After studying much of Donald Miller’s work, wife and I are beginning to see life through the lens of story. He has an excellent resource available called How to Tell a Story.
We went through an exercise in the PDF to help make sense of the past by viewing it as a story. The life experience I chose was when I was overwhelmed in college.
Donald Miller’s exercise helped me realize my experience was actually a good story in the making.
I wanted to get a degree in engineering, but many obstacles blocked my path. It made me feel overwhelmed, inadequate, and stupid. I eventually started seeing a counselor, who was my guide through the story. He helped me plan how to tackle each obstacle one at a time so I wouldn’t have to quit school. I broke up with my girlfriend, restored the relationship with my family, fixed the car, and dropped a class. I felt relief knowing problems were slowly getting solved.
But if I hadn’t found a guide to show me a plan, awful things would have happened. I would have been frustrated and stressed to the point I quit school and move back home. Worse yet, my friend may never have become my wife.
Instead, I found the energy to keep going. It took student loans, bad grades, extra classes, switching majors, transferring to a state school, and six years — but I finally finished my engineering degree!
This experience unlocked many unexpected opportunities: jobs waiting for us after graduation, becoming debt free, and the means to move to FL to be with my mother-in-law when she needed us most.
The perspective of story is huge. Looking at life this way makes for a richer understanding and a greater sense of meaning.
Imagine what it could do for you.
Instead of imagining, find out! Try Donald Miller’s exercise (page 13 of How to Tell a Story) for yourself and share what you learn.