I've mentioned loving Donald Miller's "A Million Miles in a Thousand Years" book before, and from this book he spawned Storyline: click HERE to see what it fully is. Basically, the idea is to help people realize the stories they are telling with their lives, and how our stories are all subplots to God's bigger Story; learning how to redeem the low points, and to learn to tell great stories with our lives. I've really been wanting to go through this process, or at least attend one of Miller's conferences, and I was super excited to find out our church was going to be doing the curriculum.
We are still in the early stages, and it does require a decent bit of work and reflection, but it's been great. One of my favorite things has always been hearing other people's stories, and watching people realize that they have an important story to tell! [I tried to get Brent to let us name a daughter Story for this very reason, but he declined. Party pooper.] When I was teaching writing to teens, it was interesting that many felt they didn't have anything "worthwhile" to share. I chose the word interesting because as a whole teens tend to be pretty self-centered and think very highly of themselves, and yet it didn't translate to their stories. Especially the broken ones. But when some of them would finally open up, and see how others responded to their stories, it was like dominoes--- they got it! Our lives are important! They do matter! We are powerful!
The first part of this Storyline process has been to write down a timeline of our "life turns." Life turns are basically points in our story/life that have had a significant impact on us, both positively or negatively, after which we are not left the same. After plotting these out, we are asked to come up with a theme for our life.
I am naturally introspective and reflective [I mean, I have a blog]. I've thought through, and even written about, many of these highs and lows before, but to see them all laid out chronologically and see the undulation was interesting: Things that should have been HIGHS felt very low at times [like moving "home", or after I had Blythe]. But figuring out and seeing my life's theme throughout it all did have redemptive power.
And so, as I dive into this process, I wanted to write about here in this space as well.
After creating my timeline and talking through it with Brent and others, the "life theme" I came up with is this:
God is faithful and is calling me to live in community with and lead/teach others.
As I reflected, I saw that God is faithful even when
/ I question Him/ don't understand [like when Bob was killed: which I've written about here and here]
/ I doubt his guidance/ placement [like when we moved: which I've written about here here here here]
/ I hurt [like after Blythe: which I've written about here]
/ I sin [and receive grace like here]
/I am weak [ reflected on here]
/ Bad things happen [various examples that I'm sure you can find in your own life]
I also noticed that living in community, or as I sometimes refer to it-- living messy with others--, is important especially when
/ I'm going through change [like when we had our "lifers" over for the first time: here]
/ I'm making big decisions
/ I need to lead/teach [ I've written a lot about my journey teaching: here here here here and can scroll through here]
/I'm just living. I need people. [Like I reminisced about here. ]
I don't know how much I'll blog about this process, but I would like to document some more of it here.