Why Losing Everything Could Be the Best Thing For You

Donald Miller

When you’re writing a screenplay, you normally want to have something happen about fifteen minutes from the end of the story in which everything is lost. All the progress that’s been made for the lead character has to wash down the drain. And then, unless you are writing a tragedy, you figure out a way to redeem the situation in the final minutes.

It’s formulaic, I know, but it works. You’ll find the “all is lost” scene in almost every movie you go see this summer.

The reason is because it increases dramatic tension, but it’s also in the story because so many people can identify with it.

I can remember three seasons in my life in which I felt like all was lost. They were extremely painful. Two of them happened within the same year.

Looking back, though, that year has gone on to form me more than any other. I am a better person in every way because I went through that pain. I’m less cynical, have a stronger work ethic, make better decisions and have a stronger faith because I once lost everything.

*Photo by Michael, Creative Commons

While the “all is lost” moment in life can be painful, it can also be good. There aren’t many major characters in Scripture who don’t lose everything at one point in their lives. And I’m talking about heroic characters. Mary lost her reputation. Job lost his health and his money. Paul lost his position in society and not to mention his life. Moses nearly lost his mind. The list goes on and on.

If you come to a place in your life where you feel like you’ve lost everything, maybe you’re right where God wants you to be.

The trick that pulled me through (I didn’t learn this till the third “all is lost” scene in my life) was to ask myself what I was learning while I was still in pain. The third loss was a business loss, so I kept asking myself how the loss served me. And it served me in many ways. It took away my addiction to possessions and status, it taught me a better way to run my business, it humbled me and helped me become more disciplined in my work.

The Psychologist Viktor Frankl said when we find a redemptive perspective on our suffering, it ceases to be suffering. I believe that’s true.

God is using the “all is lost” season in your life for His purposes. And when we submit to His purposes, any death can be redeemed. He’s living proof of that.

Donald Miller

Donald Miller

Donald Miller is all about story. He helps people live a better story at creatingyourlifeplan.com and grow their business at storybrand.com. Follow Don on Twitter (@donaldmiller). To read more of his posts on the Storyline Blog, click here.