Jeremy Statton

Living Better Stories

Understanding Why

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If you have chosen to live a better story, then a day will come when you will consider quitting. Giving up. Going home.

And these are the moments when our story hinges on the decision we make. Do you keep moving forward? Or do you walk away?

Knowing that this moment is coming, you can prepare for it. And the best way to keep going is to understand your “why.”

photo by leg0fenris’ (Creative Commons)

The Moment

This past Tuesday, June 26, we received our TA!

TA is adoption lingo for “travel approval.” Receiving the TA means that all of the necessary requirements, all of the certifications, all of the approvals, all of the paperwork are all done. Eva and Jude are our children. They belong to us. We are their family. Their last name is now Statton.

Now it is just time for us to go get them.

Now it is time for the real work to begin.

This is a moment we have been anticipating for 14 months. We have day-dreamed about the day we would board a plane that would cross the pacific.  We have sat in our house and pictured 4 extra little feet running around. We can already hear the 2 more little voices calling us mom and dad.

But when this moment of finality comes, it is overwhelming.

It is so overwhelming, that there is a teeny, tiny voice in the back of our heads telling us to quit. That we are crazy. That this is too much.

Now that the work is imminent, the part of us that wants to remain comfortable is now screaming for us to stop.

This voice is the Resistance.

The Resistance

A better story requires moments like these. You will choose something different. Something unknown. Something incredibly difficult.

The more difficult the better.

But the day will come when the “TA” for your better story arrives.  It is time to board the plane. It is time to go to the orphanage. It is time to begin.

When this moment comes, everything in your being will be telling you to stop. Voices of self-doubt will fill your head.

  • “You can’t do this.”
  • “This is impossible. Who do you think you are kidding?”
  • “It’s not too late to quit. Go home and we can pretend like this never happened.”
  • “You are a fool to even think you can do this. It will never work.”
  • “You are a failure. You are stupid. You are worthless.”

In The War of Art, Steven Pressfield describes the Resistance’s destructive work in our lives this way.

To yield to Resistance deforms our spirit. It stunts us and makes us less than we are and were born to be. If you believe in God (and I do) you must declare Resistance evil, for it prevents us from achieving the life God intended when He endowed each of us with our own unique genius.

Our Why

Don’t worry. My wife and I can’t stop this. We do not want to stop this.

And there is one reason that this resistance we meet in our brains is hushed. There is one reason why we keep moving forward. There is one reason we will add this to our lives even though we believe the screaming voice could be right.

We love these kids.

To walk away from them would be to destroy a part of our own souls. To say no would be the same as giving away one of our biological children.

When times are difficult, when your story hits a rough edge, there is one thing that can keep you going. It isn’t the work you do. It definitely isn’t the “rewards” you might receive.

The only thing that can help you past the Resistance is your “why.”

What is your Why?

Are you stepping into the life that God intended? Or are you stepping into something easier?

Are you doing something that matters? Or are you wasting your life doing something that makes no difference?

Why are you doing what you are doing?

If your work is filled with purpose. If your difficulty has a meaning to it, then you can endure anything. Nothing will stop you. Nothing will get in your way.

Our “why” is love. Could there be any greater why than this?

What is your why? Why have you chosen your current life? Why are you alive?

You can leave a comment by clicking here.

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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47 Replies

  1. Mike Zserdin

    Thanks Jeremy. Our why is, “because meaning isn’t found in more stuff.”

    Off to ride the bike for a while. Good thoughts to process.

    Happy 4th!


  2. A few hours on a bike seems a great way to spend the 4th. Not searching for meaning in more stuff sounds like a great why.

  3. This is awesome. The resistance indeed loves to attack us whenever we do something that we SHOULD be doing. My why is love as well. I just need to do my best to keep that in perspective EVERY day. 

  4. How do you help yourself remember that perspective, Jim.

  5. Great question. By keeping in mind it’s NOT about me (nor does everything revolve around me). It’s about loving others. I do this through helping and serving. Less of me and more of others.

  6. For me it involves doing stuff. Instead of sitting in a church and talking about God’s love, I experience it by loving others. It is incredible. Once you know God this way, you can’t go back. I want to love others more and more.

  7. Totally agree. As a writer, you are serving more than you even know by using your gifts for God’s glory by sharing stories too. I think that’s why I love it; we can serve with our words and our actions as well. Both are needed. 

  8. Jeremy. Great words spoken from a man and father who knows what he is stepping into and he is doing it anyway. Courage and faith that is sparse.

  9. Congrats on the movement forward, Jeremy.  Hope you get to hug your kids soon!   Saw this quote not too long ago and love it “Never quit anything without first pausing to remember why you started in the first place.”  Love conquers the fear and the reservations that so often crop up when we make out of our comfort zone decisions. 

  10. We just returned on Sunday from China with our new daughter Julia. Have been resonating with your posts since the “are you crazy” post that was on “Rainbow Kids”. It is an interesting feeling to set your heart and love on someone unknown and far away. Blessings on your journey to China in a few weeks. 

