I just attended a ministry forum with author donald miller as the speaker. He wrote about story…
I come home disgruntled with my life and play back memories and situations, work experiences, people. I look for the shape of my story. Sometimes it runs in black and white, the shading exposing deep fissures, deep deep ruts of existence- valleys of the shadow of death. Sometimes it runs animated, comical in its satire and irony. foolish and cheap, to be quickly forgotten. only a few chapters seem to emanate from the script- full-bodied aroma, tingling sensation, visual symphony, luxurious in detail and purpose, richer than chocolate suffle and lush with heart-wrenching emotion.
I, of course, am the main character in this story, the other is God. It is not a fair script, perfect, permissible, pure. In fact as I read it from a distance, I find a nominal person, with the great longing inside. But no words are put to the passion, no action put to the want. It remains locked up with a pretty venure on the outside. Who is she waiting for? What is she waiting for? Why is she waiting? The audience would be bored with the screen play, a couple good things, ” oh that’s nice.” a couple bad things, “finally some reality” They might wonder at her playing around with seashells while she could be building a castle.
My smile is rotten. Seriously. I have had several people compliment me on my smile. Probably a lot of people get that because smiles are beautiful things. They’re contagious, people smile back, then they’re happier, feel better, and in return compliment you. So, I have a great smile, and I tend to use it a lot. But what people don’t know is that I also have a rotten smile. Just went to the dentist. I”ll give you my excuse, I brush and I floss daily. Doesn’t matter, I have crummy genetics and found this out. Nine cavities. Nine. bacterial invasion that has eroded my enamel and attacked my teeth, chewing up health, regurgitating back a soft rotten substitute. my beautiful smile is completely contaminated inside. Pretty on the outside, decaying inside. Sometimes I feel that is the story of my life.
I don’t want to be praised for being a missionary, to be praised for living in the inner-city amongst a high crime, high poverty neighborhood, I don’t want to be praised for mentoring an at-risk youth, or ambitious ministry leader, to be praised for such dedication to my work, such studious care of my interns, such discipline in my exercize, so much value for prayer, adeptness at public speaking, for being musical and athletic, smart and pretty. Pretty is skin deep.
What if they knew she was fearful to speak and act the gospel, that the location of her dwelling evoked no problem and claiming the title of relocator was pride, that although she mentored, she didn’t love her mentee. simply didn’t love her, and constantly struggled to be there and make time. What if they knew her desire to be a leader was driven by impure motives, that dedication to work was a product of overwork and desire to be known, that studious care was given because it was a job responsibility and discipline was simply an excuse for escape. Prayer was driven by crisis instead of relationship, speaking was borne out of charisma instead of depth.
Pretty things on the outside, full of rot and decay within.
“I know I am rotten through and through so far as my old sinful nature is concerned…
Oh, what a miserable person I am! Who will free me from this life that is dominated by sin?”