Monday, June 27, 2011

Confession 191: To Live a Better Story

My husband is doing a book club series for the summer, and this week's selection is Donald Miller's A Million Miles in a Thousand Years. In this book, author Donald Miller explores the idea that the qualities which make a good story are the same qualities that come together to make a good life.

Life is lived in story, and as Christians, we are called to live a better story.  Donald Miller states that, "A story is based on what people think is important, so when we live a story, we are telling people around us what we think is important."

Which begs the question....

When you look at your life, what do you see?  Would it make an interesting story?  Would it make a good story?  Is it a story you would want to tell?  Is it a story you would want others to tell?

One of the things that Miller comes back to over and over in his book is that story is about character transformation, and if our lives are a story, then the point of our lives is the journey we take to transformation.  And, we reach that transformation through a series of "inciting" incidents.  "The inciting incident is how you get (characters) to do something. It's the doorway through which they can't return, you know. The story takes care of the rest."

God uses "inciting" incidents in our lives to prompt us to make the changes we need to make in order to live a better story.  These incidents could include the loss of a relationship, loss of a job, gaining of a job, birth of a child, unexpected illness or injury, or, in Miller's case, the opportunity to turn his life into a screenplay.

God used an inciting incident in Paul's life as he walked the road to Damascus.  Confident in his role as persecutor of Christians, Paul (then Saul) was brought to his knees by Christ himself and chose, in that moment, to be transformed and to live a better story.

Life is more than schedules, and work, and the day to day grind.  Life is about living a better story.  It is about allowing ourselves to be transformed by our Creator so that we may go out into the world and make a difference, regardless of the circumstances we find ourselves in.  Look at Job, Miller states.  "Job found contentment and even joy, outside the context of comfort, health or stability. He understood the story was not about him, and he cared more about the story then he did about himself."

It is not an accident then that Jesus spent most of his time teaching through story.  Mark 4:33 states that...

With many stories like these, he presented his message to them, fitting the stories to their experience and maturity. He was never without a story when he spoke. When he was alone with his disciples, he went over everything, sorting out the tangles, untying the knots.
Our life is about living a story.  And, as did the disciples long ago, when we go to the Lord in prayer, he will go over everything in our stories, sorting out the tangles and untying the knots.

So I have to ask: Are you living a better story?

Blessings and Peace,

Linking up with Michelle @ Graceful 


  1. I don't know that I am living a "better" story, but I am trying to live it at least instead of sitting back and watching it or waiting for it to happen. This book sounds like something I would like to read. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Oooh that book is on my to read list. I love the idea of living a better story, sometime too, I think the story is there…I'm just not necessarily seeing it because I am so distracted by so much other stuff.

  3. It is my turn to pick for book club next month, and I've been dying to read this. . .

    Ugh, this post made me want to buy it now!

  4. I do like the story of my life, and am so grateful to God for that. Great book review.


  5. Jenn, you are so right about being distracted by all the other stuff and not seeing the story. I always picture myself going around surrounded by this "me" bubble that I need to just pop!

  6. I liked that book a lot -- Donald Miller is a rock-star writer!

    As for the've got me thinking. When I look back at my life, some of the most tumultuous experiences were the ones that in the end moved me closer to God. Sometimes I wish I were better able to see the miracles when they are happening at the time...but I'm grateful to look back and see that He had been there all along.


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