  11. Awesome Heinrich. And now your hope and love sits in your arm.

  12. tammyhelfrich

    This is so exciting! I am so happy for you. My cousin has adopted two children from China, as well as multiple friends. I absolutely loved hearing about their journeys. You are making a difference. Thanks for your honest post! Happy 4th!

  13. Powerful post Jeremy. 

    The reason many bail out –  on their careers, pursuits, jobs, passions, families e.t.c – is because they didn’t have their ‘why’ in place.

    Many assume that the sheer power of self-will, talent, passions, discipline can power them through anything. The real backbone, the answer which counts in that time of reckoning, is knowing why you are doing it.

    I do what i do because it’s what He’s asked me to – sounds soapy/simplistic :). But that’s the main reason – obedience. He’s broken it down a little further (e.g  helping others and filling His Kingdom with more sons and daughters is my delight). 

    Powerful post. 

  14. DDF

    I like this post a whole lot because of the way it encourages me to be present, to be in the moment, to realize my story, our story, is lived best one moment at a time, one decision at a time.  We get to decide … hopefully to do good, not harm … over and over. 

    Your responses reminds me of where the apostle Paul says, “When the day of evil comes, stand in there.”

    This is how I suddenly see it in my mind’s eye:

    “After you have done everything, Statton, stay at your post.  Be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord.”

    “Yes sir.  Thank you, sir.”

    “One more thing, Statton. It just came up.”

    “What is it, sir.”

    “Get your tail over to China and bring back your children, two of my favorite creations.”

    “On it, sir.”

    “Get them back here and love them and do everything you can to allow them to grow in favor with God and mankind.  Keep making good decisions like this all the days of life.”

    “Thank you, sir.  At your service.  Anything else?”

    “Yes there is, Statton.”  (Smiling)  You’re one of my favorites, too.  You know you’re my boy, don’t you?  I love you.  I am proud of you.  Now go out in that tough old world and have fun and spread the joy.”

    “Ah, thank you, sir.  I’ll be on my way now.  Thank you so much, sir.”

    (More Smiling … lots more smiling).


  15. And hugs. don’t forget the hugs. 

  16. I hoped to convey that I am nervous and a little bit scared. and that it’s okay to be that way. But the scariness doesn’t make me stop because I can’t. Thanks, Ngina.

  17. You can keep up with ours at

    Happy 4th to you too.

  18. I’m not sure I really know, but I’m ready to take the step.

  19. I cannot even begin to imagine the magnitude of your ‘nervous and a little bit scared’.  I don’t have one child. Let alone 6 🙂

    God bless you and continue to increase (ahem) and strengthen you

  20. Bill Jackson

    Thanks for your writings.  They are a blessing.

  21. Thanks for being a part of it Bill.

  22. Great Post 🙂 The why is what I blogged about a few days ago too…I find that it’s so important to keep it in front of me everyday. That I write because I love it, because I’ve been feeling this God-nudge to keep moving forward and because deep down I want to be a life-giver 🙂 That said…I have lived with a lot of resistance especially in the last few weeks…but I’m tackling that scary monster with my WHY:) Big congrats on getting your TA…totally exciting…BTW like their names 🙂

  23. John H Harbison

    Thanks, Jeremy. A very helpful perspective and one I needed to hear in my present situation. God’s blessing as your why becomes the reality.

  24. Glad to help. Thanks for chiming in.

  25. dluna

    We found out a week ago that we did not get consent to adopt the 5 siblings in foster care we have been matched with for 6 months, even though we have had agency abd ICPC approval from both states for a while, visited them for a week 3 months ago, and they have been being prepared to be placed with us.  It seems some information that should have been received by the one man in Michigan who can give consent somehow did not reach him prior to his decision, which can only be appealed by going to court and charging that his decision was arbitrary and capricious.  Our agency is trying to get him to consider the missing information, but we have been told he never changes his mind and that more than 99% of appeals of his decisions fail.  So, probably we have to start all over or give up adopting.  Your story today was inspiring to me as I have been so grieved.  Thank you.

  26. I like the question, “Why have you chosen your current life?” because it’s so difficult to answer. The question, “Have I chosen this?” must be answered before you can dive into the “Why?”


  27. Do you think we choose our lives? Or does the life we live represent something else?

  28. Well, this just got super deep and philosophical. As a Christian, I believe our lives definitely represent Someone else. Yet we choose our steps, the good and the bad.


  29. Sorry about that. I didn’t mean to get too philosophical. It can be easy to ignore the important role we play in our own lives, but it is the only part we can do anything about. I often write about our choices because we can all do a better job making them. Thanks for playing along katie.

  30. Suuuure you didn’t. 😉
    Being intentional in our decisions, time, and energies is vital though often under-valued.Katie

  31. I’m sorry to hear that. Hang in there and keep focusing on your why. You are doing a good work that is worth doing. Maybe you get these 5 kids and maybe you don’t. But hang in there. I will pray for you.

