Show #391: The story that matters most – from John Eldredge

Show #391: The story that matters most – from John Eldredge

What story matters most? What story is most relevant for you? For your family? For humanity? Could it be your own? Wait, did you know your life was a story? Do you realize the only way to make sense of and succeed in life is to understand, embrace, and fully live out your story? And last, if this is new to you, what do you do today to tangibly step into this story? Listen in as legendary author, counselor and teacher, John Eldredge, gives us a story -- on story.

Welcome back to the Ziglar show! This is episode 391 and today I bring you John Eldredge, whose new movie, A Story Worth Living, goes live in theaters for a one-day only viewing on Thursday, May 19, 2016. Go to to see where it will be showing near you. The movie is AN ADVENTURE STORY ABOUT THE ADVENTURE OF LIVING. This show with John digs into the vital necessity for all of us to understand and fully embrace our own stories. And live epic lives.

So, folks, I just completed an incredibly convicting interview with John Eldredge, discussing his new movie, A Story Worth Living, that hits theaters for one night only, Thursday, May 19, 2016. Go quickly to to find where it’s showing near you. If you hear this show after the fact, go to and see how and when you can catch the film.

I was greatly impacted by John Eldredge’s book, Wild at Heart, over 15 years ago. It’s become a spiritual classic to every degree. I’ve attended some of his events, and even some small group gatherings at his Ransomed Heart offices, as he lives and works just down the mountain from me.

If you are not familiar with John Eldredge, he’s an author, a counselor, and a teacher. His books, including Wild at Heart, have sold more than eight million copies. His latest book is Moving Mountains: Praying with Passion, Confidence, and Authority. John wrote and directed this documentary, A Story Worth Living, which follows Eldredge and companions, including his three sons, on an eight-day motorcycle trip. Riding BMW GS800s off-road through the back country, their adventures and conversation get to the heart of what it means to live one’s story. John is the president of Ransomed Heart Ministries in Colorado Springs, Colorado, a ministry devoted to helping people discover the true heart of God. It has become a grassroots phenomenon with millions of followers. For more information, visit

And, folks, if you get value from this discussion John and I have about Story, please leave a review on iTunes that will inspire others to listen in. I’m actually going to get in the habit of asking for feedback on particular shows. Our interviewees often ask how their interview was received. We can claim tens of thousands of downloads, but unless you specifically testify to them and their topic, they don’t know. So go to iTunes and leave a rating and review, and mention how this show with John benefitted you. We’ll share it with him and he’ll be blessed!
Ok, now I proudly give you this incredible interview with…John Eldredge:

John, we’ve never officially met or talked, but we have history. Or, at least, I do with you. I read your blockbuster book, Wild at Heart, maybe 15 years ago. It was very confirming and inspiring for me, and it impacted my wife, somewhat regarding me, but even more so towards my oldest son, who was maybe four or five at the time, the first of our now four boys. We lived in Franklin, Tennessee, at the time. Twelve years ago we moved to Woodland Park, Colorado. I’ve been neighbors and good friends with Jon Dale, one of the main characters in this movie we’re talking about today; same with Justin Lukasavige who helped promote the movie. I went to one of your boot camps a couple years ago, at Jon’s urging, with a best friend of mine. I’ve attended five or six of your gatherings at Ransomed Heart with my oldest son, and my wife attended Captivating two years ago and had a life-changing car wreck on the way home.

All that to say…it’s a real treat to talk with you today and bring you to the Ziglar audience!

>>Listen to the show

So, your clan sent me a sneak peak of the movie. I watched it just a couple nights ago. It’s about…story. One of my favorite topics. I’ve given away cases of Donald Miller’s book, A Million Miles in a Thousand Years, as he homes in on story in a…for me…anchoring and truthful way.

Your movie here fired me all up again! I want to drill down into, honestly…many of the statements made by you and your cohorts within the movie.

To start off at 10,000 feet, I’ll ask…why? So many facets of humanity and need and truth to give focus and attention to. What drove you to this devotion to lifting up…the dire importance of story?

>>Listen to the show

The narrative of the movie starts right off with, “Everyone is looking for a story worth living. When we give up looking for that story, we give up living. Story is how we make sense of our lives.”

I love a good story, John. People describe me as a visionary, as I’m generally looking forward and seeing a story play out that I want to take action towards.

But two things stand out for me, and I want to get your feedback.

One is just that -- my propensity to looking forward. I can’t think of any epic story that is only forward, without a backstory. But, conversely, there is no story in a backstory only, without any forward fruition. In my own journey, I reached a critical point until I took counsel from a guy who took me into my backstory.

Am I tracking right, in that to understand and formulate our stories, we must both understand our backstory and have a vision for the future?

>>Hear John’s responses on the program

It was through some other incredible counsel with a close friend, Jonathan Pool, who led me through Tom Paterson’s LifePlan. Jonathan has also done work with Dan Allender, another of the guys in your movie. But he helped me graph my life out as an actual story.

