The Power of Your Story

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“If your story could be summarized on the back of a DVD case, would anyone want to rent it?”

I listened to this challenge again from Donald Miller on a Willow Creek Defining Moments recording on my way home from Victoria, BC this weekend. According to Miller, in order for a life to be fully maximized there needs to be a strong purpose, and an element of tension or conflict.

Otherwise your life’s DVD summary might read something like this: “This is the story of someone who gets up in the morning, goes to work, comes home, and does it all over again the next day.” Not very compelling.

Instead, Miller challenged, there needs to be purpose, tension and struggle. How much more interesting for a DVD to read, “This is the story of someone determined to make a lasting impact in his world. Along the way he encounters opposition, but rises to the challenge and perseveres against all odds.”

The idea of looking at life as a story was fresh in my mind after spending the previous two days at our staff retreat, where our special guest Dan Reinhardt from CREST Leadership led us through an exercise in examining our own life’s story.

We were given the opportunity to map our story on a graph, showing the highs and lows, and then shared our story with the team, adding explanation, clarity and learnings.

It was a compelling exercise, and one which has me looking at my life like a story editor, wondering what notes I should put in the margins. Would I write, “Compelling! Riveting! Persevering through adversity and making great Kingdom gains!” Or are there times where I’d jot down, “Pretty tame; not much action.”

Bottom line; God has given me one life to live, and I want my story to glorify Him by being as compelling as possible.

How would your life be summarized on the back of a DVD?

the author

Scott Cochrane

5 comments

  1. Scott–I think this is a great idea. Sometimes we can be intent on solving problems in our world/life so that things are “normal”. God is challenging me to step out and live in a more uncomfortable, less controlled place.

  2. Heather- what an insight. Yes, a pretty good way to tell if our story is lining up with God’s story is to see if what we’re doing is likely to cause us to rely on Him more, or to merely remain ‘safe’.

  3. Thanks for letting me know of your blog, Scott. I am impressed with the quality of your thoughts! This one on story is a great affirmation that its only when we step outside of safety and comfort and follow a dream that the story gets interesting. Because following a dream means stepping out, risking, dealing with challenges — all the qualities of an adventure!

    God is not about making our lives comfortable; he wants us to join him on an epic adventure! That’s what CREST helps students understand, and act on!

  4. Dan, the exercise you took our staff through continues to inspire many of us. I look forward to seeing many more growing leaders taking next steps through CREST.

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