My husband is doing a book club series for the summer, and this week’s selection is Donald Miller’s A Million Miles in a Thousand Years. In this book, author Donald Miller explores the idea that the qualities which make a good story are the same qualities that come together to make a good life.
Life is lived in story, and as Christians, we are called to live a better story. Donald Miller states that, “A story is based on what people think is important, so when we live a story, we are telling people around us what we think is important.”
Which begs the question….
When you look at your life, what do you see? Would it make an interesting story? Would it make a good story? Is it a story you would want to tell? Is it a story you would want others to tell?
One of the things that Miller comes back to over and over in his book is that story is about character transformation, and if our lives are a story, then the point of our lives is the journey we take to transformation. And, we reach that transformation through a series of “inciting” incidents. “The inciting incident is how you get (characters) to do something. It’s the doorway through which they can’t return, you know. The story takes care of the rest.”
God uses “inciting” incidents in our lives to prompt us to make the changes we need to make in order to live a better story. These incidents could include the loss of a relationship, loss of a job, gaining of a job, birth of a child, unexpected illness or injury, or, in Miller’s case, the opportunity to turn his life into a screenplay.
God used an inciting incident in Paul’s life as he walked the road to Damascus. Confident in his role as persecutor of Christians, Paul (then Saul) was brought to his knees by Christ himself and chose, in that moment, to be transformed and to live a better story.
Life is more than schedules, and work, and the day to day grind. Life is about living a better story. It is about allowing ourselves to be transformed by our Creator so that we may go out into the world and make a difference, regardless of the circumstances we find ourselves in. Look at Job, Miller states. “Job found contentment and even joy, outside the context of comfort, health or stability. He understood the story was not about him, and he cared more about the story then he did about himself.”
It is not an accident then that Jesus spent most of his time teaching through story. Mark 4:33 states that…