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A Million Miles In A Thousand Years

My cousin Greg gave me a book over Christmas entitled A Million Miles In A Thousand Years by Donald Miller. I finally got around to start reading it, and in it, I am finding some very classic Donald Miller gems. It's wonderful when you read an author that is able to say what is on your mind so perfectly. The book chronicles Donald's experience of creating his memoir Blue Like Jazz into a movie, and in essence, the process of editing his own personal story.

A few summers ago I shared my story at my church. It was one of the most difficult experiences of my life. The previous summer I had received an email from the worship director asking me if I would like to share my story. During the summer people in the church share what we call, a "God Story" - a story about ones own personal life of faith. I sat there looking at the screen terrified. To be honest, I pretended like I never received the email, I don't even think I replied. My story of faith is full of embarrassment, of doubt, of confusion and of fear. That last thing I wanted to do was to open up. And so I ignored the request, until I received it again the next summer.

It was then that I realized that God was trying to tell me: "Hey, this is my story, and you are living it. What are you afraid of?"

I experienced a great deal of healing after sharing my story with my church family. Up until then, I had been experiencing some real psychological trauma of some of the most disturbing aspect of the human psyche. It is almost inexplainable. I think God allowed me to take ownership of my past, and when you own your life, it's becomes less fearful, like it's not going to run away on you, or haunt you, or make you less of a human being. I think God is the most beautiful author of life.

Donald says something so perfectly in his book:

"When Steve, Ben, and I wrote our characters into the screenplay, I felt the way I hope God feels as he writes the world, sitting over the planets and placing tiny people in tiny wombs. If I have a hope, it's that God sat over the dark nothing and wrote you and me, specifically, into the story, and put us in with the sunset and the rainstorm as though to say, Enjoy your place in my story. The beauty of it means you matter, and you can create within it even as I have created you.I've wondered, though, if one of the reasons we fail to acknowledge the brilliance of life is because we don't want the responsibility inherent in the acknowledgment. We don't want to be characters in a story because characters have to move and breathe and face conflict with courage. And if life isn't remarkable, then we don't have to do any of that; we can be unwilling victims rather than grateful participants.
But I've noticed something. I've never walked out of a meaningless movie thinking all movies are meaningless. I only thought the movie I walked out on was meaningless. I wonder, then, if when people say life is meaningless, what they really mean, is their lives are meaningless. I wonder if they've chosen to believe their whole existence is unremarkable, and are projecting their dreary life on the rest of us." (pp. 59-60)

 What kind of story are you living? Maybe you are angry about your story. Maybe your story reads more like a department store catalogue than a story of humanity. I am not sure, but all I can tell you is that God might write some ups and downs in your story, some real heavy burdens. Remember however, every time you walk away from a good movie or a good book, the kind with conflict, with struggles, with human courage, remind yourself that God is the great Author, and he knows how to write a good story.


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