pbandj1011

living a story.

In Uncategorized on January 7, 2010 at 9:49 pm

The world of social media has recently revealed to me many of my friends hopes and resolutions for the coming year. I love reading them. I love that I will be around to see how they happen. Phil and I have also done some goal setting. Last weekend we took ourselves to our favorite haunt, Ipanama, and holed ourselves us up in a corner booth for a few hours with our dream journal. Our dream journal is a journal Phil gave me a few years ago where he had written his dreams for our future life together. We are still writing our dreams in it. It is a good way to both look back and see where God has led us and be reminded of where we still need to go. So yes we filled about two pages with our dreams and goals for the coming year.

One of our goals is always to read. I love to read but sometimes I am honestly bad at it. It is easier to get on Facebook or watch the Office online after a long days work. Still though I know that my calling is that of a reader, and when I begin to read my heart finds a satisfaction that is never found in other forms of entertainment. When a book gets me I will devour it. Well since the New Year I have thoroughly devoured two books. The first is a book called Half The Sky: Turning Oppression Into Opportunity For Women Worldwide and it was wonderful, heartbreaking, very informative, and inspiring. The second book brought me back to one of my favorite authors. I came across Donald Miller a few years ago during one of the most transformative chapters of my life. He has been a great friend to me and he doesn’t even know it. I’ll tell him in heaven though so no worries about that. Donald is at it again and has written a book called A Million Miles In A Thousand Years. Phil finished it two nights ago and gave it to me to read. I started yesterday while my kids at the preschool were napping and after work I didn’t put it down until I finished it.

Donald’s book has made me reframe my entire New Year’s dream and goal setting. He has helped me purify it in a way. His book follows him rewriting his life into a screenplay with a couple of other guys. His message centers around the idea of story. He talks about how we are all telling a story with our lives and how God’s desire is for us to have beautiful stories. Not easy stories mind you; beautiful stories. At the same time there is a force in our world that is trying to ruin our stories. For much of the world this force is creating devastating stories of war, hunger, and poverty. I think that for us in America and much of the Western world this force is creating boring stories. We work all the time. We buy as many electronics as possible. We blog about ourselves. We talk online more than we go for walks in the woods or for bike rides in God’s magnificent creation. We raise children and allow them to obsess over obnoxious Disney characters. We spend money on tons of things and throw much of it away before the year ends only to set new resolutions for things to get the following year. Yes, many of us (myself included) are more often leading boring lives. The thing is that these boring lives are just as toxic as the devastating stories of others in our world…they just kill us another way.

If my life is a story than I want it to be a good one. I want the beautiful story that God intends for me. So I am now thinking of this next year in terms of my story. What will I make happen in my story? Will I be obedient to the story God has created for me or will I try to write my own? It is so easy to want to write my story because deep down I want to be the star of the story. I think though that God’s goal for all our stories is for us to realize as Donald puts it that “we are each a tree in a story about a forest”.

Donald writes about a man named Victor Frankl. Victor lost his parents in the Jewish Ghetto during WWII. He lost his wife while they were both in concentration camps. Victor could have given up and lived the story that was easiest for him. He had a perspective though that must have been God-given. In his story he spent his days trying to keep other prisoners from committing suicide. His prevention work was against the law in these camps but it did not stop him. Time and again he would whisper words of hope into the ears of desperate men. Victor wrote the following quote and I think it about sums up all the ideas that are flowing through my heart about the coming year, the coming life.

We had to learn ourselves, furthermore, we had to teach the despairing men that it did not really matter what we expected from life, but rather what life expected from us. We needed to stop asking about the meaning of life, and instead think of ourselves as those who were being questioned by life-daily and hourly. Our answer must exist, not in talk and meditation, but in right action and right conduct. Life ultimately means taking the responsibility to find the right answers to its problems and to fulfill the tasks which it constantly sets before each individual.

If that doesn’t change our stories I don’t know what else will. With God’s grace let’s make beautiful stories this year friends.

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  1. ahh.. I’m gonna have to read that book.

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