in praise of staying put

I love Don Miller. He inspires and challenges me (even when we don’t agree).

Of course, that makes it sound like we’ve talked. We haven’t. I’ve read.

The other day, I was thinking about interviewing hm, about questions I would ask him if I had the opportunity. I was thinking about the new things he talked about doing in A Million Miles in a Thousand Years: What I Learned While Editing My Life. I was thinking in particular about asking him what he learned from starting a nonprofit.

And then I wondered what would someone learn from not starting something new?

I’m not arguing with Don. Not at all. The point of his book is that it’s worthwhile to look at the story your life is telling. If you don’t like that story, start rewriting it.

What is easy to do when reading that is to think it necessary to make some huge change. Ride a bike across the country. Start a new organization for mentoring kids. Learn about story. Write a book.

But what if  rewriting your story means staying put? What if it means learning to love more carefully and thoughtfully the people you already love? What if it means learning that the opposite of complacent may not be ambitious or accomplished, it may be content? What if it meant that the opposite of mere busy-ness may not be focused activity, it may be stillness. What if rather than starting a new project or business or campaign, maybe it means finishing the old one well?

In writing to his apprentice Timothy, Paul reviews what can happen when people get consumed and then says, “But you, man of God, flee from all this, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness.” (1 Timothy 6:11).

Sometimes pursuing happens by faithfully staying.

(That link to the book is an affiliate link. I stand to gain a bit if you buy the book through that link. But, of course, you gain more. I did.)

6 thoughts on “in praise of staying put

  1. Mimi Meredith

    Now you’re telling my story! 🙂 Blooming Where You’re Planted…it’s the name of my book, it’s the best advice my mother ever gave me (well, some of the best–I had an amazing mother), the title of one of my workshops and the story of my life. Wherever you go, there you are. So where you are, pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness.


  2. Nolan Bobbitt

    Wow, what a great insight. I loved Don’s book, but the life story I am re-writing is actually one I would prefer to hear someone else tell. My college degree is in pastoral studies and I went to seminary. I have served three different churches over the last 15+ years. Our last church situation became toxic so rather than trolling for another ministry job while punching the clock at that church, I resigned and we moved back home with my wife’s parents. We have been here 3 years. A pastoral door has not opened and I work at the neighborhood Starbucks where I bust my tail to bring home a wage that is about 20% of what I made when working for a church.
    I would much rather run off and chase a grand adventure. It sounds much more exciting. But is there anything more noble and beautiful than doing whatever it takes to provide for your wife and daughter in the best way that you can?
    Your post is a huge encouragement to me today. Thanks for sharing your unique perspective!


  3. brenda mangalore

    wow. I’ve been a little worried about my intense interest in personal development. I can get consumed with searching for the next change to ‘be better, be more’
    I love your thought. What if instead of starting more things, what if instead of pursuing for the horizon, I finish a project, I stay still so I can reflect and allow time to grow. What if I just stayed where I am as a way to pursue the change I’m seeking?
    thanks again for great thought & perspective Jon!


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