The problem with relevance
Dear Izzy, Max, and Kate,
I used to worry because I didn’t know how to explain to you kids what I did at work. I lacked relevance in my own heart and mind.
It was easy explaining to you what made me happy – being your dad, Mommy, swimming, biking, running, nature, books, those sort of things. But how I spent the bulk of my week days, I couldn’t put into easy to understand terms for you. I guess that’s okay for some people, but it bothered me. If I couldn’t explain my contribution to my kids, I couldn’t understand it myself.
I began to understand that while God was telling me something very directly, the devil wanted me to remain complacent, lacking relevance in my own heart. That’s what he wants, I think.
I wrote to you a year ago about “the problem with authenticity” being that the world doesn’t want you to be real.
The problem with relevance is much worse. The problem with relevance is that the devil doesn’t want you to find it.
Bored irrelevant men are easy targets.
No man with a heart beating in his chest is irrelevant. I get that. But finding a way to stave off boredom and complacency is what I needed.
I spent the summer selling peaches for my friends at The Peach Truck. That was easy to explain:
“I tell people how great peaches are, about a 5th generation farm down in Georgia, and then I sell them the best bag of peaches they’ve ever eaten.”
You kids loved our summer of peaches. You rode with me on deliveries. Helped me bag them up at the Farmer’s Market. You were happy telling your friends that your daddy sold peaches. We ate peaches at breakfast, lunch, and dinner and you knew that other people’s lives would be better in some small way if they ate those same wonderful peaches. My hands were sticky with relevance all summer. I loved the way peach juice stained my hands a deep shade of orange and brown everyday.
Peaches served as a bridge in our life. They helped me come out of my shell and learn to connect face to face with people again.
- Lack of relevance.
- Humbling myself in order to find meaning in my life.
- Ready to serve others.
In my new job I serve people by helping them find jobs. It keeps me extremely busy.
Each day I come home feeling like I’ve made a difference.
Last week I helped a man find a new job, so that he could leave a job that was making him miserable. The new job makes him happier. He told me it made his wife happier too because he is himself again. That matters.
I helped another man, who didn’t have a job, find a great job. He went from unemployed to a 6-figure income. It took me a few weeks to get that job in place, but it finally happened. That will change his family’s life in all likelihood.
The joy I found in such work has changed mine.
Donald Miller said
“If we are not willing to wake up in the morning and die to ourselves, perhaps we should ask ourselves whether or not we are really following Jesus.”
I know all men don’t find a direct way to wake in the morning and die to themselves, but I’m so grateful that God lead me down a path, to a place, and a job, where everyday I’m allowed to put my own life, fears, pride, and worries aside…where I can tangibly help someone who needs me.
I meet with all of my clients in person. I like hearing their stories. Learning their kids names. What makes them come alive.
It’s not about me, after all.
I’ve learned that when I’m able to clear my mind, to focus on helping someone else, my life is better. Relevance in the service of others. This is what you should seek in your lives kids.
I love you,
I’m not training much these days. My knee is injured, so I can’t run.
MON: lifted weights
TUES: swam 1600/ lifted weights
WED: lifted weights
THURS: Swam 2000
Sat: biked 32 miles