Happy New Year!
Like many of you, I spent much of the past few weeks resting and reflecting—both of which I needed more than I realized, and both of which I resolve to do more of in 2016.
As a driven, Type A, task-oriented go-getter, I plan to continue moving slowly and prayerfully the next few weeks to live “at ease” in 2016, both at work and at home. I know this isn’t just counter to my personality—it is also countercultural. However, I want to “not be conformed to the pattern of this world (bigger, faster, busier), but transformed by the renewing of [my] mind” in 2016.
Such reflection comes from what I’m tagging as the best text message I received in 2015. I want to share snippets of this message—from a dear friend and mentor—because I think it applies to each of us:
“Hey man, Congrats on all the success. I think the Lord is gonna use ur skills to a make a mighty difference in this world. That being said, let me share a few personal thoughts. Don’t u ever let ministry become ur master. When u go home. Go home. When u r with your family, be with ur family. I have watched a lot of great men become goofballs because they believed the hype. Listen to me. Do what u can for God and then be done. Love u man.”
There was more.
“I’ve been where u r Josh. And I chose to be more famous to my kids than to the world. That will be a hard decision. So be wise in all u do. I spoke to a group of people Tuesday and all of them had been married over 50 years. 200 of them. It was a good reminder where we r all headed. I want u and Christi to be at that banquet someday.”
With much of the New Year filled with ways to make us increase for the better—to make more money, lose more weight, gain more social capital, build our platforms, etc.—I pray none of us increases at the expense of the ones who matter most.
When John the Baptist saw Jesus walking in his presence, he made the declaration, “He must increase, but I must decrease.” For followers of Christ, the danger for many of us is to get so focused on self-increase that Jesus (and subsequently, our families) subtly decreases at our self-focused expense.
I hope that in 2016, your pursuit of increasing whatever it is you're increasing in your life doesn't mean that Jesus—or your family—decreases. What an ultimately unsuccessful and tragic year that would be.
Instead, let Jesus—not your work or ministry—become your master.
When you go home, go home.
When you are with your family, turn off your phone and be with your family.
Don’t believe the hype.
Don’t become a goofball.
Do what you can, then be done.
Choose to be more famous to your kids than to the world.
I hope to see you at the banquet.
Joshua Straub, Ph.D. is an author, speaker, and president and co-founder of the Connextion Group, a company designed to empower parents and families. Josh speaks and writes on emotionally safe parents and spouses and the influence of technology on today's family. He is the author of the newly released Safe House: How Emotional Safety is the Key to Raising Kids Who Live, Love, and Lead Well (Waterbrook Multnomah) and along with his wife, Christi, is the producer and co-author of the video curriculum The Screen-Balanced Family: Six Secrets to a More Connected Family in the 21st Century. He wakes up each day striving to love others better beginning with his wife, Christi, and their son, Landon, and daughter, Kennedy.
For more encouragement and ideas on marriage and parenting in the 21st century, you can join Josh and a growing tribe of awesome families at www.joshuastraub.com and follow him on Twitter @joshuastraub or Facebook.