Friday, August 06, 2010

Are you living a good story?

I love the subtitle of Donald Miller’s book, “A Million Miles in a Thousand Years”.

If you’re familiar with Miller and his writing then you may know that his earlier work, “Blue Like Jazz” is being made into a movie. For some time Miller has been co-writing the movie with two other screenwriters. “A Million Miles” is a collection of his reflections on writing a movie about his life, thus the subtitle, “what I learned while editing my life.”

What a fascinating idea, getting to edit your life. As it turns out the movie is going to be “based upon a true story” and therefore much of the writing was creating a more interesting Donald Miller than the real life Miller. This of course stirs many reflections in me.

Do I have an interesting story/life? If not, why not?

Miller learned that there are several things that make for a good story. One thing is a central character (you) who wants something and has to overcome obstacles in order to get it. A second thing is that the character (you) is transformed into a better person because of the experience of overcoming. A third is that the “something wanted” is a selfless pursuit that adds value to others or to this world.

When Miller understood what makes a good story he concluded that he was living a bad story. What’s more, Miller looked around and observed that most people are living a bad story.

We don’t know what we want or, what we want is too petty.

We are not transforming and becoming by life’s obstacles and conflict and in fact, we often spend most of our energy trying to avoid or eliminate the conflict.

We are not living so that our lives are making a difference for others.

While pondering such things one day Miller heard a still, small voice in his heart. Lingering in the thought Miller discerned that it was the Author (God) of his story (life). Miller began to get it that stirrings and promptings from God were not about an oppressive master trying to control his life. Rather, Miller began to see God as the Author who was seeking to write a great story with Miller’s life. The question became, “Would he cooperate with God’s storyline?”

When Miller said yes to God, his life began to want something, began to take risks and face challenges in order to get it, and began to be an adventure. Miller began to live so that life was better for others. His story became a good story with potential to be a great story. Continued cooperation with the Author will determine if a great story is written/lived.

Are you living a good story?


Suzanne said...

Donald Miller’s still, small voice is our heavenly Father who expresses his presence through his creation. I know this because of what I experienced in life after death and then lived to write about it in Mommy’s Writings: Mommy, would you like a sandwich? We each fulfill God’s purposed plan for our lives, whether we recognize what it is or not, as we’re all of God’s creation. So you see God is the Author and its story is already a great story. Its unseen ending is Miller’s choice in continuing to listen to the still, small voice within who began his work in “A Million Miles in a Thousand Years.”

Suzanne McMillen-Fallon, Published Author (year-end 2010), would you like a sandwich?

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Kristen said...

Miller announced recently that they haven't been able to raise the funds necessary for the Blue Like Jazz movie, so they are going to put it on hold for a while.

I thoroughly enjoyed his Million Miles book, and enjoy the "story" parallels you often refer to in your sermons. Its such a heart provoking concept to consider one's story and who really is the author.

I'm a visual person, so I really enjoyed the illustration you shared in your sermon yesterday where God has created a storyboard of my life - and its such an incredible, amazing story! - and I have to decide if I will follow the story he has prepared for me, or if I will follow my own story that I've written for myself.

Kristen said...

I don't know if you've been following the story of the movie Blue Like Jazz, but its been an incredible one!

Just to update on my previous comment, fans of the book have raised over $125,000 to help fund the movie production. The project has been revived, with a much more meaningful story behind it!!

More proof that God writes incredible stories!!!