Living a Better Story
"...to know there is a better story for your life and to choose something other is like choosing to die."
Do you want an easy life or a great life? Is it possible to have both?
No one really wants to experience pain, conflict or suffering, do they, even if there's something great at the end? Something great that God has planned for us?
I'd like to think Eric and I have been living better stories with our lives for the past few years than we were before. We read A Million Miles in a Thousand Years by Donald Miller last winter, and it's really stuck with me. We also were able to hear him speak in person about the book. The main takeaway is that to live a life that would be movie-worthy--the stories we all love to celebrate--pain and conflict must be involved. Except that when we encounter pain and conflict, we don't like it.
Truthfully, if most of our lives were made into movies, they would be incredibly boring to watch.
On a small level, for the past two weeks I've been "suffering."
You see, I dropped my iPhone. It shattered the glass on the front. Basically my three options were:
- Keep it.
- Repair it for $99.
- Get a new one for $49-199.
Lots of factors played a role in my decision (the pending launch of the iPhone 5, our contract being two months from renewal and the fact that we're hoping to switch carriers), but in the end I chose to keep it. (Don't worry, Mom, I put a protective cover on it to make sure I don't cut my fingers.)
For two months, until our contract is up, I will not be able to read very clearly on my phone. It is ugly. But, it's not the end of the world.
Maybe this is a bad example of suffering. I know I am blessed to have the finances to afford an iPhone in the first place. But lots of people were surprised that I would keep it and not get a brand-spanking-new one. As another, similar example, waiting to buy our dream bikes feels painful right now. As does selling the house we love so much and renting for a year or two to get ahead financially. And canceling cable so we can spend our time on more important things.
Back to the iPhone: We've been talking about getting new phones for a while now, but there was some hesitation on my part. (Do we really need or want new phones? Wouldn't we rather have new bikes? A baby on the way is sure to make you second-guess how you spend your money.) The camera on the 3GS version is outdated (no flash and poor pixel count), and we use that feature a lot. And with five paychecks to go until Nov. 1, we're being smart and saving up!
What is a better story to tell--"suffering" for two months with a cracked phone, or making a poor financial decision to immediately pay for a new one? Which story would you rather see made into a movie? We could have pulled money from our savings account and gotten me a new phone, but it will be worth the wait.
Ways to Intentionally Live a Better Story
- Get out of debt. Working a second job just might build some character.
- Save up and pay for something in cash. The wait makes it so much sweeter.
- Invest in your marriage. It takes time, but you get what you pay for.
- Climb a mountain. Run a marathon. Or bike across the United States. You pick.
- Endure nine months of making a person, laboring and giving birth to a baby. Let me tell you...it has already changed my life.