So I read this blog post by Donald Miller today and it has really got me thinking. Miller is an author, so he believes strongly in the powers of narrative. I did a post on him on my old blog where he talked about morality as a narrative. His thoughts make a lot of sense. I don’t often think of my life as a story in which I am the main character. If anything I often find myself playing a supporting character in someone else’s big story. Not that I think life should be all self-centered, big story developements.
I think you will get what I am saying in a second.
Miller, on his post, asks the “what if?” question that he says writers form their stories around. He says that only by asking “what if?” can we truly dream. I am not a dreamer. I am a planner. I have dreams, but they are more like idealistic views of what I want life to look like with practical steps of how to get there. They don’t really add up ever, so I don’t put much weight behind them.
Donald Miller dares you to ask those what if questions to yourself.
What if you asked yourself a series of these questions? What if you got out a yellow pad and wrote down a few story turns that you could engage? What if you ran a marathon? What if you renewed your marriage vows? What if you quit your job? What if you brought home a puppy today? What if you and your family adopted a child?
The question is used to motivate action in your life.
To be honest I am scared to ask myself questions like that. I think its because I am so scared of making mistakes in life that I am often paralyzed from doing anything at all. I am afraid of making some wrong turns and ending up in a place of discomfort. But, why should that stop me? Being a believer does not mean that I am not allowed to make mistakes. It means I should follow Jesus, and when I mess up, own it, thank God for His grace, learn a lesson, and move on. It does not mean I should sit back and hope that a path will be lit in front of me.
Now there obviously are some what if questions that one should not ask themselves. I am reading Crime and Punishment right now, so the first that comes to mind is, “What if I killed for what I wanted/needed?” I think we should go the more productive route and ask things that we are in control of that could be good and/or hard, but not immoral or illegal.
Here are some of mine
What if I teach English in Spain?
What if I move to a city I like without knowing anyone?
Ha…I could only come with two right now. Those are dreams I have that I am really nervous about acting on. I can’t even think creatively enough to look beyond those. But I will, and you should too. So, come on…What If…?