What the barber taught me accidentally.
I am not fancy. You might think I am, but I am not. I shop the clearance section of Marshall's, eat 97 cent Totino's pizzas and get my haircut at "Fan Favorites." That's not really the name of the store but in order to share what I am about to share, I needed to switch it up a little.
Things are kind of crazy right now. Some cool stuff is happening on the book end. Some really awesome, smart people are asking me for advice. Some opportunities I have always dreamed about are opening up. But, amidst all of that, is the temptation to get drunk on the idea of doing something "big."
I will undoubtedly share this on stuff christians like someday (and feel like I have written about this idea before), but for you faithful few, here is the idea I am talking about. I often think that in order for my faith to "count," I have to do something "big" for God. I have to change the world. I have to win a whole country to Him. I have to shake the very foundation of the earth with what I am able to accomplish.
The problem is, when you think that way, you start to define your faith and your life and your worth that way. If no one ever reads my blogs again, then I am not a good Christian. If the book does not get published, I have failed God. If I don't ever speak at the Catalyst Conference, then this was all a waste.
But recently, a barber at Fan Favorites changed that for me.
Fan Favorites is one of those sports-themed places where 98 televisions are blaring ESPN and there are sports posters all over the place. The other day I went in and the woman cutting my hair started to tell me about her life. In a matter of minutes, she told me that her husband of 30 years had left her 6 weeks ago. The pain and hurt in her was palpable and although I certainly didn't push, she continued to share. From a voice that sounded gray, if that's possible, she told me about how things fell apart. She told me the sadness. She told me the regret.
When she was done, I told her the best marriage truth I had ever heard:
The one thing men want above all is to know that they are enough. That their masculinity, their power, their value, their strength is enough for their wife.
The one thing women want above all is to know that they are not too much. That they can be as big and as beautiful and as powerful as God made them without overshadowing a man who is too fragile or insecure.
I didn't tell her to fix her marriage or what the Bible says about divorce. I just shared an idea with her, but when I did, it was like a fuse was lit.
"Yes!" she said, "He didn't want me to go back to school. He didn't want me to have my own friends or outside interests." She paused, "Since we've been apart I have started taking care of myself and have lost weight and started to make new friends." She started to get happy and by the time I left, this once shy, pain stricken barber was shouting to me when I was at the door, "You look great. It is a great haircut because I am a great stylist!"
I didn't change her life. She and I didn't figure out divorce or come up with a plan that other people should follow. This post isn't really even about divorce. This is about realizing that for God and for us, it's about people. Not selling books, not selling out speaking gigs, not getting big or successful. It's about loving on people.
That's what I felt like God said in that moment, "See Jon, I'm glad that more people are reading your sites, but that's not what the goal should be. The goal should be loving on people. That conversation with that barber is every bit as world changing as writing a book. Don't ever underestimate the power of a personal conversation."
And that's what the barber helped me learn.