I’ve had Don Miller’s book, A Million Miles in a Thousand Years: What I Learned While Editing My Life, for awhile, since I saw an interview with him by Michael Hyatt. I have wanted to read it, and finally got around to doing it.

Don Miller is an author who wrote a book called “Blue Like Jazz” and then was asked by two film makers to do a movie on his life. In writing the screenplay for the movie, he found himself rewriting his life stories. He speaks of how life is about stories, and they are either good stories or bad ones. The beauty of it is that we can decide, to some extent, what the story will be. His writing is down to earth and you feel as if you’re in the same room with him, just having an every day conversation. I am always one who loves quotes and here are some of my favorites from his book:

“The reward you get from a story is always less than you thought it would be, and the work is harder than you imagined. The point of a story is never about the ending, remember. It’s about your character getting molded in the hard work of the middle. At some point the shore behind you stops getting smaller, and you paddle and wonder why the same strokes that used to move you now only rock the boat.”

“You become like the people you interact with. And if your friends are living boring stories, you probably will too. We teach our children good or bad stories, what is worth living for and what is worth dying for, what is worth pursuing, and the dignity with which a character engages his own narrative.”

He shares how a good story has a character, who has something to overcome, and struggles to do that. In the end, there is triumph, although not always as we imagine it will be.

“When you stop expecting people to be perfect, you can like them for who they are. And when you stop expecting material possessions to complete you, you’d be surprised how much pleasure you get out of material possessions. And when you stop expecting God to end all your troubles, you’d be surprised how much you like spending time with God.”

In our own lives, we often think of God as the master storyteller and wonder why He isn’t creating a good story for us. We are brought up to believe that if we just have enough faith, do enough, read the Bible enough, go to church, etc., etc., that God will write a wonderful story for us. Yet, that isn’t always the case. As Miller says in his book, “Do I still think there will be a day when all wrongs are made right, when our souls find the completion they are looking for? I do. But when all things are made right, it won’t be because of some preacher or snake-oil salesman or politician or writer making promises in his book. I think, instead, this will be done by Jesus. And it will be at a wedding. And there will be a feast.”

I happened to read this book at a time when my own life has many changes. I am at a crossroads of wondering what to do next, having been laid off from a job I believed I would have forever, wondering where the next adventure is, and the timing of reading this book was perfect. It IS about creating awesome stories, something that matters and makes a difference. This book has challenged me to look at my own life, to be keenly aware of the story I am living and be sure that it is one that, in the end, truly makes a difference. A Million Miles in a Thousand Years: What I Learned While Editing My Life is, I believe, a must read for everyone.

What story will you write this year?

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