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What Makes a Meaningful Story?

Monday, July 15, 2013

I mentioned recently that I am in a season where I have a huge appetite for non-fiction books.  I am so intrigued by what others are learning in this life and choosing to write down onto the pages of a book.  This weekend I just finished a book that really rocked my world.  I haven't been able to stop thinking about it. 



A Million Miles in a Thousand Years by Donald Miller

As the author was studying how to write a screenplay for a movie that would tell a good story, he realized that "the same elements that make a movie meaningful, are the ones that make a life meaningful".   The best movies are the ones where the protagonist has to face major conflict, overcome obstacles, and sacrifice something big.  And that is the same thing that makes a good life story!  When you write a screenplay, you make things happen for the characters that pushes them to change.  It's the transformation of the character - the change in them - that makes a story meaningful.  That compelling transformation is only seen when someone either chooses to change, or is forced to change. 

Miller suggests that we are the ones who can create a good story for our lives.  We have to put things in motion.  Chase that dream, take a risk, make an uncomfortable change.  We can write that transformation for ourselves.

We would be pretty shallow people if we never had any pain or discomfort in our lives.  If all we did was consume, but never produced.  If all we focused on was seeking comfort, instead of taking a risk to do something that may feel uncomfortable, but helped the greater good.  And it certainly wouldn't make a good movie.  In the book, Miller went from being a self-proclaimed couch potato who watched movies to escape his boring life, to writing his bike across the entire country - from L.A. to D.C. - just to live a better story.  That's transformation! 

As much as I desperately want to choose the safe and familiar route, sometimes I sort of get excited at the thought of choosing the route that's less traveled.  The one I have to carve out myself with sweat and tears and PRAYER and leaning on my faith.  Because I know from experience how much better it feels when I have earned something by sacrifice and surrender, rather than having it handed to me.  And ultimately, I love the idea of knowing I need to be obedient to the story God is writing through me.  I want Him to get the glory, not me.

I am still trying to process through all the thoughts and ideas this book has spurred on in my head and heart.  But I do highly recommend it to anyone who may feel the need for a little inspiration kick start. 

I've started to think.... What am I doing to make a dream happen?  What have I risked?  What have I made excuses for?  Where have I chosen to sit still instead of move forward?  I'm challenged to think about the passions God has planted inside my heart and how those passions could translate into a good story.

“the same elements that make a movie meaningful are the ones that make a life meaningful” - See more at: http://modernmrsdarcy.com/2012/03/what-the-craft-of-storytelling-teaches-us-about-life/#sthash.hoU0zH71.dpuf
“the same elements that make a movie meaningful are the ones that make a life meaningful” - See more at: http://modernmrsdarcy.com/2012/03/what-the-craft-of-storytelling-teaches-us-about-life/#sthash.hoU0zH71.dpuf
“the same elements that make a movie meaningful are the ones that make a life meaningful” - See more at: http://modernmrsdarcy.com/2012/03/what-the-craft-of-storytelling-teaches-us-about-life/#sthash.hoU0zH71.dpuf

6 comments:

  1. Glad to read this! I have been looking into reading this book soon.

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  2. oh so true! Sometimes we need that kick in the pants to not settle.

    goodness gracious I love Donald Miller's books. Someone gave me his book "Blue Like Jazz" as a high school graduation gift and it changed my life and is one of the most significant books I've ever read.

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    1. I absolutely agree! Blue Like Jazz was equally as great! Thanks for stopping by!

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  3. Yes, yes. I get excited too. Waiting to find the story God has for me {or perhaps realize that I'm living it and didn't even know}. :) I love your writing!

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    1. Hi Laura, thank you so much! I think that is such a lovely thought... that perhaps we're already living a great story but we don't give it enough credit. Thanks for that today!

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