Jeremy Statton

Living Better Stories

3 things to remember when your story becomes difficult

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At some point in your story, you will find yourself in the Pit.

You will be surrounded by impossibility. The stench of failure will fill your nose. You will sit in the cold, wet darkness and wonder what you did wrong. How did you get here? Why did you even try?

You will give serious consideration to giving up, going back home, and living the same old story that everybody else lives.

A the bottom of the pit lies the remnants of dreams long since given up on.

When the day of the pit comes, you will be overwhelmed, but if you recognize it for what it is, you can survive it.

photo by phill.d (Creative Commons)

There are 3 things you must realize about this lonely place of despair.

The Pit is Necessary

The definition of a great story is overcoming difficulty to do good. The more incredible this good, the more incredible your story will be.

Some view helping old ladies across the street as good. It is. Please continue.

But there are some of us who want something more out of our story. There are those who view selling all that they have, moving to a developing country, and rescuing girls from underage prostitution as good.

The more incredible the story, though, the more difficult it is to overcome the obstacles.

If you help old ladies across the street, the pit you face is rather shallow. Maybe the old lady is ungrateful. Maybe the groceries are a bit heavy.

But if you go farther with your story, then the pit is deep.

Try to rescue girls from pimps and the challenges are immense. Lack of success. A government that functions primarily through bribes. Angry pimps trying to kill you. Who wouldn’t turn around?

Enter the pit. Don’t avoid it. Recognize it as an opportunity to make your own story better.

The pit is a sign that you are on the right track.

The Pit is both Hard and Good.

Even though it is necessary, the pit is still a very hard place to be. Don’t give up. Keep forging ahead.

Even when we expect it, its severity can still surprise us.

You may be struggling to raise enough support for your nonprofit. When you check your blog traffic stats, you may hear the sound of grasshoppers chirping. The little bell on the front door of your brand new store may be silent, but don’t give up.

This time period of the pit is when incredible personal growth can occur, if you persevere.

The mark of our character isn’t exhibited during times of success.

It is most evident when you sit in the midst of the pit, but still manage to keep going. To show up to do the work. To keep taking small but daily steps.

When you finally climb out, you won’t be the same person.

I know it’s easy to say now, but the pit is good. Eventually you will be thankful for it.

The Pit will End.

The Pit does not last forever. It may take days, hours, or even years, but it will end.

One of the lies it will tell you is that the Pit is immortal.

When we are siting in the middle of it, it certainly seems like it will last forever.

But the Pit has a lifespan and if you stick with your story, if you keep putting one foot in front of the other,  you can out live it.

Am I promising success? It depends on your definition. If you make it through, if you change for the better, then in my mind you have succeeded.

And if you succeed in this way, then you will be even more prepared to continue writing your story. Armed to do more battle.

You will be ready to enter an even deeper pit.

Have you experienced the pit? Have you suffered trying to live a better story? Tell us in the comments.

About Jeremy Statton

Jeremy is a writer and an orthopedic surgeon. When not ridding the world of pain, he helps you live a better story. Follow him on Twitter or Facebook or Google +.

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15 Replies

  1. I’ve definitely been in the pit.  About a year and a half ago, I was full bore into the pit.  Over the past year, I have emerged, and I can echo your points above.  Praise God for the pit, and praise God that I’m not in the pit right now.

  2. Mark

    Jeremy, thanks again for your post.  If you recall I commented on your post about how God pushed me from my job and is walking me across the bridge.  I’m still on that journey but yesterday I discovered a pit on the bridge.  I entered into the valley of despair feeling like the odds of unemployment were against me.  But this morning God spoke to me through the story of Daniel and your post.  You see I’m a believer and in a position of leadership within our church.  My life story is on view for many to see and when I read about Daniel and the story of the lion’s den I realized that we all have stories that God wants to use to reveal himself in great ways.  After Daniel survived the night with the lions, King Darius proclaimed that Daniel’s God rescues, saves, and performs signs and wonders in the heavens and on the earth. 
     God reminded me that through our stories He can be lifted on high for all to see.  I appreciate your reminder that though the pit is difficult, on the other side is a story in the making that will be worth the struggle. 

  3. I actually had Joseph in mind when I wrote this, but Daniel works too. It’s a great story. Daniel was definitely in a pit. He had no promise that God would save him. Even if the lions had eaten him, I’m sure that Daniel would not have traded his story today. The pit ended, either through the lions mouths being shut or the lions eating him, but it would have ended. Hang in there, Mark. The key to the pit is whether or not God is with you. He does love you and he is good. Somehow that intersects with your pit. I don’t know how, but it does. 

  4. We would never read a book without conflict, so why would we want to live that way? Thanks for this great reminder. A year ago I was at the bottom of what seemed the deepest, darkest pit of all time. It forced me to confront the questions I didn’t want to answer in my life, and at the end of it, I quit my job, broke the lease on my apartment, and decided to focus on writing and rely more on God. Today I can tell you that that pit was the best thing that ever happened to me. I’m happier, more fulfilled, closer to God, and ready for even deeper pits to come. 

  5. Thanks for sharing your story. it adds so much to the post.

  6. Thank goodness the pit doesn’t last forever – I am in a pit with the ending of my story, so went back to the beginning to tighten prose and move things around that I want changed.  Figure, while in a pit, keep working.  

  7. Absolutely. It’s the only way out. Work and time.

  8. Carey Rowland

    There are plenty of resources down here in the pit that will ultimately prove beneficial; but we do have to dig for them. Faith, patience, perseverance is what God requires; not success, because that is His department. Thanks for the encouragement.

  9. Great point. We learn about a faith that matters in the pit.

  10. I am the man who squandered his blessing and hurt other people as a result. I fell to my knees, re-committed myself to God, yet still went to prison. I have come through on the other side with a new sense of purpose, meaning, and renewed dedication to His calling on my life, but still the pit remains. My job now? Let God use me where I am. Shine His light wherever I go in boldness that can only come from Christ. When will it end? Doesn’t matter. I do Gods will now, bringing hope to those who need it most- those lost and hurting souls who feel most alone.

  11. It sounds like you have a different perspective, one that will help you do what you have said, to help those that are hurting. Thanks for sharing, Zack.

  12. Thank you for sharing this post. I am currently going through a “pit” as I have been without a job for almost 10 months now. It’s been a tough road and I know it will eventually come to end, but when you are in the thick of it, it is hard to remember that sometimes.

  13. Wow. That must be tough. Hang in there, Scott.

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