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Quotes from Donald Miller’s Scary Close

I read Scary Close a few weeks ago and enjoyed it immensely. I have never had the privilege of reading Donald’s other books, so I will leave the all the critical evaluation to those who’ve read them and how they compare to this one.

But in this book, Donald leads in a conversation about his personal journey of painful and failed relationships. For most of his life, he had lived, pretending to be something he wasn’t, hoping to impress people in order for them to like him. But at age forty he began to discover the freedom of being himself and the rewards of taking of his masks.

If you want intimacy in your relationship, a healthy mind, a strong family and a satisfying career, Donald invites your to drop the act, be yourself and connect with more people. In this post, I want to share a few quotes that really made this book stand out in a significant way. Enjoy!

Distracting noises of insecurity:

“Applause is a quick fix, and love is an acquired taste.”

“You need somebody who is more in love with you and not just impressed by you.”

“What if we are designed as sensitive antennas, receptors, to receive love, a longing we often mistake as a need to be impressive? What if some of the most successful people in the world got that way because their success was fueled by a misappropriated need for love? Whet if the people we consider to be great, are actually the most broken.  And what if the whole time they are seeking applause, they are missing out on true intimacy? Because they never learned to receive it.”

You are good at relationships:

“We cannot let our failures define us.”

Everybody’s got a story and it’s not the one they’re telling

“Heroes are almost always screw ups.”

“The strongest character in a story isn’t the hero, it’s the guide.”

“Shame causes us to hide, and the more we hide, the harder it is to be known to connect.”

“Sometimes the story we are telling the world isn’t half as endearing the one that lives inside us.”

Why some animals make themselves bigger

“Sometimes when some animals felt threatened they make themselves bigger.”

“Drop the act.”

Three things I learned from relationship from swimming in a pond

“Those of us who are never satisfied with our accomplishments, secretly believe, no body will love us unless we are perfect.”

“Flaws are the way we receive grace. “our flaws are the glue that binds us to the people we love.” grace only sticks to our imperfections. Those who cannot accept their imperfection cannot accept Grace either.

Performance anxiety in real life

“Somewhere along the line, we buy into the lie “we only matter if:” we are strong, smart, or attractive.”

The people we choose to love

“We become like the people we hang out with.”

“Healthy relationships happen best between healthy people.”

“A lot of people damage their lives by mistaken enablement for grace.”

“The manipulator is the loneliest person in the world. And the second, is the one being manipulated. Unless we are honest with each other we can’t connect, we can’t be intimate.”

“If you want to make a sad person happy, start by planting them in a community of optimist.”

“90 percent of people’s problems cam be prevented, if they chose healthier people to give their hearts to. A healthy person coupled with an unhealthy person, will still result in an unhealthy relationship.  (john Cotton Richman)

Control freak

“Change only come when we face the difficulty of reality head on. Fantasy changes nothing. That’s why when we are done fantasizing, it feels like a bankrupt story.”

“The root of sin is the desire for control… the root of control is fear. To love somebody is to give them the power to hurt you. Controlling people are loneliest people in the world.”

“When two people are entirely and completely separate, they are finally compatible to be one. Nobody’s self worth lives with inside another person. Intimacy means, we are independently together.  True intimacy is the one thing we all want, but must give up control to get. (Henry Cloud)

Manipulative people

  • The score keeper: Harriet Braker said manipulators see the world as a zero sum game.
  • The judge: when the judge person is a judge will use the bible to manipulate people
  • The false hero: manipulate by leading others to feel like they have something better to offer than they do.
  • The fear monger: they rule by making others suffer the consequences of insubordination. fear mongers love to use the word loyalty.
  • The flapper: over dramatizes their victim-hood in order to gain sympathy and attention. nobody need a judge or score keeper lording their faults over them.


“You will be surprised how easy it is to convince the american people that a perfectly good man is demon.”

