Miller found out that being authentic was scary. He shares his experience of finding out that he was hiding his true self behind a reactionary construct of humor. He began to understand why he had created the “act” in the first place. He also realized that he had found at a young age that he could get respect from writing. But he began to wonder what it would be like if he dropped the act and began to trust being himself.
Miller takes us through his journey to intimacy, to a deep sense of meaning. He shares the retreat he went to, the counselor he saw, the books he read, the guys he talked to, and the woman who helped him (his then future wife, Betsy).
He shares his breakthroughs and the insights he gained. He recognizes the paradox of relationships. Individuals must be independent and free in order to be with each other. “Intimacy means we are independently together.” (97) He was able to identify manipulation and control. “You can't control somebody and have intimacy with them at the same time.” (95)
Sometimes Miller had to learn lessons that seemed obvious to me. For example, “I'm convinced honest is the soil intimacy grows in.” (168) He does mention that women seem to have an easier time of it than men. So perhaps men will identify with the torturous route Miller took to honesty and intimacy. He owes a great deal to Betsy as she was stability through his journey, even when he acted like a jerk.
This book is not pushy Christian. Miller does share his Christian experience but is also not embarrassed to say he hadn't attended church for over five years. His thoughts will probably resonate with the younger generation who question the value of community worship and fellowship.
People who are discovering who they are might appreciate this book, especially men. It is very experience oriented, as opposed to instructional. Miller just shares his own experiences, lots of his own experiences. I think I know more about him than I ever wanted to. Men may need the type of encouraging experience found in this book. Women might find themselves repeatedly saying, “Well, I already knew that.”
Donald Miller is the author of several books, including the bestseller Blue Like Jazz. He helps people create a life plan at http://www.creatingyourlifeplan.com/ and helps businesses at www.storybrand.com.
Thomas Nelson, 256 pages.