I recently listened to a chapel message from Donald Miller that he presented at our company a few months back. His talk was based on his most recent book, A Million Miles in a Thousand Years, which I finished reading this past summer. It’s been an important book in my journey, so I relished the chance to hear Miller talk directly about it. A few things struck me from his message that day, both times I’ve heard it.
First of all, our lives are very much like the writing of a story, and a good story is usually a character who wants something and overcomes conflict to get it. Imagine reading a story about someone who doesn’t know what they want in life. Would you keep reading once you realized that about the main character?
I hate to admit this, but I am inclined to simply float through life without asking myself what I truly want. Stopping on a weekly basis to ask myself that question is an important exercise. Perhaps this is another reason that God commanded us to “remember the Sabbath, to keep it holy.”
Knowing what you want is good, but it isn’t the only thing. Someone whose wants are only self-serving have a difficult time finding any real meaning in their lives. Without self-sacrifice for something or someone outside ourselves we don’t awaken something great in others, because we ourselves are not alive and awake to any great purpose.
Miller’s message pushed me to acknowledge the ways that I have been careless with my desires in the past. I want to be able to stop at any given moment and answer this question: Is what I’m doing right now connected to what I truly want in life?
I think it’s an important question, even in moments of leisure. There is nothing wrong with taking time for leisure, but have I made it an intentional part of my life because I know that play has value, just as work does? It’s a question about being intentional.
There is something that inspires us about a character who lives with intention, who wants something meaningful and presses forward into the conflict or suffering required to get it.
Would the story of our lives inspire others to do what we doing? A life story worth reading is a story worth living.