Last Updated on February 15, 2024 by Stacy Averette

What’s your story? I’ve wanted to ask that question so many times to family, friends, and even strangers. What I mean by that question is:

  • How did you get where you are?
  • Why do you believe what you believe?
  • Why do you do what you do?

We all have a story and I love when I get the chance to talk with someone one-on-one and hear a bit of their story. These are my favorite kinds of conversations! (Have I mentioned how much I hate small talk?)

Stacy Averette

I’ve read several books lately that have inspired me to think more about my story and I’ve been challenged to consider whether or not the life I’m living is telling the story I want to tell.

I know for sure I can get lazy and complacent. Life is hard and change can be uncomfortable. But as I was thinking and writing about What Worked (and What Didn’t) in 2021, I realized that God had been gently pushing me out of an unhealthy comfort zone and into a better story.

I had become cynical, negative, judgmental, critical, and whiney. My glass was half-empty from my perspective so I felt completely justified. God wasn’t having it. He let me wallow around in that mess for a while but eventually, He convicted and lovingly confronted me with the truth.

Different seasons tell different stories. New seasons need new stories. 

I was stuck in an old story from a past season of life. It wasn’t a bad story but it wasn’t the story He wanted me to focus on in this season of life.

I mentioned in my previous post that I read a ton of books last year. He used those writers and their stories to light a fire in my soul. I’m going to share how He did that and some changes I’ve made in a couple of upcoming posts so stay tuned!

Today I want to mention two of the books I read on a recent vacation and some of my favorite quotes from those books.

I’m a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program and some links may be affiliate links. I may receive a small fee at no extra cost to you if you buy something or take an action after clicking one of these.

On January 2, Eric and I began a much-needed beach vacation.

I took my thrift-store copy of Donald Miller’s memoir, Blue Like Jazz: Nonreligious Thoughts on Christian Spirituality, to read. This book sat on my shelf, unread, for years and I finally sent it to the thrift store with a bunch of other stuff. During the holidays, I kept thinking about the book and decided I should read it on vacation. I probably bought the very copy of the book I sent to the thrift store months ago!

Here’s the description of the book on Amazon:

In this intimate, non-judgmental, and soul-searching account, Miller describes his remarkable journey with and back to the infinitely loving God, helping you…

    • discover how the Christian faith is still relevant in postmodern culture;
    • learn how to have a genuine encounter with a God who is real; and
    • enjoy a renewed sense of passion for your life. 

Blue Like Jazz is a gentle, honest resource for those curious about the Christian faith, or new to it, and offers a fresh and original perspective on life, love, and redemption.

I finished Blue Like Jazz halfway through the week and began reading another book by Donald Miller:  A Million Miles in a Thousand Years: What I Learned While Editing My Life. Here’s the description:

After the publication of his wildly successful memoir, Blue Like Jazz, Donald Miller’s life began to stall. During what should have been the height of his success, he found himself avoiding responsibility and even questioning the meaning of life. But when two producers proposed turning his memoir into a movie, Miller found himself launched into a new story filled with risk, possibility, beauty, and meaning.

A Million Miles in a Thousand Years chronicles Miller’s rare opportunity to edit his life into a great story and to reinvent himself so nobody shrugs their shoulders when the credits roll. When his producers begin fictionalizing Don’s life for the film–changing a meandering memoir into a structured narrative–the real-life Don starts a journey to make his actual life into a better story.

In this book, we have a front-row seat to Miller’s journey–from sleeping all day to riding his bike across America, from living in romantic daydreams to facing love head-on, from wasting his money to founding a life-changing nonprofit.

Guided by a host of outlandish but very real characters, Miller teaches us:

    • Why God hasn’t fixed us yet
    • The power of speaking something into nothing
    • The redemptive beauty that can come from tragic circumstances
    • How to get a second chance at life the first time around

Through heart-wrenching honesty and hilarious self-inspection, Miller takes readers through the life that emerges when it turns from boring reality into a meaningful narrative.

