I was reading Don Miller’s book A Million Miles in a Thousand Years and there was something in the book that has fascinated me for months. The whole theme of the book is on living a better story, and to live a better story, you have to face the fears that keep you from living a better story. Because most people don’t live a great story. It is sad to say, but most people do not live a great story. What is truly sad, is that there are many glimmers of hope that they will live a great story through their college years. But so many find themselves inert, stuck in a story of lifeless adventure.
Many times, this isn’t just the choice they make in the present. Rather, it is the choice they make in the past that defines much of where they are in life. Here’s the fascinating portion of the book. It is probably fascinating to me because I’ve seen this so much over the past few years.
Don talks about women who are in abusive relationships. Most women who are in abusive relationships may end up breaking up with someone, but they go back to the abusive relationship. Or the next one they go to is abusive. And the one after that is abusive. And the one after that.
Why does this happen? The research says that the answer is found in security. Not insecurity. But the answer has to do with security. People, women especially, find security in what is familiar. And although they may hear that they deserve better, that no should treat them in that way, the majority of women will continue to go back to what is familiar instead of what is right. For whatever reason, the familiar way of life makes them feel secure.
I will spread this thought to a greater audience than just the realm of an abusive relationship. Over the past six years of my life, I’ve seen a lot of great girls get into relationships with guys that didn’t treat them bad, nor did they treat them good. These guys were passive, and the girl found herself struggling in the relationship. Frustrated. Worn out. Her questions still unanswered. Because most of the time, girls questions were not answered by her father growing up.
The questions? My counselor was teaching a class a few weeks ago. He said girls have the primary question, “Am I lovely? Am I beautiful? Am I worthy? Am I worth pursuing?”
So she learns something over time. She learns how to operate around passive men. In a strange way, her new boyfriend’s passivity can make her feel comfortable because it is what she has known her entire life. So she feels security because she is in the same situation she’s always been in.
But deep down, she isn’t satisfied because the questions remain unanswered. He never makes a claim on her. He doesn’t invite her into a better story. They just simply exist together. (Does it make sense why so many divorces happen in the first few years of marriage in America today?)
I’ve known some girls over the past few years who got engaged, and the celebration of a marriage turned into an obsession of a wedding. That was all they talked about for months. All they could think about. All they planned for.
Some of you will not like this parallel because you will say that one is love and one is work, but over the past few months, I’ve been working relentlessly on a conference. Hours and hours and hours of work put in. Late night planning. Promotions. Invitations. I was so excited for people to come to the conference, and people came and we had a great time on the weekend.
Then the weekend was over, and life was suddenly back to normal. Except I didn’t quite know what normal was when I woke up on Monday because the thing I had been working on for so long with all my energy wasn’t here anymore. I now just had the reality to live in that we taught and worked on at the conference. I think this is how it is for a lot of girls with weddings.
Because they prepared for a wedding, not a marriage.
What if a girl expect a thing to answer the questions that have remained unanswered for so long? A thing like a ceremony. A thing like a cake, punch, gifts, dance, bouquet, garter, and honeymoon.
Or even a ring.
What if a ring doesn’t answer the questions? Maybe that’s why marriages end so quickly. Because the questions remain unanswered.
We sprint to a thing that will answer our questions, but a ring never will. A person sometimes can. Sometimes, I think only God can.
I just know that it isn’t easy to have the deep questions inside of you answered. The questions aren’t answered overnight. They’re not answered in a moment. They’re not answered in a ceremony. They’re not answered in a ring. Or a thing.
What is familiar often isn’t what is right. And to pursue security above all else will often not benefit your future, because security comes in what is familiar to you, and if what is familiar isn’t good, healthy, true and beautiful, then you will likely live a story that you never desired.
I don’t know about you, but I want to live a good story. I suppose we’ll see what happens.