I quickly became a Donald Miller fan after reading Blue Like Jazz. I enjoy his conversational writing style, mixed with profound observations on faith and our human condition. Since then I’ve read all his books. When this book came out, I bought it and began reading it simply because it was Miller’s next offering.
A few years ago I began using a little phrase that I’d put together through several different life experiences. “What makes the better story??? Do that!!!” This became a running joke and expression that I would use with close friends and family when faced with insignificant choices and other weighty decisions. At times it would result in ridiculous experiences and in other moments challenge me to choose an uncomfortable, yet rewarding path.
It was a lot of fun reading this book because Don takes a look at our life through the lens of story. He explores and uncovers what makes a good story in a book and on film, and how that contrasts with real life. I found the book prompting me to ask the question what kind of story am I telling with my life? Reminding me that I can choose to write a great story, to be a great character, to pursue life in all it’s fullness! Or I can choose a less interesting and safe existence. Every choice I make plays a role in determining my story. It was a good reminder that always choosing what is safe, or comfortable, or popular can actually dull my story.
Pam and I have purposefully made decisions in our life to create memories with our kids…telling a better story. We’ve realized that our kids will remember the things we did that were outside of the norm…beyond the expected. One example was the year we decided to have Fruit Loops for Thansgiving Dinner. Rather than focusing so much time and energy on the meal, we spent all our time playing and hanging out together. Our kids still talk about that year, and we’re threatening to do it again someday. Next time we’ll probably have Lucky Charms though.
Would I recommend this book…absolutely! Miller’s honest and creative writing has a way that I’m sure can connect with most anyone. I appreciate the way he openly wrestles with his faith and how it works in his life, but without jumping on the sometimes all-too-popular “let’s bash the church” train. It’s a pretty easy read, and might even challenge some of us to get off the couch and live a better story.