Tuesday, 13 July 2010

Living a better story

One of my favourite authors is Donald Miller. The first book of his that I read was ‘Blue Like Jazz’. It’s a fantastic bunch of stories from Miller’s life and his reflections on faith, friendship, the meaning of life – ‘non-religious thoughts on Christian spirituality’, as the book’s sub-title says.

Miller also has a blog (at http://donmilleris.com/), which I would thoroughly recommend you read. Now. Before you finish reading this – Miller has much more interesting things to say than me, and he actually updates his blog regularly! Anyhow, a few months back he blogged about how our lives can be thought of as a story. It followed from a major theme in his book from last year, ‘A Million Miles in a Thousand Years’, in which he wrote of how his life had become boring and predictable. So he decided to look for his dad, who he hadn’t seen for over thirty years. He also, pretty much on the spur of the moment, accepted a friend’s invitation to hike the Inca Trail in Peru. Obviously enough, these two decisions led to major changes in Don’s life but the changes went way beyond those immediate areas. They opened up a load of new opportunities and massively changed Don’s outlook on life.

So I’ve been thinking about my life, my story. I’ve been on an amazing journey over the last year with changing jobs and starting a theology course, and I’m wondering now about where these new things might lead me. The course finishes this time next year, so what then? I’ve got plenty of ideas but the question is which one to go for? Maybe it doesn’t really matter though. It’s tempting as a Christian to think that God has one plan for our lives, one correct option every time we have a choice to make. But I’m not sure that’s right. A lot of the time, I think God cares more about why we make a certain choice; why we get involved in this project or that one, apply for this job or that job, live here or there, date this person or that person. I think it's more about what story I should be living. If I am clearer about my story, who I am meant to be, then I can make my choices in the light of that. And hopefully I’ll grow into my role, my part in the great story of life.


  1. Can you plan what story you should be living? Maybe it's more about joining the dots retrospectively and seeing how you came to be where you are - which can itself be a great story. But you are right - your story will be much more entertaining if you take chances, open your mind and follow your intuition.

  2. Hmm, joining the dots retrospectively - I like that! I'm sure there's a danger of planning your life too rigidly, especially for introspective people like me. But I think we should live deliberately, not just letting life happen to us and then looking back to see how we got to where we are.