We went to the National Youth Workers Convention put on by Youth Specialties this last weekend in Los Angeles. The event was wonderful as always, and the “big room” speakers were fantastic (also as always).
Out of all of them, the speaker that really got me thinking was Donald Miller. He wrote Blue Like Jazz several years back and his newest book–just released–is entitled A Million Miles In a Thousand Years.
In it, Don meets a couple of filmmakers and is presented with the unique opportunity of writing the screenplay of his life. Pretty cool until he finds out that his actual life isn’t interesting enough to make into a screenplay. Bummer. The three sit in his living room concocting the story of “fake Don” who’s life on film will capture the hearts of the audience.
Then it hits him. Instead of writing a life that is movie worthy, why not live a life that is movie worthy? Why not live a worthy story?
A Million Miles In a Thousand Years is the story of his quest to live a worthy story.
Why does this matter? The world is full of people living average stories. If you were to look at most of us, the details of our story are slightly different, but overall the stories are strikingly similar. This is why when you meet someone with an exceptional story, you want to hear about it–because it is rare, it is different. You are moved by it. Maybe you even yearn for one of your own. Good news…
Every story has a protagonist. The protagonist must do protagonistic (this word doesn’t actually exist but, go with me…) things and act in a protagonistic (there it is again…) way in order to win the favor of the audience and ensure that we will cry in the end when the protagonist dies. In a movie, we get to see all the things that the protagonist does that make him or her stand out from all the other nice people who we won’t cry over when they die.
In your story it is easy to assume that you are the protagonist. But are you? Think about it and make sure. When was the last time that you did something that was protagonistic? Something that would cause your audience to fall in love with you, to cheer you on, to root for victory? Furthermore, who is your audience?
You’ve probably never thought of your life like this… I hadn’t until 2 days ago. Maybe when you think of your life as a story, you realize that it’s not interesting enough to make into a screenplay and that makes you sad. More good news. If you’re not happy with your story… change it. If you’re not the protagonist… become the protagonist. Why not? Make sure you live the best story you possibly can. And involve God in the process.
That’s all for now… it’s cold, it looks like rain, and I’m going to hop back into my story.