Blue Like Jazz by Donald Miller
"If you don't love somebody, it gets annoying when they tell you what to do or how to feel. When you love them, you get pleasure from their pleasure, and it makes it easy to serve." - Donald Miller
This is why trying on our own to fix ourselves does not work. What changes people is not will power or self control- though these are needed for success, of course. What changes people is love. Love is the thing that grabs you from where you sat comfortably and makes you want to dance, for no reason at all. Love makes you invent movements that no one's ever seen, and allows it to be the most freeing experience ever. When you love someone, you can't think straight. You don't care what anyone says and it consumes the thoughts of your day. Well, this is the way God should capture our hearts. The way we serve him should be irrational. It should make us dance and sing and take great leaps of faith. It should transform our hearts and therefore transform everything else. When we simply see God as a dictator who wants to conquer our lives, we will be so much less likely to serve. When we fall in love and serve, delighting the heart of God brings a joy inexplainable to the soul.
"I am the problem." - Donald Miller
Yes, I am. How easy it is to become consumed with the world's lacking. How easy to see the flaws of society, politicians, our parents, our teachers, or the guy who cuts us off on the interstate. The world will change the day we decide that no one is to blame except for the monster in all of us called SELF. The desire for self is the single most painful thing to our spirit. It blows my mind when I consciously consider my thought processes and the motives to my actions and I find that the core of them all is ME. What things make me happy? Usually the things where I get what I want. When am I impatient? Of course, times when I don't feel like a task, or would rather be somewhere else. This sickens my soul. I pray that God gives me courage to look myself in the face and deny myself at every possible opportunity. I still live so much in light of selfishness. I still allow my pride to swell as I convince myself that someone else is the crazy one, and I am innocent and clueless. I want what I want, and I am often willing to hurt others to get it. It's as simple and blunt as that. I am truly sorry. The more I realize it and seek it, the more God convicts my heart, and I can truly say that in my everyday I am changing.
Also according to Donald Miller, faith is like penguin sex. The female lays the egg and leaves it for the male to sit on while she goes and hunts and does other penguin-y stuff. She comes back precisely on the day the egg hatches. It is like penguin radar. It makes no sense, and yet it is beautiful. He compares this to our faith with God. It is like we all have a radar inside of us that makes us want to love Him and seek Him. It always comes at the perfect time. And it's hard to explain, but something in you feels it, and when you find it, you know that's where you belong.
"Sometimes the things that we want most in life are the things that will kill us." - Donald Miller
It is so sad but true that often the things we think we need or want lead us to destruction. That one guy, the money, the acceptance of our peers.
"You are not above the charity of God."
Miller is so right when he says that is hard for us to accept the grace of God. We love in a society where we often feel we have to measure up, compete, and WIN. But God is so not like that. In fact, a life trying to measure up leads only to pride and exhaustion. Plus, God infinitely cares about even the "stupid" things that bother you, make you cry, or upset you. He cared enough to put exactly that amount of hairs on your head. He counts your tears. HE CARES. We are never beyond his reach, or in need to DO more to earn His love.
"And that's when i realized that believing in God is as much like falling in love as making a decision. Love is both something that happens to you AND something you decide upon. " - Don Miller.
Belief is something that happens, makes sense logically, but also something that convicts us to our core. If we believe something is true, but it doesn't settle past the surface of our skin, then it doesn't really change us, or change anyone around us. It is the difference between having a one night stand and being in love when you have sex and feeling intimacy. The difference between the people who stick it out in a marriage and the ones who just file for divorce. Because feelings will come in and out. Some days you feel things that do not coincide with who you are. Some days you will question God and be ticked at Him, but that does not mean you don't believe. Some days you will want nothing to do with your wife, but that does not mean you don't love her. In those moments, there is more than a feeling. It translates to a decision: do i still want my wife to be here tomorrow? is God bigger than my pain? will I stick this out? If we obeyed how we felt all the time, our lives would be roller coasters without stability. We must fall in love, feel it, experience, but also DECIDE that our cause is worthy of our live's work, sacrifice, and commitment.
"I will love you like God, because of God, mighted by the power of God. I will stop expecting your love, demanding your love, trading for your love, gaming for your love. I will simply love. I am giving myself to you, and tomorrow I will do it again. I suppose the clock will wear thin its time before I am ended at this altar of dying and dying again.
God risked Himself on me. I will risk myself on you. And together, we will learn to love, and perhaps then, understand the gravity that drew Him, unto us" - Donald Miller ( from a play he was writing)
So- this is probably one of the most beautiful things I have ever read. This, I think, is what true love looks like. It is selfless. This is romantic sounding, for sure. But I want to love like this with everyone. On an intimate, self sacrificial way. I want these words engrained on my soul, and may I see them on the forehead of every person I meet. And this is want I want in a marriage, to give and to get. I get butterflies just thinking about it.
"If we are not willing to wake up every morning and die to ourselves, perhaps we should ask ourselves whether or not we are really following Jesus" - Bill from a little bed and breakfast :)
Convicting for sure. I am such a selfish brat, and I know it. I hate it. It's like I watch myself from outside reacting impatiently and rolling my eyes, and I wish I could smack myself, but instead I just sit in my pride and want to be right, so i keep being a brat. And then later I cry and wonder why I keep all this up days and day out. The best explanation is definitely in Romans 7
" 15 For what I am doing, I do not understand. For what I will to do, that I do not practice; but what I hate, that I do."
Stinkin' sin that resides in my flesh. Day by day may His blood surely wash you away. I resist dying, but I want it so badly.
"I don't think there is any better worship than wonder" -Don Miller
I think I feel the closest to God in the midst of my own smallness. When I come to see how big he is. The mystery of it all. And then that He loves me in a special, personal, way- it makes me glow from the inside out. Makes me blush and dance and sing and wave my hands in the air like I am His biggest fan. And I just want to touch His robe to get a taste of his Awesomeness. It feels good.
"The first generation of slavery invented jazz music. It is a music birthed out of freedom. And that is the closest thing I know to Christian spirituality. A music birthed out of freedom. Everybody sings their song the way they feel it, everybody closes their eyes and lifts up their hands."- Don Miller
I soo dig this guy's metaphors. Christianity is a celebration of freedom. There's nothing more to say.
In closing, I love this book too. Don is a funny guy. He is witty and honest and simple and deep. he presents God and humanity in a refreshing, non- religious sounding way. He's a keeper.