I just finished a book called "A Million Miles in a Thousand Years" by Donald Miller. I can't stop thinking about it. So much of it is how I feel about life and challenges me to feel and do more with my own story. The book is about so many different things...
It's about writing a better story. We are in charge of our lives. We are the stars of our own story. We can sit around wasting away our days on our smart phones, not doing much, or we can choose something else...
"Here's the truth about telling stories with your life. It's going to sound like a great idea, and you are going to get excited about it, and then when it comes time to do the work, you're not going to want to do it. It's like that with writing books, and it's like that with life. People love to have lived a great story, but few people like the work it takes to make it happen. But joy costs pain." (pg 100)
"And once you live a good story, you get a taste for a kind of meaning in life, and you can't go back to being normal; you can't go back to meaningless scenes stitched together by the forgettable thread of wasted time." (pg 155)
"If you aren't telling a good story no one thinks you died too soon; they just think you died. " (pg38)
"The ambitions we have will become the stories we live. If you want to know what a person's story is about, just ask them what they want. IF we don't want anything, we are living boring stories. "
It's about facing fear and overcoming fear and using fear to propel us forward. Action cures Fear.
"The most often repeated commandment in the Bible is"Do not Fear." It's in there over two hundred times. That means a couple of things, if you think about it. It means we are going to be afraid, and it means we shouldn't let fear boss us around. ....But fear isn't only a guide to keep us safe; it's also a manipulative emotion that can trick us into living a boring life." (pg 108)
It's about change and embracing it. We are designed not just to live, but to live through something and to change. That's what makes a life interesting, and that's what makes a life better. The point of our life is character transformation. When someone says oh, you haven't changed...that's not really a compliment... we all change physically of course, but spiritually, socially and emotionally as well.
"The human body essentially recreates itself every six months. Nearly every cell of hair and skin and bone dies and another is directed to its former place. You are not who you were in February," (pg 70)
"The whole point of the story is the character arc. You didn't think joy could change a person, did you? Joy is what you feel when the conflict is over. But it's the conflict that changes a person." (pg180)
"I remembered about story, about how every conflict, no matter how hard, comes back to bless the protagonist if he will face his fate with courage. There is not a conflict man can endure that will not produce a blessing. " (pg188)
It's about overcoming obstacles
"It made me think about the hard lives so many people have had, the sacrifices they've endured, and how those people will see heaven differently from those of us who have had easier lives." (pg143)
It's about hope.
"What I love about the true gospel of Jesus, though, is that it offers hope. Apostle Paul has hope our souls will be made complete. It will happen in heaven, where there will be a wedding and a feast. I wonder if that's why so many happy stories end in weddings and feasts. Paul says Jesus is the hope that will not disappoint. I find that comforting." (pg 204)
It's about loving others just where they are.
"She said she had married a guy, and he was just a guy. He wasn't going to make all her problems go away, becaue he was just a guy. And that freed her to really love him as a guy, not as an ultimate problem solver. And because her husband believed she was just a girl, he was free to really love her too. Neither needed the other to make everything okay. They were simply content to have good company through life's conflicts. " (pg 205)
"A good storyteller doesn't just tell a better story, though. He invites other pepole into the story with him, giving them a better story too." (pg 236)
It's about remembering life's moments.
"I like those scenes in the Bible were God stops people and asks them to build an altar. You'd think he was making them do that for himself, but I don't think God really gets much from looking at a pile of rocks. Instead, I think God wanted his people to build altars for their sake, something that would help them remember, something they could look back on and remember the time when they were rescued, or they were given grace. " (pg 214)
At the end of my life, no one is going to say..."Melinda was great she sat around and watched tv all day." That's not the story I want. I want to have strong, loving relationships in my story; including a relationship with my Heavenly Father and I want to create memories with my family...have some *whimsy...and create, travel and perform... that's the story I want, and I know this will take work but it will be so worth it.
*"I asked him what he meant by whimsy, and he struggled to define it. He said it's that nagging idea that life could be magical; it could be special if we were only willing to take a few risks." (pg 167)