Hey, before we get to today's program, I want you to know that Dave and I were perfect parents until we had a child. Exactly. And we used to think there were perfect parents, but there are no perfect parents. And that's why we wrote the book, No Perfect Parents. And we're excited because now we have an online video course for you.
And you can go through it as a small group, individually, or even just as a couple. And to get that, you can go to familylife.com. It was like a whole different Josh that was playing in the middle of his workday. And he'd go out to Lowe's and go pick up stuff to, you know, fix this in the house or whatever.
And yet he was more productive in his work time. And I'm looking at him like, I love this Josh because I see the real you. Welcome to Family Life Today, where we want to help you pursue the relationships that matter most. I'm Ann Wilson.
And I'm Dave Wilson. And you can find us at familylifetoday.com or on the Family Life app. This is Family Life Today.
So at year 10, we almost lost our marriage. Oh, great. You're gonna bring that up? And I don't know if I've asked you, but I know the answer. Do you regret that you put so much time and energy into this like call to start a church? Do you have regrets about that, those years?
The right answer would be yes. Well, I don't want to hear. No, I mean, I'm kidding. But of course. I mean, I was chasing hard after it was easy to say God's call and spiritualize it, which it was. But it also was, I loved walking on that stage and seeing lives changed and the spotlight was on me.
I mean, I didn't want to say it or see it then, but it was true. It's pretty awesome to walk up there and they put a mic in front of you, sort of like right now. It's like people actually listen to what we have to say.
It's ridiculous. But there's endorphins, there's things that happen and it becomes addicting. Like, I'd rather walk on that stage than walk in the front door and not know what to do and have a two year old in my arms, which sounds terrible to say, but you don't feel the same thing about that. Which is interesting that you felt like you didn't know what to do with a two year old, but you did know what to do on the stage. I bet a lot of people feel that.
So why are you bringing that up? We have some great guests with us today. Josh and Christy Straub are with us back in the studio. Welcome to Family Life, you guys. Thank you guys. We always love being with you. You're so real. Like, I just truly love you. We make all that stuff up. I love talking deep.
This is great. Because this is stuff you don't really hear people say. They feel it, but they don't say it. And I just, speaking from a younger generation, like we need to hear you say it. So thank you. You just wanted to highlight that you're a lot younger than us. No, I'm saying you set your model for us. Because it sets us free.
In our generation, we have not seen the vulnerability displayed. And it peels back layers like we were talking about before, you know, for a mom to feel not alone, for a dad to not feel alone. When you share your experience, like, and I hear, I'm like, this is repeating in our lives.
And you don't feel crazy. And that, you need people like that around you. So thank you.
Well, we love you guys. And your ministry, Famous at Home, is so God-centered about that is the place to be famous. And, you know, I worked in the NFL for 30 plus years and they're famous people. And every day I'd be like, no, they're not.
They're just men. You know, it's like, why in the world do people put their posters on the wall? We are the ones that need to be famous in our home. So that's the heart of your ministry. And the book that we're going to talk about today is actually called Famous at Home. I love the seven decisions to put your family center stage. And that's what you were asking about.
It's like, what's center stage in your life in a world competing for your time, attention and identity? Yesterday, we talked about where you open the book with, we all are on a chase. We heard Christie's chase, which, you know, we could all relate to. Josh, I didn't know a lot of that story.
I didn't either, Josh. Even though we've been with you before that you wrote about in your book. Your chase has quite a journey to it. Yeah, it really does. And it's wild because you don't realize how far back some of these things go in your story when you're actually in the middle of the chase. And to be quite honest, I don't even know that I would have said I was chasing.
Yeah. You know, and I think that's a lot of times what we have to recognize as well is like, oh, what am I chasing? And I think so I had this pattern of working really, really hard and then burning out, crashing and burning out. And then I work really, really hard and then crash and burn out. And there's a there's a number of different stories that connect to this. But I remember getting to a point where I do like weekly therapy.
Right. So I go to somebody and see somebody on a weekly basis. But I was paralyzed in this one particular season by overwhelming fear and just burn out. And I mean, it was at a point where Christy, she was just like, you're different, like something's not like you need to, you know, irrational fears, all that type of thing. Is that what you mean by burning out? Like, what did that look like?