  32. I have chosen my current life consciously to be healthy, happy, and to serve – and by doing so inspire others to do the same.  This precious gift of life, which I hold most sacred, should be lived.  This following verse has taught me to endure, to finish strong:

    “Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize.” – 1 Cor 9:24

    Jeremy, what I love about this post is that you rightly state that we all have those moments we consider quitting, going home.  But all the best stories I’ve read or heard have protagonists that endure, especially in doubt or extreme adversity.  

    Triumph is on the horizon.

  33. I appreciate your last statement. Triumph is on the horizon.

  34. Thanks for this, Jeremy.

    Three months ago, I moved home to the US from South Africa so I could adopt my little girl. All has been a whirlwind and the Resistance, well you know, there have been many, many days. I’m now just days away from my second home visit  and then the home study will be completed and then someday hopefully soon, I’ll get my TA and go get my little girl.

    But today, I need the reminder to battle through the resistance.

  35. She is worth fighting for.

    Your story sounds different. How can I learn more about it?

  36.  Yep, different is a good word for it 🙂

    I’d say easiest way would be to read this post when I first announced:

  37. dluna

    Thank you.  We are praying and contacting people to advocate for us. 

  38. First of all, I love the way you write and express yourself and your authenticity when sharing your struggle with the resistance. I can so relate to this story. After I had adopted four teens from poverty backgrounds and raised them, I thought I was finished.  To make a long story short, the opportunity came to adopt my son’s three siblings (age 13, 14 & 17) from Brazil. At age 60, I was ready to be done raising kids 🙂 but I fell in love with them and love overcame my objections. Now, those three (age 16, 17 and 21) are among my greatest blessings. 🙂 From hopelessness to hope, they are all doing well in school and life. Now I write and speak whenever I have opportunity to encourage others to do the same. And I will share your story to encourage others as well. So many children just need love, guidance and an opportunity.

  39. What a great piece of news regarding your TA!  Congrats to all of your family 🙂

    By the grace of God, I am what I am.

    I believe I was created to help people realize there is more to life than advertised, and to realize that today is the time to take advantage of opportunity.

  40. Jeremy:  Great post and CONGRATULATIONS on your “TA”.  That is an awesome piece of news.  So happy for you and your wife.

    To answer your question:  My “why” is to make the best use of my God-given talents and skills in order that I might build up and encourage others.  And the neat thing about?  As I encourage others, I feel…encouraged to continue.

    Through my writing and public speaking, I will continue to tell people that there is more than the current life.  There is more.  There is better.  There is change.  All of that is contained within each of us.  We just have to find a way to tap it. 

    Once we find that we can do anything we set our minds too, the circle continues and it’s time to ‘pay it forward.’

    One more time:  congratulations on your TA.! Eva and Jude are gonna get a great set of parents.  : – )

  41. Some good food for thought on both sides of this. I’d add, “how much do we choose our lives?” Indeed, it can get very deep digging into that question, but I think a good look is indeed necessary in the journey towards the “why” of one’s life.

    Each of us has had circumstances that we have not been able to control, and, of course, we choose how to respond to those circumstances, even when it seems we have “no choice at all.” Even those circumstances, though, can be affected by choices we’ve made in the past, and by other circumstances, and so forth and so on. It winds up [pun intended] being a woven cord or rope, hopefully with three vital strands: our choices, our circumstances, and our faith in God.

    I’ve gotten into watching some of Science Channel’s geeky-but-practical shows, like “How It’s Made,” “Factory Made,” and “How Do They Do It.” (I haven’t gotten into the weird ones like “Through the Wormhole” just yet.) Anyhow, one of those showed how playground rope was made. They start with thin strands of yarn, and wind them together into bigger strands, which wrap up into bigger strands, and so forth. At one point a “cord” of strips of steel are woven into the mix, to provide flexibility and strength. That steel cord, though, has to be buried in more polymer (nylon, perhaps?) cords so that nobody gets hurt by the steel.

    Our faith in God must be that steel cord, but our lives include the other two wrapped together so tightly that, often, it’s hard to distinguish between the two.

  42. I’m catching up on some reading and this post was just what I need today! I heard from an institution in Serbia welcoming me to come visit them and discuss what their needs are. I’ve filed for a passport, looked at plain tickets and begun working on the details of this trip. Today terror hit my soul! What in the world am I doing. I imagined myself on a loooong plane trip with no turning back. What if I just make a fool of myself. And then the why hit me. It was as if God said, “I want you to be present, don’t miss out on what’s in store.” And I remembered I’m on a holy quest. I want to see Jesus in the suffering. I want to offer tenderness and compassion where I can even if it’s just a quiet prayer or held hand. I want to ask how I can bless. I want to offer me and in the offering I pray I’m really offering Jesus. When that’s the why, money doesn’t really seem to matter, distance is irrelevant, foolishness isn’t possible. Because really either way I win!  

    I’m so looking forward to hearing about your trip and the amazing things you learn on this journey!

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