My Story – Your Story (Is it a good story?)

Last week as I flew to Iowa and back for my Grandmother’s funeral I listened to a few messages on my iPod. One that’s been sticking with me all week was by Donald Miller (guest speaker at Mars Hill – Grand Rapids MI) about our lives as story. He talked extensively about what makes a great story. As you live your life are you living a great story? Are lives affected and people changed for the better because of you? Are you living out God’s purpose for you (what you were created for) or are you just pursuing safety?

I heard about a former friend of mine (I haven’t seen him in years) who threw everything he once cared about (his family & faith) for the pursuit of pure selfishness. Because of his actions his kids, extended family, wife, friends, & all he commits to in the future have his selfishness as part of their story. God calls us to more & better – to live beyond ourselves with purpose in relationship with God. We are part of God’s story – How are you living out your part?


Here’s a post I found on a Donald Miller website that he wrote where he describes life and the choices you make to make your life a great story.

New Years Resolution (Dec 25, 2006)

In the new year, I’ve resolved to write a better story. By better story, I don’t mean the kind you write on paper, I mean the kind you write by walking and talking and breathing.

I’ve been studying a book by Robert McKee about the art of writing screenplay. The book, called Story, instructs on building good stories, creating fascinating characters, keeping audiences interested and so on. I used to think Hollywood stories were not like life because life is more boring. To some degree, of course, this is true, as stories are synthesized. But by applying the same principles an editor applies to a screenplay to our lives, our living and breathing stories become interesting.

So the question is, what principles make a story good? And can we apply these principles to our lives?

Here are some things to consider as we begin a new year, a new chapter in our stories.

1. Great stories include characters that want something. They have dreams and aspirations. Stories with characters that don’t want anything are nearly offensive. These characters have no appreciation for the gift of life, or worse, they refuse to take responsibility.

2. The dreams and aspirations of the leading protagonist are good for an entire community. They are inspirational dreams, or desires for justice, the character is kind and humble and wants for the good of all around him/her. The character does not think too much or too little of themselves.

3. The protagonist does not run from the forces that oppose him/her. A good story has its lead character facing their internal or external fears. They do not live out of their fears, they live out of their dreams.

4. The protagonist overcomes their fears in order to achieve their dreams. They “write” their story daily, because they know what their story is about. They take action.

5. Truly great stories include mystery and the power of providence. The goodness of God seems to reach in and help the character because God loves the protagonist. And the protagonist is good at receiving this love. We see this in the lives of Joseph, Moses, Joseph and Mary, Paul, Peter, Zacheus and so on…

Of course, there are many formulas for good stories, but this is a great one. In the past month, I sat down and wrote down my dreams, what I wanted, and I also wrote down my fears. I know now what I want, and what I have to overcome to get what I want. I know how to pray and I want to ask God to be with me on the journey. The story may not work out in the end. Many stories do not. But at least it won’t be boring….and by “it” I mean “life.” The one who burries his talents is scolded, afterall.

All the best to you as you seek to write a great story. All the best to you in the new year!

Don Miller

From what I understand, Donald Miller’s message is a distillation of his forthcoming book Story: Why Some Lives Make Sense and Others Don’t. Sounds like it will be another great book.

You can listen to his message by clicking the link below:

Donald Miller – “Story” (mp3, Mars Hill website)


~ by genelking on March 28, 2008.

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