I’ve been a fan of Don Miller ever since a friend suggested that I read Blue Like Jazz shortly after it’s release. I immediately felt like I could be friends with this guy. Since then, I’ve read every one of his books, and consider A Million Miles in a Thousand Years one of my all-time favorite books. So when Don announced he would start hosting conferences based on this material, I was ready to sign up.
And that’s just what I did last month. Since he recently relocated to Nashville, one of the Storyline Conferences each year is now held there—a mere four hours from me. It was a really fun two days. It was a little like, and a little unlike, other conferences I attended. Don describes it as sort of group therapy and I have to agree. 😉
The basis for the time is that you are looking to develop a plan to discover and live out your God-given story. Before and after guest speakers, Don takes you through the process, much like he discovered along the way in A Million Miles in a Thousand Years. Another element of a story is added in each session. Some of his material also comes from “logotherapy,” a therapy which helps you discover meaning and purpose, hence the therapy session. The guest speakers do some instructing, but I gathered that mostly you are to see living examples of the material Don presents. There were some really awesome speakers. And then, of course, because it’s Nashville, there were local musicians who contributed to the agenda.
Honestly, I still have A LOT of thinking to do about what was said over the weekend. But I really appreciated what I heard, and am looking forward to more reflecting on it. I had already started making some baby steps in my story before arriving, but I still have a long way to go. And I have the homework from the conference to prove it! It was a very affirming time, though, and I know it will help me in the future.
Here are a few of the pearls I pulled out of the conversation:
- Living great stories involves changing the way we approach life. To live a great story, we need to know who we are, what we want, what conflict we will need to engage and then we must take action.
- If people don’t find purpose, they will pursue pleasure. – Viktor Frankel, Austrian neurologist and psychiatrist as well as a Holocaust survivor (Invented “logotherapy”)
- God did not create us to live in reaction, but to be co-creators of a meaningful life.
- We are not our failures—or our successes.
- Love your calling, not the applause of the crowd.
- Your story is not about you. It’s about God using you to save many lives.
- When you find a passion or purpose, you realize all the parts of your life have been leading up to it.
- In some way, suffering ceases to be suffering at the moment it finds a meaning. – Viktor Frankel
- What if God created you because the world needed to feel the impact of your story?
Becca Stevens, priest and founder of Thistle Farms
- We learn more from mercy than judgement.
- Love heals.
John Richmond, Federal Prosecutor at Department of Justice Human Trafficking Prosecution Unit
- We are not entitled to anything. Every breathe is a gift.
- Got wants to rescue us from thinking we have to measure up.
- The ruler you choose matters, because it will rule you.
Shauna Niequist, author
- God can give you a new name and a new story.
- Hold up the hard stories in your life that have no place anymore. Lay them down and make room for new ones.
- What are the old stories you are letting stand in your way?
Bob Goff, Founder of Restore International, Lawyer and Author of Love Does
- See people for who they are becoming.
- We’re afraid of our calling because we’re afraid to fail. Fail at the right stuff. Fail trying.
Joshua DuBois, emails daily devotions to President Obama
- When we play the victim, life becomes about us.
Ryan Forsthoff, The Leadership Foundation
- The most powerful moments in a person’s life are the moments in which they realize what they are capable of.
- Great leaders recognize and respond to the capabilities of those they lead.
Don began and ended the conference with the question, “What will the world miss if you do not tell your story?” Um, that’s a pretty powerful question. I’m not there yet, but I’m pondering it. It definitely shapes the way I see things. I spend too much of my time comparing myself to others, and I think that was one of the things this conference does best. It reminded me that God created me. He took the time to form and shape me. I’m here for a reason. I better not waste it.
So…what would the world miss if you did not tell your story?