Yeah. So I mean, when I say crash and burn out, basically what I would get to is I would get to a point where I lost focus. I lost vision.
I lost passion. But what it would do is it would put me right back at work again, because that's just where I found my identity. It's it just felt safe.
Right. When we're not feeling safe, we go to what makes us feel safe and work just felt safe. And never mind, we could get into business, talk about what productivity and busyness like I wasn't necessarily being productive.
I was just maintaining busyness because it felt safe. And so I remember calling my dear friend, Bill Loki. And I said, Bill, I was like, I'm seeing this as a pattern now and it's affecting our marriage.
And I, I really need to go to somebody and see a therapist. And he said, Josh, he said, I would really encourage you to do this six day intensive. Because he said, I think, you know, you shut your phone down, you go away. And I was like, oh, wow. So I hang up the phone. Are we at that point? This is what he said. He said, you'll do nine to 12 months of therapy in six days.
And there's a place called Onsite outside of Nashville. And I said, okay. I was like, well, let me get permission. Let me talk to Christy.
And at that point, Christy was just at a point where she's like, go. How old were your kids? They were probably seven and five.
Okay. Maybe a little bit younger than that. But it was a season where it was needed and it was such a pattern, you know. So I went and I remember sitting in this group therapy session and it went back for me to this place of when my parents divorced. And my parents got a divorce when I was 10. And I remember my mom coming in and it was like six o'clock in the morning, 604 in the morning. I remember it like it was yesterday. I put all the details in the book, but she come in and she said, Josh, I'm moving out today.
Do you want to go with me or stay here with your dad? And I had never seen my parents fight. I'd never seen them argue. I had no clue that this was coming. Like this was a blindsided, you know, hit. And I had done a lot of therapy around that moment and a lot of healing and reconciliation with my mom and all of that through the year. So I thought I'm good, you know, and my dad was always in the stands for me.
I can count on one hand the number of wrestling matches he missed because he couldn't get away from work in time. And he was always in the stands. But in that therapy moment, I had completely forgot about the driveway scene later in the afternoon that day. And what had happened was I watched my dad come home and find out that his wife was leaving him. And I remember us as a family, just all standing there, hugging, crying. And there was this- How old was your sister? My sister was eight. So I was 10. My sister was eight.
She's two years younger than me. And I remember this exchange that happened where I chose to stay with my dad because I watched the pain in his eyes. And I thought, I'm going to do everything I can as a firstborn, fix her in the family. I end up becoming a counselor.
Most counselors go into therapy because we need it. You know, so I was not the exception. And so I saw this pain. I thought, I'm not going to let this happen. I don't want my dad to be hurt.
So I'm going to stay with him. It was kind of like me. There was never a verbal exchange, but it was kind of like me as a 10-year-old going, Dad, I'm going to take care of you. So my dad was always physically in the stands, but in big emotional moments, my dad, he himself, and as I studied our family history, my grandfather didn't know how to be there for my dad in his big emotional moments. So though my dad gave me the best of everything that he could and what was given to him in big emotional moments in my life, my dad didn't give me that. And it wasn't like he, there was an exchange of no son, you're the son, you're 10, I got this. Because later than in life at 19, my dad's second wife leaves and I'm out buying all the furniture and I'm out taking care of my dad again.
Right. And so like there's this, so this sense of responsibility back to the group therapy, I'm sitting in there and my buddy who played little Josh in this scene as all these responsibilities, our therapist, blessed Mary, she's unbelievable. She was putting all these responsibilities that I had in my life as pillows onto his hands and they're stacking up and stacking up and stacking up. And I'm watching all these responsibilities stack up and this little Josh fall under the weight of all of them and I'm just weeping. So then she's like, okay, Josh, now I want you to sit there. And so all of a sudden, all these pillows are on my hand and I put my hands on my knees and my buddy looks at me and he goes, dude, you can't do that.
Like actually hold them up. You have to feel the weight. Yeah, you got to feel the weight of this. And I just lost it because I realized my chase in my life was all about making sure everyone around me was okay. And I was just in all these responsibilities and all these responsibilities.
