Author's advice: Get off the hamster wheel

Wednesday, January 16, 2019 - Updated: 8:33 am

By William Cone Editor

Mark Joseph has a message for you. It’s about God’s unconditional love and what it can do for your life.

To spread the message, he has written a book, started a website and is sending out blog posts aimed at helping transform lives the way his was changed.

A former business owner and executive, for six years Joseph has been executive director of the Christian Outreach Office at Franciscan University in Steubenville, Ohio. His work consists of directing popular youth and adult conferences all over the United States that promote the university and the Catholic faith.

Joseph is also past president of Catholic Men’s Fellowship of Pittsburgh and a frequent presenter at events for Theology on Tap and the local Substance Addiction Ministry. His big three priorities are faith, family and fitness.

Trying to keep up with what the world says we need to do to succeed, Joseph said that he felt trapped on a hamster wheel, overwhelmed by responsibilities and obligations. It wasn’t until certain things occurred — detailed in his book — that Joseph was able to reflect and get off the wheel.

“What occurred in my life, the conversion I had, and understanding and internalizing God’s unconditional love, was absolutely transformational,” he said. “It changed my entire life, changed my outlook on life, changed how I live, all those things.”

That’s the gist of his book, “Overwhelming Pursuit: Stop Chasing Your Life and Live,” published by Our Sunday Visitor (osv.com; 1-800-348-2440; Huntington, Indiana, 2018. Paperback, 144 pages. $15.95). He uses experiences from his life and others’ stories to illustrate what awaits those who put their entire trust in the Lord.

The book’s first half tries to define how and why people get overwhelmed, and the second half is about how to overcome being overwhelmed, going through the process of conversion, healing and formation.

“It’s just incredibly freeing to live for him and what he wants you to do,” said Joseph, a member of St. Alexis Parish in Wexford.

“My perception is that most people, in not understanding that love (of God), stay on that hamster wheel and can’t get off. And it doesn’t matter what the socioeconomics are. It doesn’t matter the gender, the race, the religion, the station in life.”

Reading the Old Testament, Joseph said, made him realize how frequent God spoke to his followers, like Moses, Abraham and many others. He remembers talking with a couple of friends and remarking to them that “I wish God talked to me.”

Both of them said, “He’s talking to you all the time. You just need to pay attention.”

Joseph said he can look back and see the hand of God preparing him to work at Franciscan University, and now spreading his message with the book, blog posts and speaking engagements.

“I’m just so convicted that the Lord has done all this in my life to prepare me to give that message. To those I’ve shared it with, it’s resonated, and I have just become more and more convicted in the work that I’m doing as part of Mark Joseph Ministries.”

The website, https://markjosephministries.com/, is the platform from which he is sharing his message in a practical, relevant way. To contact him, buy his book and receive his blog posts, go to the website.

Right now, he is focusing on blogging, social media and public speaking. Where it will lead is up to God’s plan, and he and God have never been accused of thinking small.

“In 10 years, in 15 years, it’s my prayer that the message is wildly shared and understood, and that God uses me however he wants to in getting that done.”

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