I just got back from vacation. It was amazing. You should have seen it, you would have been quite jealous. Beach house. Coffee shops. Bonfires. Parks with the family. Amazing meals. I even got a date with my wife. I have very little photographic evidence of it, and if you and I were friends on social media sites you would have no reason to believe that my life was any different than the other 51 weeks of the year. Why in the world would I not post this memorable week to share with some of my most distant friends? I wanted this one to be for my family and those I talk to.
If your life is anything like mine, then the world of what is ministry and what is not becomes very grey. And beyond that, I can’t say I really want there to be lines. God has redeemed all of me, and I don’t want to live public and private lives. However, as calls come in whenever, emails are answered always, and my family is my best sermon illustration I often feel that those who follow me on instagram know as much if not more about me than my own family.
So I made a decision that I would go radio silent for the week. I did pretty good at it too! I liked a few photos. Made a few snarky comments. Responded to a few emails from those people that either wouldn’t leave me alone or had the power to fire me. For the most part, I disappeared.
Now don’t get me wrong. I post like a bad Mama Jamma. If I have something Facebook-worthy it goes up. Kids sleeping on the floor, it is there. Awesome youth group night; I’m your man. And frankly there are many vacations where I want to show others my version of a family enjoying themselves. So I do live loudly when I can on social media sites. To that end, my wife continued to post this past week, in fact she became louder on vacation. That doesn’t mean I am a better Christian (for the most part). It was a personal decision and a gift that I wanted to give to my family. They may not have even noticed. That is fine with me. I just wanted to be present. To enjoy all of them and capture the event, not the event so it could be communicated to others.
I think you should do the same. Not always, and for me this is the exception and not the rule. For some it may be that you take a break on dates, on Mondays, or when the sun goes down. I don’t think there is one version that is better than another, however I would strongly encourage you to find those moments in your life that are only for those you call family and for those who are dear friends. Not to be selfish or exclusive. Rather to silently say to those around you that they are your “circle”. They are your “friends”. They are true “followers” of you and your life. Without saying no to others, it slowly communicates that you are more than a public figure to your church body and the students you minister to. You are a dad, a wife, or friend. All of which you need to do well if you hope to be called a youth worker in five years.
To finish this post it would be fitting to show you a vacation picture, but I didn’t really take any. I promise to show you my next youth event, latte art, or when my kid puts their clothes on backwards.
Jeff Bachman is a husband for the past 11 years and a father of three amazing kids. He is the High School Pastor at ROCKHARBOR Church just up the road in Costa Mesa, CA. He loves emails at firstname.lastname@example.org, twitter interaction, and of course subscribe to his blog The Until Matters.