So when she's saying, you know, in our conversation yesterday where she said, why don't you ever ask me about what's on my heart? For me, I'm doing everything I can. And so when I feel like I'm not taking care of her and I'm dropping a responsibility here and I'm dropping responsibility there, my chase kept leading me back to work. So I would just get busy and I would withdraw from everything because I felt like I was losing control of it all.
And so that was my chase. And so today I have a lot of accountability around me to make sure that I don't fall back into that level of feeling like I have to have control of making sure everyone around me is okay and holding all that responsibility. I mean, Christy, have you watched that change? I mean, he's not crashing and burning like before. Yeah, it's funny. You know, we just got back from a three week trip.
My family's all in Canada and we went up to Canada and that was beautiful. And I watched him for the first time. I could cry.
Just leave work behind. Like took three weeks, y'all. Like that's a long time. And he just was present.
He just let it go. And we came back. And normally that would be like then overdrive, right? Like you've been gone three weeks. Like we got all this stuff to do. It was like a whole different Josh that was playing in the middle of his work day. And he'd go out to Lowe's and go pick up stuff to, you know, fix this in the house or whatever.
And yet he was more productive in his work time. And I'm looking at him like, I was like, I love this, Josh, because I see the real you. Like you're living again. In freedom. In freedom, totally. And I just as a wife, not just like it brings me life, but it makes me so proud of him because I know how hard he's fought to get there.
But also the amount of awareness and talk about just countercultural. Like it's just to fight the tide that tells you that more work is better. Like somehow that's a badge of honor to be exhausted and burnt out and tired all the time and busy all the time. And to watch him walk through this fight to recover a version of him that's fully alive is just it's brought.
And let me say this. It's brought the whole family to life. The kids, me, like you watch that. And we talk about it in the book, the atmosphere of your home and the environment of your home. The transformation of what your home feels like. And that's what we mean when we say the atmosphere. I mean, you know what an atmosphere is when you walk into like a friend's home. Like every home has a smell. But there's an atmosphere, both spiritual, natural. But, you know, it could feel tense or chaotic or peaceful. And you leave feeling a different way than you came.
And it's transformed the atmosphere of our home. And I'm just really proud of you. You guys, we probably all have a chase, do we? Yeah, I think so. Are we all chasing?
Oh, I think so. I think Tim Keller talks about this. He talks about how we're all spiritual addicts. We all have idols in our lives, right? We all have things that give us significance that, you know, give us some sense of affirmation where we're seen.
And when we feel unseen or we feel insecure, we feel unsafe, we turn to those idols. And I think we all have them. And I think we all have things that we turn to, to numb out from the realities of life. And for a lot of us, those things can serve us really, really well for a season. But there comes a point that it doesn't serve you well anymore.
And you have to say goodbye to it in order to live fully alive. I remember when I would teach, I taught an addictions class at university level. And the first assignment that I gave the kids, the students.
It's so funny, the older you get, the more they feel like kids. I gave the students was, I asked them to write down one thing that they turn to when they're hungry, angry, lonely, tired or bored, right? Because that's, you know, what do you turn to? Is it at the time, you know, Facebook was the big thing, right? Facebook or, you know, is it coffee? Is it caffeine? Is it, you know, sugar?
What is it? And they would write that down. And I said, okay, I want you to now fast from that thing for 16 weeks for the entire semester. And I want you to journal when you're triggered, when you relapse, why you relapsed, what you were feeling in the middle of that. Because until you understand what it's like to experience that, you won't really be able to help an addict. Because this is what they have to live with every single day. And so I think for all of us to kind of look at what is that for us?
Is it binging Netflix? Is it, you know, what are we doing to numb out? And for me, I wanted to live fully alive because the research shows that our children will not outgrow our emotional or spiritual maturity while they're under our roof. And so, you know, when they go out and they have coaches and teachers and all that and people who are mentoring them and pastors, then they can grow. But under my roof, I want to raise my ceiling so that I'm raising my children's floor from which we get to launch them out into the world, both emotionally and spiritually. And so if I'm walking around burned out and fearful, my kids are going to pick that up. There's a trickle-down effect generationally for those types of things, as Christy was talking about, the atmosphere. And I was like, I am going to do everything I can to change. To me, that's what being famous at home is about, is changing your generational patterns. As I said earlier, from my grandfather to my father to myself. And to me, there's no greater honor to my dad and to my family lineage than to take what he's given me and to level that up for my kids. That's really good.
