Storyline update – Trying to love conflict

A little while back I wrote a blog about Storyline, a book by Donald Miller. The subtitle is “Finding your subplot in God’s story” and that is exactly what it does. It has taken me a while to get through the book partially because it is a process that I do not want to take lightly, but also partially because I tend to not read it for a while for no good reason.

In the third section it talks about conflict, something that no one really wants to talk about including myself. This section helped me see things a little differently. Don’t get me wrong, I still am not a big fan of conflict, but I understand now that there is value in conflict and it is a necessary thing in order to change and from what I know about people, everyone wants to change. No one is satisfied with every aspect of their lives.

Donald Miller is a gifted writer so I want to highlight some of the things that he talked about in his book that made a lot of sense to me. Some of these excerpts are his words, but some are not.

That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weakness, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong. 2 Corinthians 12:10

Viktor Frankl (Neurologist and Psychiatrist) says it this way: “Pathology does not only result from stress but also from a relief from stress which ends in emptiness. Lack of tension as it is created by the loss of meaning is as dangerous a threat in terms of mental health as is too high a tension.”

The world’s leading story expert, Robert McKee says the only way you can turn a jerk into a nice guy is through conflict. Conflict is the only way to make a weak man strong, a frightened woman brave, an arrogant person humble and a selfish person altruistic.

Characters do not change when they are content. It’s true in story and it’s true in life.

We value more that which we have to work to attain, and we devalue almost anything that comes easy.

Conflict changes us so when we understand that it becomes less harsh. I want to leave you with two quotes from Storyline that are probably the most troubling and thought-provoking statements in the book so far, at least for me.

As I said before Frankl also proposed suffering ceases to be suffering when we understand it from a redemptive perspective.

But that doesn’t make conflict fun. It’s not fun. It’s just good.

Your Storyline – join the discussion!

Recently I picked up a book/workbook written by Donald Miller, the author of Blue Like Jazz and other very good books. Along with the book comes a free website community called where you can create your story lines and help others with theirs. I have just started to set up my story lines and as part of the process I had to list 5 of my roles in life. Not that their are only 5 roles in my life, I was to list the 5 that I want to start working on right now. The idea is that you will continue to use this process for the rest of your life and complete and add story lines.

Here is the list that the book has for people to choose from:

Spiritual Being
Business Owner
Advocate For…..

For my first five I chose Spiritual Being, Family Member (Son/Brother), Friend, Athlete (no laughing please), Artist. I will talk more about this process when I am finished with the book and let you know what I am working on in my life.

What would your first five roles be?