The exercise and paradigm alone were dramatic in simply, AND complexly, seeing my life as a story. And coming to grips with the gravity of it. I’m not just a spectator. I am a character in a story. One that either matters, or not. One that has value, or not. One that is worthy, or not.

How do you direct people to literally conceive of and begin to craft, the reality of their life as a story?

>>Hear John’s remarks on the program

Another line from the beginning narrative is, “The human heart is made for an epic story.”

I looked up epic, as I like words, and it cites: the deeds and adventures of heroic or legendary figures.

I’m pained when people discount a truth, due to a misperception. I agree with Zig’s quote that “God don’t make no junk,” and being epic is not only for a few and the rest are mere peons. How can you help us all embrace the opportunity and reality we all have for…epic-ness? As it can sound daunting.

>>Listen to the show

In your movie, one of the characters, Dan Allender, said, “We don’t remember cognitively as well as we do narratively.”

We live in a world of “step by step” and “The 5 keys for…” whatever. We voraciously devour them. However, that voraciousness pales in comparison to how we devour and crave…story.

Would you say that…all the step-by-step and numbered keys to this and that are only relevant if we can insert and assign them to our cognizant personal story? And in some way, I guess…our goals, as Zig was so focused on?

> >Hear the program

So, to the movie itself. a one-night-only at selected theaters across the country on May 19, 2016, go to the site to see where it is for you! I found it in eight theaters here in Colorado Springs.

You, in essence, went on an adventure to experience and even dissect…story.

Dan Allender said it was, “Wild, foolish, beautiful, and bold.” And that the trip was “a time of self-discovery, danger, triumph, and joy for the men, in regard to the skill, drama, danger, beauty…”

And, “Adventure is taking on something you’ve never, ever done before.”

John, our listeners are used to hearing me harp a good bit on our culture that seems bent on safety, security and comfort.

In this movie, as in your overall message, you are calling us to, I’ll list them all out:


and engage in

and that true adventure is doing something we’ve never done before.

Bring this home to all of us, amidst the lives we are leading, what is your call to action to tangibly bring adventure into our lives and be crafting…a worthy story? While we also deal with the reality of our day-to-day lives…filled with work, the grind, paying bills, caring for family, dealing with the check engine light on the car, and planning the family vacation?

>>Hear John’s responses on the show

To dig into this more, in Wild at Heart you say that our desire as humans is for adventure and battle, something epic.

We live in America, land of the free and the brave, right? You and I in Colorado. Gateway to the West. History calls it “the Wild West.” We ventured in, brave and bold and daring! Pioneers! Cowboys! Kickin’ butts and takin’ names!

But in the same history there is the slogan of…taming the West. Then we have the…settlers. What a disheartening term that is!

So…we tamed the land and settled. Great. Now we get irate that we lost the stinkin’ remote and have to actually walk over to the TV to change the channel!

There isn’t much challenge, John. Not much battle. I know we can get into spiritual warfare and the absolute war that IS going on. But there was great benefit to the times when battle and survival were as literal and visceral as…fists and guns and the elements and starvation.

How do we tap into this in our dramatically affluent world where, to a great degree, it’s only hard if we make it so?

>>Listen to the show

The word anesthetize is mentioned in the movie. How do you see this playing out in regards to story, or, of course…when we DON’T live in a recognizable story?

>>Hear John’s comment on the show

Taking more from the movie, “Most good stories start like this, ordinary people getting swept up into something extraordinary.” And, “Story isn’t something you write, it’s something that finds you.”

Again, most of us aren’t in any position to be swept into -- or be found by -- much of anything, because we are so sheltered. Is there not some aspect of proactively exposing ourselves to the opportunity and possibility of being…swept or found?

>>Hear the show

In the movie you cite sociologist Neil Postman as saying, “The story our culture has been given is the story of accident. That the universe began by an accident and will probably end by an accident. For most people, the accidental life is not worth living. You don’t want your life story to be an accident.”

We admittedly have a majority of our audience as faith-based people. People who believe in a Divine Creator. Which, by proxy, would have you to assume they believe they were made with a divine purpose, not by accident. But…as quoted by Billy Sunday, “Going to church doesn’t make you a Christian any more than going to a garage makes you an automobile.”

In that light, I don’t know even many Christians living with true, tangible purpose.

Which just feels like it leaves us on the precipice of a crisis of faith. And back to…story. Hundreds of thousands are going to see this film. Some will feel called to embrace their story, and many will…not. They’ll be inspired, but let it pass by. From a believer’s standpoint though…it doesn’t seem that can even be an option. Your thoughts? Will you speak to this?

>>Hear John’s comments on the show

The end of the movie brings out this quote from you, that “The turning point of a good story is the rescue. The hope that your story can turn out differently.”

And, “A story is only as good as its ending.”

Dan Allender then says, “It’s so obvious we are made for restoration.”

What is the charge and hope we should take from these statements?

>>Hear John Eldredge’s closing comments on the show