Well, you guys, I'm thinking about the listener that's thinking, I don't have the time or money to go to a therapist. I probably, of course, like I'm chasing. I'm in the midst of the chase.
How do I do that? Can I get your book? Just listen to Family Life Today every day.
We'll help you. And famous at home. Yeah, exactly. Famous at home book, yeah. Do you think that they can discover that just reading your book? Yeah.
You do. Oh, I think there are seasons where it's really helpful to have, and we're counselors by trade and education, so obviously I'll always advocate for it. But I believe we have, if you are a Bible-believing Christian and you have the Holy Spirit in you, you have every tool that you need to transform your life. And it's not dependent on you. He will do it, but he will give you the wisdom and the insight to change.
And it is helpful to put people around you, though, that are safe, but I don't think it always has to be a professional. But I do think it requires a level of humility and a willingness to change. And we talk about that, the will set, skill set, because a lot of change, even when it comes to marriage, is we say we're willing, but when you actually get down to it, are we? Yeah, we have a chapter in the book on that. The thing that I would say to that is, you know, we've had people read the book and they'll go through the first five chapters, because we don't get into the seven decisions until part three. And it's really a book that you're going to want to sit down and just take time going through. We've heard so many people who are reading through the first chapters on identity and where's your identity and just reading some of our story. And if you didn't hear it, you know, go listen to the episode.
If this is the first episode, listen to us. Go to the last episode to part one where we talk about our journey, because I think it's important that what we're hearing from people reading the book is they're reading parts of our journey. And it's sparking something in there in the reader of going, oh, this is how we feel this and this is how we experience this.
And then they're taking moments to talk about it with one another. And that's what I would encourage you to do, because you've got to go to that emotional level in order to really start to, you know, thinking, feeling and relating at the same time. That's where true change happens. So if you're just thinking and you're just on a cognitive level, that's why you sit in a lecture. If there's no feeling, there's no laughter, there's nothing built in that's experiential, you're probably only going to take a very small percentage away because you're just thinking. But when you're thinking, feeling and relating at the same time, when you take the content, you sit down, even listening to this episode, sit down with your spouse, talk about it. That's where the true change really begins to happen. And the way that we talk about that is talking about emotion. We talked about that in the last episode. But I really think, you know, for each of us to be able to look at, and this was decision number one in the book, is to… Change your mindset.
Yeah. You know, you're laying in bed at night worried about something in your marriage, in your parenting, how you parent your kids. You know, what is it that is you're laying in bed at night and you're falling asleep that you're most concerned about? Is it a child? Is it your marriage? What is it? Where's that biggest pain point for you?
Or is it something with just for yourself? Like something you're struggling with in yourself? And so what we do in that mindset change is to go, hey, listen, just make one decision. What is one decision that will help you show up as the best version of you for your spouse, for your kids or for yourself? And it just is one decision.
We're not asking you to make this big drastic change, like just a two degree shift can shift everything. And so for me, that was, especially in the season when we had babies, when I'm waking up with the baby, and I'm waking up as everyone else is waking up, I'm a completely different human in the morning. Whereas if I get up early, and so my first decision was I'm going to wake up at five thirty in the morning, I'm going to get my workout in, I'm going to spend time with the Lord, and then once… That sounded like a lot of decisions. Well, my one decision was waking up at five thirty. My one decision was waking up at five thirty, and I knew what I needed to do in that time alone. I needed to take care of me. And when I started doing that, I don't show up now feeling like I'm already behind in my day, feeling like, Christi, you take the baby, I've got to get dressed, I've got to go to work, I've got to do X, Y, and Z. I already feel like I've worked out, I've taken care of me. Now, when Christi comes downstairs and the kids come downstairs, I can be like, good morning, everybody.
How was your sleep last night? And sometimes you do. Sometimes you are. You know, it's a different atmosphere because people feel loved and they feel seen, as opposed to me feeling like I haven't felt loved, I haven't felt seen, now I'm showing up differently, and it changed everything. Let's talk about entering our children's worlds. I thought the story with that, that you shared about the woman who had a child in the hospital, she had a five-year-old that she was dropping off to kindergarten.
