Jeremy Statton

Living Better Stories

What To Do When Your Story Exposes Your Weakness

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Better stories are not about greatness or about winning. Better stories, when told well, will expose our weaknesses.

When you choose to pursue a life that is more than anything you have ever done, you will become overwhelmed. You will become vulnerable. You will experience helplessness.

Incredible stories show us how little we can really do.

My wife and I the day a stranger gave us our daughter.

An Adoption Story

My wife and I experienced this feeling of inability when adopting two kids from China.

Let me give you an picture into what it is like picking up a complete stranger you begin calling your child.

After the 14 hour flight from Detroit to Shanghai, you find yourself in a strange country with people who speak a strange language and eat strange food. You soon get on another plane to travel to the city where your child unknowingly awaits you.

After a quick run to the hotel, you climb into a van with complete strangers. They take you to a building that looks like all the other massive buildings in a country with a love affair for height.

You take a crowded elevator to the 22nd floor. You follow one stranger into a room where you meet another stranger. Then yet another stranger hands you a four year old girl.

That’s it.

This frightened, Chinese-speaking, confused little girl is now your daughter.

You recognize her immediately. She seems to recognize you from the ten pictures you sent her, but she doesn’t seem to care too much. After all, it works both ways. To her you are only a stranger. And she never requested that you become her parents.

Papers are signed. Finger prints are smudged. Money is exchanged.

And then you drive away in the same van with the same strangers. But now one of them, thankfully a small one, is sitting in your lap.

The Weakness

You know nothing about her. You don’t understand what she is saying. She doesn’t understand what you are saying.

This poor orphaned girl, who has never known love, having been abandoned at birth, is now asked to start over. To move to a foreign country with two people she just met. To begin an unnatural process. Attaching to a stranger.

Strangers must become a family. Two adults become parents. A little girl becomes a daughter. When you arrive home, other little kids become siblings. Where do you begin?

There is a part of me that believes that I can do most anything. I believe I can accomplish. I believe I can win. But with this little girl, I have met my match. The job is overwhelming. The work is too much.

I feel helpless. Weak. Unable. Inadequate.

I don’t know how to do this. I feel as if I can’t do this. But there is too much at stake to walk away.

Such are better stories.

A Response to Our Weakness

In our weakness, there are two ways to respond. To give up. Or to work harder.

Giving up isn’t an option. It just isn’t.

But those who choose to work harder (my typical approach) often hurt those that get in their way. Their goal becomes more important than the people around them. Their determination propels them forward even it means stepping on toes.

But there is a third option.

The third option is to trust.

Trust in something bigger. Trust God. Trust the process. Trust others who have gone before. Trust each other. Trust love.

How do we Trust?

  • Trust involves believing in the value of the work.
  • Trust involves accepting what is. And trust loves in spite of what is lacking.
  • Trust requires hope, believing that what is can and will change.
  • Trust results in vulnerability. It admits our weakness. It opens the possibility of being hurt.
  • Trust allows time to mature the story into something tangible.

Trust is hard. It isn’t natural simply because it admits our weakness. We feel that if we are weak, then we are less.

But trust is the only way to keep going when the story seems too much. (Tweet that.)

Have you ever felt your own weakness? What helps you to trust?

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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15 Replies

  1. Great post, Jeremy. Thinking back on God’s faithfulness when I am in times of weakness always helps to remind me what a big God I serve. (Eph 3:20) And, yes, the stories where people share their weaknesses are ones I seem to gravitate toward. It reminds me that I am not alone.

    1. All of us are weak, we just have to take down our illusions suggesting otherwise.

  2. Jeremy, thank you for what you are doing for a beautiful orphaned-turned-daughter. Thank you for trusting, even on the days when it seems more hard than heroic.

    1. Thanks, Katie. Did you go to Guatemala with Jeff? I almost did and wish I could have.

      1. I did. I wish you would have! It was great, in the hard sense.

        1. Well, instead I’m going with Bob Goff to Uganda next month.

          1. Picking between those two would have been a hard choice!

  3. Mike Zserdin

    Thanks Jeremy. For sharing all you’re doing, learning and being vulnerable. It inspires us to move forward.

  4. DDF

    Great post about your own transparency. Trust and love and Hope and authenticity are all jumbled together in your life and that spurs me on to love and good deeds.

    1. I wish there was more trust and love and hope, but this is how we get more, by being weak.

  5. Sabine

    Thank you Jeremy for sharing this moment of weakness… “We feel that if we are weak, then we are less.” But we only feel so, because when we are weak, God’s glory can shine through us! Wish you great time with your daughter.

  6. Jeremy. so true. Good words from a good man.

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