“God is a fan of people connecting and the enemy of God is a fan of people breaking off into paranoid tribes. And all the clinging pots and pans in the kitchen to scare people from the territory we feel compelled to defend is playing into the hands of dark forces. A lot of the shame based religious and political methodology has more to do with keeping people contained than with setting them free.”

“God created you so that people could enjoy you, not just endure you.”

The risk of being careful

“How else can we connect to people unless we let them know us.” Bill Oakey

“The wish they had the courage to live a life true to themselves.”

“Remarkably, the most common regret of the dying was this: they wish they’d had the courage to live a life true to themselves and not the life others expected of them.”

“Learn to preemptively forgive.”

“The powerful, most attractive person we can be  is who we already are. An ever becoming being that is coming and would never arrive. But have opinions of what is seen along the journey.”

“Martha Graham, each of us is unique and if we didn’t exist, something in the world would be lost.”

Great parents do this well

“The stuff it takes to be intimate is authenticity, vulnerability and the belief that other people are about as bad and good as you are.”

“A safe person is a person who speaks truth in grace.”

“Parents who are open and honest with their kids create and environment in which are allowed to be human. Sadly, parents who hide their flaws, unknowingly, create an environment where kids feel the need to hide. What children really need is somebody who can show them it’s okay to be human.”

“We don’t have to pretend to be perfect.”

“If we live behind a mask, we can impress, but we can’t connect.”

The stuff to a meaningful life

“Relationships have a way of stabilizing when in motion until then, they just feel like a road-trip to nowhere.”

“Have a project to work on, some reason to get out of bed in the morning and preferably something that serves other people. Have a redemptive perspective on life’s challenges. That is, when something difficult happens, recognize the ways that difficulty also serves you. Share your life with a person or people who love you unconditionally.”

You will not complete me

“Co-dependency – happens when to much of your sense validation or security comes from somebody else. if somebody obsessive about whether somebody likes them or returns an email or whatever, it is a symptom . Stalking is an extreme.”

“How many relationships have been ruined by two people attempting to squeeze the Jesus out of each other. I don’t know if there is a healthier way for two people to stay in love than to stop using each other resolve their unfulfilled longings and instead start holding each closely as they experience them.”

The place we left our ghost

“Love is a decision, it is as much something you made happen, as it was something that happen to you.”

“The path to join souls in love must of necessity involve a crucifixion.”

“We are never going to be perfect in love, but we can get close. and the closer we get the healthy we will be. love is not a game any of us can will, it’s just a story we can live and enjoy. it’s a noble ambition to add a chapter to the story of love and to make our chapter a good one. We don’t think about how our love stories will affect the world, but they do: Children learn what’s worth living for and what’s worth dying for by the stories they watch us live.”

By the way, to conclude, thank God for Betsy!

This entry was posted in: relationship


There are three things I think about every moment of everyday... they consume me deeply. How to: 1. Refine my theological understanding 2. sharpen my ethical rigor 3. and heighten my devotional intensity. These are the things I write about. Welcome you to my blog... Join me on this incredible journey of exploration and discovery of all the things God has in store for His children. Join by following or subscribing. I appreciate your thoughts, comments and friendship. Walter


  1. I can’t believe the timing of this! I recently posted something on FB about a book I just read – Love Does, by Bob Goff. A friend commented that I should read Scary Close, and that it was written by Bob Goff’s best friend! Thanks for sharing all of the highlights. If you haven’t read Love Does, I would highly recommend it. It is excellent!

    Liked by 1 person

    • you are right, Donald and Bob are close friends and from what I hear and incredible guy. I have plans to read Bob’s book Love Does before the summer is over. I am sure I will enjoy reading it – since Donald highly recommends it too. I promise, you will enjoy Scary Close.
      Thanks for the comment and recommendation. I will let you know when I finish reading it, maybe we can write a blog post about it when I’m done? Stay blessed!


  2. Very interesting! Is there any room for exceptions To thèse rules…for people that are simply good at what they genuinely love To do? Vs. Use it as a hiding place?

    Sent from my iPhone


    Liked by 1 person

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