One of my favourite authors is a guy called Donald Miller. He has written a number of books including Through Painted Deserts, Blue Like Jazz, Searching for God Knows What and A Million Miles in a Thousand Years. What I love about this guy is the way he gives us this open and honest glimpse into his own relationship with God. It’s both authentic and relational, and one in which I – and indeed many others – can easily relate to.
I’ve started reading his blogs, a lot of which are exerts from his various books. A couple of months ago I was reading one of these blogs and this one sentence leapt off the screen at me:
‘We get one story, you and I, and one story alone. God has established the elements, the setting, the climax and the resolution. It would be a crime not to venture out, wouldn’t it?’
Miller is not content to let his own story pass him by; he wants to engage with it so that when the day comes to reflect on the story he lived, he will have no regrets. Miller does not here refer to writing the best book, making the most money or being the most popular person. Rather he talks about engaging with a story that learns to embrace life. A story that learns what it means to be in relationships that inspire love. A story that learns to step out of the boat and try new things. A story that learns to make a difference to the world around us. A story that learns to move on from the past. A story that learns what it means to live in oneness with God.
Miller is so right when he says that God has given us all we need to create this story of ours. He has surrounded us with people to encourage, inspire and challenge us. He has created this awesome creation that, despite the devastation that often seems to engulfs it, manifests beauty, diversity and magnitude. He has given us gifts, talents and personalities, each of which has been uniquely crafted by His own hand. He has also given us the Bible, which tells the greatest story ever – a story of redemption, grace and hope. He also given us the Holy Spirit, the ultimate companion to our very own story.
Each day provides opportunity to write another page of my story. I don’t want to look back on any day and regret that I did not love as I should, did not enjoy as I should, did not step out as I should, did not make a difference as I should, did not change as I should, did not know God as I should.
To not do as I should is, as Miller aptly writes, ‘a crime’.