Here are some of my favorite quotes from those two books:

From Blue Like Jazz:

“…to be in a relationship with God is to be loved purely and furiously. And a person who thinks himself unlovable cannot be in a relationship with God because he can’t accept who God is; a Being that is love. We learn that we are lovable or unlovable from other people…That is why God tells us so many times to love each other.”

“The most difficult lie I have ever contended with is this: life is a story about me.”

“If we are not willing to wake up in the morning and die to ourselves, perhaps we should ask ourselves whether or not we are really following Jesus.”

“What I believe is not what I say I believe; what I believe is what I do.”

“I need for there to be something bigger than me. I need someone to put awe inside me; I need to come second to someone who has everything figured out.”

“Self-discipline will never make us feel righteous or clean; accepting God’s love will.”

“If we hear, in our inner ear, a voice saying we are failures, we are losers, we will never amount to anything, this is the voice of Satan trying to convince the bride that the groom does not love her. This is not the voice of God. God woos us with kindness. He changes out of character with the passion of his love.”

“By accepting God’s love for us, we fall in love with Him, and only then do we have the fuel we need to obey.”

“I think the most important thing that happens within Christian spirituality is when a person falls in love with Jesus.”

From A Thousand Miles in Million Years:

“A story is based on what people think is important, so when we live a story, we are telling people around us what we think is important.”

“When something happens to you, you have two choices in how to deal with it. You can either get bitter or get better.”

“When you stop expecting people to be perfect, you like them for who they are. And when you stop expecting material possessions to complete you, you’d be surprised how much pleasure you get from material possessions. And when you stop expecting God to end all your troubles, you’d be surprised how much you like spending time with God.”

“Here’s the truth about telling stories with your life. It’s going to sound like a great idea and you are going to get excited about it, and then when it comes time to do the work, you’re not going to want to do it. It’s like that with writing books, and it’s like that with life. People love to have lived a great story, but few people like the work it takes to make it happen. But joy costs pain”

“I like those scenes in the Bible where God stops people and asks them to build an altar. You’d think He was making them do that for Himself, but I don’t think God really gets much from looking at a pile of rocks. Instead, I think God wanted HIs people to build altars for their sake, something that would help them remember, something they could look back on and remember the time when they were rescued, or they were given grace.”

“It’s interesting that in the Bible, in the book of Ecclesiastes, the only practical advice given about living a meaningful life is to find a job you like, enjoy your marriage, and obey God. It’s as though God is saying, ‘Write a good story, take somebody with you, and let me help.'”

I probably don’t agree with all of Donald Miller’s views on everything but his life and his writing have inspired me! I love his concept of editing life into a great story. I don’t consider myself to be much of a storyteller but I know one thing for sure: I’m telling a story with my life by how I live, the choices I make, my attitude, my priorities, how I spend my time, and my money, and how I treat the people around me. I think the story I’ve lived is a good one so far but I want to tell a better story with the years I have left! (Next week I’m going to share more about that.)

You may not read either of the books I’ve mentioned but I hope you take the time to ask yourself these questions:

  1. Have you ever thought of your life as a story?
  2. Are you living the story you want to live (or might you be living the story someone else wants you to live?)
  3. What do you want the story of your life to be?
  4. What do you need to change to make that happen?

With God’s help, I believe we can learn to live a better story.

2 thoughts on “What’s Your Story?”

  1. Hi Stacy,

    I read both of the books that you mentioned back around my college years. “A Million Miles in a Thousand Years” really resonated with me at the time because I was in that time of life where I couldn’t figure out where I was going or what my story was. I loved the push to live intentionally. Before that, I think I was letting life happen to me; instead of, trusting God and stepping out with purpose. Anyway, I’m far from that season now but the lesson is just as important. Thanks for the reminder!

    1. Acacia, thanks for reading and for commenting. The conversations about books and seasons of life are even better than writing words about them! I’m so thankful that God is always inviting us to live a better, more intentionally purposeful, story!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.