April 12, 2010

A Million Miles

I was not a fan of Blue Like Jazz.

There, I said it.

After hearing all of the hype and press about Donald Miller's first book, I was really excited to read it. As I turned the last few pages, I thought to myself, "This is a guy's book. Todd would love this. Me? Not so much."

So why then did I pick up Miller's latest book? Because again, I fell for the hype and good press. But it was different this time around. This book makes complete sense to me. So much so, I haven't been able to put it down. I can't really explain it, but God has been speaking very loudly to me through Miller's latest memoir. Something inside of me has changed - a direction in life that I begged myself not to follow because of fear and lack of control is now lined with green lights. For the first time I'm ready to face the unknown. I know I won't be able to control the journey and at times I will feel like a failure, but I'm ready to take the first few steps, even if just to peek at what is ahead.

In A Million Miles In A Thousand Years, Miller explains that each of our lives tell a story. We are all characters in a story that we write and we can either sit idly by in the background, or we can write a story that is worth retelling. Miller includes a few quotes in his book that grabbed me (and shook me hard).

"...humans naturally seek comfort and stability. Without an enticing incident that disrupts that comfort, they will not enter into a story. A call has to be made. A marathon has to be signed up for. A ring has to be purchased. A home has to be sold. The character has to jump into the story, into the discomfort and the fear, otherwise the story will not happen."

I completely get seeking comfort and stability. I typically feel best when I'm in control (or convinced that I have control). Walking into the unknown is scary. Change is hard when it's not the kind of change we're seeking. But life without change is boring. Too much stability shows lack of risk. Lack of risk shows lack of growth. The last thing I want to be is stagnant.

"...every person faces resistance when they try to do something good....resistance, a kind of feeling that comes against you when you point toward a distant horizon, is a sure sign you are supposed to do the thing in the first place. The harder the resistance, the more important the task must be...

"...there is a force in this world that doesn't want us to live good stories. It doesn't want us to face our issues, to face our fear and bring something beautiful into the world. I guess what I'm saying is, I believe God wants us to create beautiful stories and whatever it is that isn't God wants us to create meaningless stories, teaching the people around us that life just isn't worth living."

I know in my own life, when I have decided to follow God's leading, I am met with resistance. The enemy doesn't want me to face my fears. He wants my fears to stifle me. I've lived in that place most of my life, so I know what that's about.

For the past few months the major source of resistance in my life has been me. I put up a brick wall between me and my future that's not so pretty to look at anymore. I'm not quite ready to break through the wall and sprint down the new road in front of me, because I feel that I have a lot to learn first, but I am ready to do a bit of remodeling. I'm replacing the brick wall with a window. I'm grabbing a pen and writing a new rough draft for my story.

Isn't it great that God can use the story of a 30-something author to open my eyes to His plans for my life? I'm so thankful that I'm a child of the Great Storyteller.

What story are you telling?


  1. Wow... I think I need to read this book. Lately I just feel insignificant and unsure. Thanks for the great quotes and the recomendation AND the reminder that above all else, we're ALL children of the Great Storyteller....

  2. I DID love Blue Like Jazz but I can't wait to read this one, too!

  3. Tears. This may be my favorite thing you've written yet, and it makes me [even] proud[er] to call you my dear friend.

    I am inspired by your strength, your willingness to look honestly at yourself and your life, and then to make meaningful changes where necessary.

    My heart is nearly bursting with excitement for the next thing God has in store for you - that vision you'll now be able to see through your once-brick-wall window.

    And when the resistance comes - for it surely will - I'll be there to help you find the courage to dig deep and keep going. I promise.

    I love you & am so proud of you for being bold & determining to write a story worth retelling.

  4. Your blog post was the biggest guilt trip of my life. :)

    Okay let's rewind: it's the biggest guilt trip of this month, and I view this guilt trip as a very positive thing (even though "guilt" has negative connotations).

    Reading Don's book was the biggest much-needed, unintentional guilt trip of my life. It resonated with me so much that I laughed and wept through the entire book.

    Thank you for writing this post. Thank you for reminding me about resistance, and about what Don says about resistance to change. Change is scary. I am terrified. But because of your honesty, I know I'm not alone. :) That's pretty comforting.