On Standing Here and Dreaming of There

Yesterday, Jeremy Statton posted “4 Things to Remember in the Face of Change.”

I mused over his writing and patted myself on the back. The last time I resisted change, I was 14 years old and giving my parents a hard time for moving me states away, far from family, friends, and the familiar.

Since then, I’ve done nothing but embrace change. I’ve lived in Orlando, Boston, Philadelphia. I’ve frequented New York City, Charleston, Savannah, Washington, DC. I’ve flown across the Atlantic. I’ve moved back home to the beach [to catch my breath].

I’ve applied to graduate programs, I’ve applied to jobs. I’ve thought about the Peace Corps.

Honestly, I can’t get enough change.

I can’t stay still. I can’t live with the routine that eventually falls into the chinks of every life.

So I patted myself on the back and almost didn’t comment.

But I did, and I said something about needing change almost as much as I need oxygen. About how all I want to do is live a good story. And Jeremy responded with this:

What keeps you from living that story, Elizabeth?

I. Haven’t. A. Clue.

Sometimes the simplest truths and questions can trip us the most.

I held my fingers over the keyboard, ready to respond, but the words never came.

I’m still wrestling with the question. What are the obstacles in my life? What stands in the way of the life I want to be living? What will get me from here to there?

There’s a danger in dreaming of the greener grass on the other side of the fence, but there’s also a grave danger in staying comfortable in familiar pasture.

We won’t admit that it’s uneventful and predictable. We take comfort in days already planned. We take comfort in the safety of our surroundings.

We don’t worry about clean water, plentiful food, war zones.

We worry about what others will think of our new haircuts.

Of this, I’m guilty. Just like you.

According to Donald Miller in A Million Miles in a Thousand Years, a meaningful life must build off four critical elements:

ONE: As the sole protagonist of your story, you must take full responsibility of your life.

TWO: You must decide what you want more than anything else in the world.

THREE: You need to anticipate and welcome conflict, as no truly epic story is without it.

FOUR: Look forward to the resolution, no matter how difficult your story becomes along the way.

With Jeremy’s prompting, I realized that I’m stuck between the second and third element. I can’t clearly visualize the obstacles. All I know is that they’re there, large and looming. And I haven’t the slightest clue about how to scale them.

But climbers can only reach the summit by first tackling the base, one weary step at a time.

My first steps deal in identification.

What do I want more than anything else?

What are the obstacles in my way?

Am I willing to sacrifice everything for those dreams?

Without a doubt, yes.

What keeps you from living that story?

I’ll be in Nashville on May 6th-7th for Donald Miller’s Storyline Conference. Register and join me in living a better story.

I’d love to see your face.