Living a Better Story by Losing

I think in stories now. I could blame Donald Miller for that but mostly I would just thank him. I would thank him because I’m living better stories now than I was four years ago. In some ways, I had no where to go but up. Four years ago I was thawing out from a long season of depression and burnout which had immobilized me in a lot of ways. The “Great Thaw of 2009” coincided with the release of Miller’s book “A Million Miles in a Thousand Years“. It just so happened that it was released the week of my annual Introvert Intermission, a week where I get away from everyone for a week of solitude and processing and where I avoid people and showers. Not that I showered with people before. Or after for that matter. I retreat to a place where the median age is 72. This is good for several reasons. By the time I get up, everyone is gone. I’m often the fastest one in the gym. I have very little physical competition at the pool. And by the time I get back from “town”, everyone is medicated and asleep.

onceuponatimeIt was by the pool where I read most of Miller’s book, soaking up the sun while raising eyebrows at the lack of skirt on my swimsuit. When I read about Miller’s journey to actually LIVE a great story rather than just THINK about living a great story, I knew he had nailed my issue. I think about a lot of great stories. It is easy for me to do because I live in my mind a lot of the time. I’m wired that way. If there were an Olympic event for day dreaming, I’d take gold and break records doing it. It would be a really difficult event to judge, I imagine. And probably incredibly boring. Like dressage (aka – horse dancing) and ribbon twirling gymnastics. But rarely did I make those dreams a reality. Mostly, I watched time go by and the dreams stay just that – dreams.

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Gutting Fish and Talking to Weeds: A Better Story

A few months ago, I made the decision to write a better story. Not a literal story (yet). Instead, I decided to live a better story with my life. If you are familiar with author Donald Miller than you are probably familiar with the language of “living a better story”. It is the central theme of his book A Million Miles in a Thousand Years. I read that book annually since it was published in 2009 and I’ve taken a couple of sporadic steps to live a better story – like booking a trip to Uganda or getting out of bed.

Coming into 2012, something really clicked for me. Maybe it was the sound of my aging knees. Maybe it was something else. Whatever it was, I connected with the idea that I wanted to live a better story and that the only way for me to live a better story was for me to actually live a better story. (Soooo radical and complex, I know.)

So I did a quick assessment of my issues – most of them at least – and the next steps I needed to take to live a better story. One of the first things I did was register for Storyline with Donald Miller which is basically “How to Live a Better Story: 101” but really should be titled “How to Gut Yourself Like a Fish: 801”. I actually just returned from Storyline in Nashville and will share more about the experience in another post. Right now, I’m self-medicating in preparation for the first cuts.

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Living a Better Story

One of my favorite authors is Donald Miller. He authored one of my favorite books Blue Like Jazz. I still remember exactly where I was when I read that book right after it was published.  Sitting on a rough couch in a condo down south on vacation with my parents.  I don’t remember why I picked up the book but I did.  And in reading it, I discovered that I wasn’t alone in my thoughts about faith, spirituality and religion.  There is so much comfort that can be found in knowing you aren’t alone.

Don Miller has written several other books and his most recent is A Million Miles in a Thousand Years. It’s a fantastic book about how to live a better story.  Again, Miller pens what so many of us are struggling with – breaking free from thinking about living a great story to actually getting off the couch and living that great story.

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