Will you share that? Yeah, so that was, you know, it's fascinating to me how we get so busy that we tend to look at our children's emotions and their behaviors, or we see their emotions as, or their anger maybe as disobedience, we see their behavior automatically as like, oh, you're being disrespectful, you're being disobedient, and we just punish the behavior, as opposed to going underneath and what's going on in behind our child. And this woman had come to me and she said, you know, my child is, you know, I'm dropping him off at kindergarten, and he's like reverted back to this separation anxiety thing where he's physically hurting the teachers because he's kicking and protesting me dropping him off.
And she's like, I don't know what to do about it. And so I asked her about the other kids. One of the biggest things I ask is like, when did it start and what went on, what was going on in that season of your life?
Like, was there any major changes, you know, especially to his life or that type of thing? And one of the things she said was, well, she said, I have an older child, he's the middle child, and then I just had a baby and my oldest was in the hospital. And so I was spending a lot of time at the hospital and I was nursing the baby. And so the middle child just was, you know, I was trying to get time with him and that type of thing. And so I was like, okay, so Stanley Greenspan, who is a big researcher, has this thing called floor time, where you spend 20 minutes of command-free time a day with your child. In other words, you enter into your child's world, you don't do what you want to do, you do what the child wants to do, and you don't dictate the play. You, you know, you enter the child's world and play what they want to play. And I think this can go, you know, from infants to toddlers to teenagers. And even your adult children, like, hey, what do you want to go do?
Let's go, I want to enter into your world, show me what you're learning. And so I just said to her, I said, is there any way you could get 20 minutes a day with just him before you got to the hospital, you know, before the baby was up or whatever? And she said, well, she said, you know, he is up before everybody else. So she's like, it'd be a good time to do that. So she started spending 20 minutes of command-free time with him right away in the morning, one-on-one attention, because we have multiple kids, you think about how little your kids actually get one-on-one time with just a parent.
And she said within a week, he wasn't kicking and screaming anymore. And I'm not saying that's like the magic cure-all to everything your children are dealing with, but we're already famous at home. We are the most, the most famous people in the world to our kids are us, and they just desire our time and attention. And when we can just take 15 to 20 minutes a day, enter into their world, do what they want to do, learn from them, it just changes things. I've seen that as a parent. I remember one of our, I think it was our youngest son, you know, and our life is busy.
We're going all over the place. And he was just acting out. And, you know, I was like thinking, am I not disciplining well?
Am I not? But sometimes we don't go to, am I giving him enough of my time and attention? Like looking him in the eyes. And I remember thinking that same thing, Josh, I'm just going to go. And I said to him, let's, what do you want to do for 15? It was, for me, it was just 15 minutes.
This is before dinner was just this chaotic time. And so we started playing basketball. And he, you know, and for 15 minutes, that was this. We just, we talk and then play and we, that's it.
He was, it was unbelievable. Like, that's it? He just needed me to see him, to know him. And that was 15 minutes, you remember?
Yes. And I think what's been profound for me is seeing how much that time I'm doing it for them, or, you know, I think I'm doing it for them. And then, you know, we have this thing at the end of the day where it's just like, what's your favorite part of the day? And I remember my son asking me one time, what was your favorite part of the day? And I realized it was the time I'd spent with him. Like, it was the time like one on one.
And I think part of it is I felt like a kid again, because I wasn't trying. You think of as a parent, how much transactional communication we have with our kids. Like, okay, sit down at dinner and then it gets all directive.
Like, we're being like camp, I always call it camp counselor because you feel like you're just like, you know, being a camp counselor and getting everyone organized. But you're always telling them what to do. But in order to, you know, get into their world, like, you don't get to be in charge of that.
That's their world. And it actually feels really good as a parent to not have to be in charge for a minute and to just let them take over. And you play things that like creativity, like to go into like imaginary play and stuff. I'm like, oh, this is so painful. But there's something in you that comes alive. Like, you just have to kind of lean into it because there is something about it that it makes me want to like claw my eyes out for a little bit.
I don't know. Like, I just want to be like, let's build something or do something constructive. But I think they trigger something in us that is still in there and it makes you come alive.
But it is the thing that I will remember at the end of the day, like that was that was worth it. I think with our teenagers, that was true, too. Like, we would be butting heads.
