Thoughts from an Evening with Donald Miller

On Monday evening, I heard Donald Miller speak at Messiah College. He shared some great thoughts, some rambling thoughts that almost lost me and some thoughts about being naked. That just scared some of you and sparked interest in the rest of you – so to clarify, he was talking about Adam and Eve. 
Here’s a few of the thoughts he shared. These are not direct quotes from him – but what I heard him say in my own words. 
God is creating a story – an epic story, that encompasses all of creation. Within that story, each of us has a sub-story that we are the director of. God gives us life – a blank sheet of paper and a set of markers – and says, “Go crazy, have fun.” We choose what is put on that paper. If we want to make a purple horse, we can. 
Having said that – there are many things in each of our environments that influence what we do with our markers and paper. It ranges from our childhood to our education, to conflict we face, to people we hang out with, to the advertisements we see all the time.

I don’t remember if he said this or I just thought it, but what we draw on our paper is also influenced by things that happen to us that we can’t control – abuse/accidents/others’ choices. We can’t control those things, but we can control how we react and respond to them. 
Don illustrated his thoughts about how we can be controlled by our environment by sharing a story about controlling others when he was in band in high school. Students had to walk through the large band hall to get to their lockers. Don was at the other end of the room and had a metronome (instrument that produces regular beats) As a student entered the room, he set the metronome to match their gait, then slowly sped it up. Most of the students started walking faster with the beat without realizing it. He was thrilled with his power to control them for the thirty seconds or so it took them to reach their lockers.
So is your drawing ever influenced by an unseen metronome? Don says that in our culture the metronome that influences us more than we realize is commercialism. We think for our drawing/life to be complete, we need that car or those jeans or that soap. If we get that – everything in our life will be better. Even if you don’t watch TV or read magazines with advertisements – how often do you want something because 

everyone else has it?” 
Don went on to say that our relationship with God is also influenced by this metronome. We can see Jesus as a product to make us happy or to get us what we want, rather than a being to have a relationship with. And we think that God has to give us this or that to make us complete.

So I’m pondering how I view and interact with God. To realize what influence commercialism has on my relationship with him – I need to stop and think. Stop, unplug, be still and think about why I do some of the things I do.

What are you drawing on your paper today? And why are you drawing that?

Donald shared many more thoughts, but my brain couldn’t remember all of them, plus this blog post would be way too long.

3 thoughts on “Thoughts from an Evening with Donald Miller”

  1. Ah Susan … so true. And because of things outside of your control. I'm sorry. Disappointments that last a lifetime take incredible strength to live with.

    Your choice to capture beauty with your camera and write beautiful poetry is not only making your drawing beautiful, but it's also adding beauty to my (and many others) drawing. Thanks for what you do on your blog!

    Have you read the great post Donald Miller wrote today about the plan (or lack thereof) for our lives? (Click on the link in this post to go to his site)

  2. I fight that "metronome" a lot of the time. Thankfully, with my husband's career canceled for 20 months so far, and the financial challenges that have come with it, I'm a whole lot more careful than I even was before — and was pretty careful even then. [my rebel heart — which I fight all the time, even after all these years with the Lord — actually keeps me from following the "in crowd" automatically, and that has helped me over the years.]

    Anyhow, good thinking.

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