While watching a news program, I heard a gentleman state the following:
“The day I became a father, I knew I needed to make my life bigger than myself.”
As a father of four children, this comment had an impact on me.
A few years ago, I attended a men’s church retreat centered on John 3:30:
“He must increase, but I must decrease.”
New parents quickly learn that their needs must take a backseat when the children arrive. When the kids are small, they need so much attention that it’s tough to find time for ourselves.
My wife and I made efforts for date nights, but these plans often fell through. In some cases, we were exhausted and preferred to stay home.
From my perspective, here are ways I can decrease:
- First, I need to stop thinking I’m indispensable. For example, a corporate contract I’ve had for many years is not expected to be renewed. I have taught for this organization for more than a decade, and I now had the feeling of entitlement. “This is my contract! I’m the only person who can teach here! The students love me! Without me, these students will fail their exams!” It’s important I take a decrease attitude and acknowledge that another trainer can step in and teach the courses as well as or better than me.
- My wife’s family in Venezuela need medical and food supplies. The economic and political situation in this South American country is in disarray. Therefore, instead of thinking about the extra luxuries we want to purchase, we can use this money to help family members who are struggling. While we can do without the stuff we would like to buy, her aunts cannot subsist without medication and food.
- When I ask my young students what is most important to them, the knee-jerk response is to generate significant income. In fact, many of them state they want to be millionaires. Not just millionaires … but they want to earn this income by the time they are 30! For many years, I also had this attitude. However, today I have a different perspective. Of course, it is important to have ample money for daily living, vacations, and retirement. However, none of these benefits really matter unless my faith is strong, and I have a family who cares about me.
I also want to increase my awareness. I want to identify what is taking place around me to determine where I can be of most assistance. In most cases, the opportunities to serve are right in front of us, such as with family matters.
However, we must also look externally. We might know a friend who needs a ride to get his Covid vaccine. There might be an opportunity to help a friend with groceries. We might offer support and love to someone who is struggling with a personal relationship.
The fact is that there are so many chances daily to decrease our own desires and help others better their lives.
By doing so, we increase in the most beautiful way.