they get blessed and be trusted not to gossip about their life?

2. Be Faithful


When Pharoah’s wife tried to convince Joseph to sleep with her, he remained faithful to God and to Pharoh. Once he realized he was in a compromising situation, he fled from the scene immediately because his faithfulness meant more to him than his pleasure.

So how faithful are you? Are you willing to look crazy if that means you are honoring your responsibility to God and your family? Regardless of the issues that may be going on in your family right now, take the stand to remain faithful to being who you are called to be in your household.

3. Be Useful


After being put in prison, Joseph continued to use his God-given gift of interpreting dreams. Being in prison would make most of us feel useless and send us into a depression. However, Joseph did not allow his freedom being taken away to keep him from using the tools God gave him.

What are you doing with the talents and gifts God gave you? Even if you feel you are in a prison in your marriage or on your job, in what ways can you utilize your gifts? Honor God by using them whether or not anyone is appreciative of it.

4. Be Resourceful


Once Joseph was released from prison he came up with a plan to save an entire nation from famine. He thought of a resourceful way to collect and store during the good years so that it could carry them through the bad years.


If your family is struggling with financially, this is the time to be resourceful. Buy what you need, utilize what you have, and prepare for what’s to come. Ask God to help you plan for the future.

5. Be Forgiving


forgive othersDespite his brothers wanting to kill and sell him into slavery, Joseph not only forgave them but he helped them in their time of need. He had the attitude of knowing that what was meant to harm only made him better.  

We must let go of bitterness and unforgiveness. I know that can be easier said than done, but when you make a conscious effort and understand that you can’t do it alone, it makes all the difference. Ask God to help you release any ill will and resentment you have against someone in your family.

It all starts with a decision.


Joseph is definitely proof that you can thrive in dysfunction. Regardless of what his family did in the past and despite being in a pit, Joseph found favor every step of the way. So no matter how your family chooses to live their life, you can make the choice to be better. If that means you end up being the “black sheep”, then so be it. Just because something may be normal to others doesn’t mean that it’s the path you have to take as well.



Once you know better, you have an obligation to do better. We don’t have to follow the same path as our family when we see that the road they’ve taken leads to sin. Though some family members that operate in chaos may feel a certain way because you’re going against the grain, don’t allow their insecurity to bring you down or prevent you from shining. You can break that generational curse today.

Place your focus on doing the will of God for your life even when it’s not popular among your family. No matter how bad you may want others to come, not everyone will want to go. Be ok with that. Don’t guilt yourself for it or sabotage your progress. Just like Joseph, even you can thrive in dysfunction.

In Relentless Pursuit,

Brandi Michelle

You may wonder why a son isn’t punished for the sins of his father. It is because the son does what is right and obeys my laws. Only those who sin will be put to death. Children won’t suffer for the sins of their parents, and parents won’t suffer for the sins of their children. Good people will be rewarded for what they do, and evil people will be punished for what they do.” – Ezekiel 18:19-20 CEV

One Comment

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    I love this. I agree we all have some level of dysfunction in our families. There are set patterns one is expected to follow. When you decide not to follow those patterns any longer, people get upset and even curse you out, sadly. They try to rein you in through control. Thank you for sharing this.


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