I'm re-reading Donald Millers book A Million Miles in a Thousand Years for the third time(two times in the past few months).
I am so taken with the idea of telling a good story with our lives. The first time I was introduced to this idea - was by Dan Allendar at his 2004 "To Be Told" seminar in Franklin, TN. I bought his notes & later bought his book as well. I've used STORY as a summer theme for my senior high teaching back in 2008. I love the idea of story.
Every time I explore this idea either through a conference, DVD, or a book - I learn something new that clarifies my action or inaction and helps me to redirect. It's almost frustrating as well as slightly comical. It takes me a couple times to really learn something. Why couldn't I learn what I needed to learn the first time I read it? But here I am repeating patterns and realizing some of them for the first time. Again.
It's been challenging and encouraging to read Miller's words about story, character, conflict, development and think about how the shaping of stories applies to the story of my life.
I know that for a year or so I stopped living out my entire story...in some ways I was just trying to get by. Maybe God allows for times like that in our stories. I hope I didn't miss too much. Either way I know that I'm not the only one who has gone through that kind of darkness.
Right now I'm in the middle of a story that's bigger than me right now. My life has changed quite a bit in the last 6 months. I can even tell you exactly when this story jump started but I have no idea where this story is going. I'm just in it.
Do I need to know where it's going? Do I know where I want it to go??
In chapter 19, Miller asks a question that I've been sitting with most of today:
“I was watching the movie Star Wars recently and wondered what made that movie so good. Of course, there are a thousand reasons. But I also noticed that if I paused the DVD on any frame, I could point toward any major character and say exactly what that person wanted. No character had a vague ambition.
It made me wonder if the reasons our lives seem so muddled is because we keep walking into scenes in which we, along with the people around us, have no clear idea what we want.”
Yikes. Do I know exactly what I want?
For the most part... I would say, yes:
To live a life filled with sabbath
To come alongside others with prayer
To visit all 50 states
To run a marathon each year and raise money for the National Multiple Scerosis Society
To eat good food
To love teenagers and be an advocate for them
To help teenagers see beyond the world that they currently live in
To be a youth minister
To spend lots of time with my beautiful niece, Grace
To empower others to find their place in the body of Christ
Um. I want to be married. And have a child.
[Maybe I should erase that]
Do I live out my life like marriage is something I want? I don't think I do.
I believed early on in my life that it was better or stronger to take care of yourself and to not need anyone else. I've been fighting that lie in many different areas of my story but I still pretend that it is true when it comes to falling in love. It feels shameful.
I like to be the one who travels and explores and eats yummy food and...
Ech. I do want to erase all of this.
I'm afraid that it will never happen and it's easier to pretend you never wanted it.
My God is not the God of fear.
I don't believe that being married is the ultimate goal in life. I don't have to be married to have a complete life. I want someone in my life. Someone who is willing to dance this messy but beautiful dance with me... and God. Who will choose to love me. On the days he takes delight in me and especially on the days he doesn't.
So in my story - how do I live out that desire.
I am attempting to keep my heart open even when it gets hurt. To risk being hurt again and again. I've taken a few risks lately and I have been hurt. I have also been able to see glimpses of glory in some of the situations. And those glimpses make everything else worth it.
“Love anything and your heart will be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact you must give it to no one, not even an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements. Lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket, safe, dark, motionless, airless, it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. To love is to be vulnerable.” - C.S. Lewis