We may be getting into some arguments, but I would take them like once a week. We just do something that they wanted. And I remember in that time, we'd also have something to eat. But it was the time that I wanted to speak life into them. Like, I see that you're struggling, but I see this is who you are. I'm amazed at your gifts.
Like, I can't wait to see how you impact the world and friends and you're amazing. And it was amazing. It was a balm to the relationship and it brought us together in a way that was pretty remarkable. Yeah, we even had when they were little boys. So about the ages of your kids right now. Once a month, I did a boy's day out where it really it started as I'm going to give Anne a break for the whole day.
I mean, she could do whatever, but I'm going to have until four or five o'clock. And every time it was what do you guys want to do? And so they directed the day. Most of the time it was let's go to an arcade and play and get A&W hot dogs and root beer floats.
I mean, it became a thing. And it was a special time. And all I would add as we end this one is we're old enough to be able to look back. I mean, we're probably 20 some years older than you guys. So we represent some of our listeners, you represent others. And all I can say is this.
What you're teaching and what you're talking about is all that matters. We can say this from looking back. I'm getting teary thinking about it. I'm getting teary hearing you say it. Older parents would tell us you're going to blink and they're going to be gone. And in that moment, we're like, whatever.
There's times where you're like, cool, that'd be great. You just didn't really believe them because you're up at night and it's just chaos almost every second. And now I look and go, they're right, you blink. And they're off to college or off to their, and we have grandkids now. And being famous at home, we can just say from wisdom, that's all that matters. You walk with God, you're family.
And I chase things that really didn't matter. And as a pastor of a church, it wasn't that important compared to this. Those are your greatest disciples. Nobody else is more important than those two or three or five.
You've got three, we had three. So I just want to remind parents, do whatever it takes to put your family center stage. And this book will help you do it. These seven decisions will put your family at center stage. And you'll be glad 20 years, 30 years, you'll look back and go, I'm glad I made that decision then because I'm reaping the dividends now. So thanks. Thank you for saying that.
It means a lot to us, yeah. Our guests today have been Josh and Christy Straub. They've written a book called Famous at Home. Seven Decisions to Put Your Family Center Stage in a World Competing for Your Time, Attention, and Identity.
This is such important stuff. And we'd love to send you a copy as our thanks when you go to familylifetoday.com and give to help more families learn about God's plan for family and marriage, including a mom with young kids who wrote in. Here's Dave and Ann. I think one of my favorite things about family life today is when we get... Is me? Yes, but when we get letters or comments from listeners, this one mom wrote, I was so thrilled to find family life today. I'm a mom with elementary age kids and these episodes give me so much encouragement, as well as practical, biblical advice for my life, marriage, and kids.
Thank you. Feels good to get those, doesn't it? Oh, it's awesome. It makes your day. And I want to say thank you to our family life partners. These are people that financially support this ministry. We can't do it without them.
And comments like that come in every single day and you should feel thankful yourself. Say, I am a part of that. I'm thinking maybe you've listened for a while, but you've never been a partner or given. I want to personally invite you, join our team. Be a part of changing lives and hearts and marriages. We need you. And we also thank those of you who have already given. Like, way to go and thanks for being with us.
Yeah, thank you so much. And you can help continue to make all of this possible by going to familylifetoday.com to make a secure donation to this ministry. And while you're at familylifetoday.com, as a listener, we are incredibly thankful for you and we want to make you aware of this upcoming opportunity to walk alongside our mission and participate because it is the holiday season. You can participate in the Christmas gift guide. Now through November 28th, you can get up to 60% off on 12 different resources that we have available for you. Things like Weekend to Remember gift cards, the No Perfect Parents small group course, and even a book that I wrote called Pressure Points, a guide to navigating student stress.
You can head to familylifetoday.com to find the entire Family Life Christmas gift guide. And tomorrow on Family Life Today, Dave and Ann Wilson share a story about Ann having a cancer scare and the power of a spouse being there through it all. That's tomorrow. On behalf of Dave and Ann Wilson, I'm Shelby Abbott. We'll see you back next time for another edition of Family Life Today. Family Life Today is a production of Family Life, a crew ministry, helping you pursue the relationships that matter most.
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