“Goodbye is a necessary life skill.” – from Beth Moore’s book, Get Out of That Pit
Indeed. In our lives we have circumstances in which saying a goodbye could be difficult and painful. And then, there are also those awkward kinds of goodbyes. Of course, additionally we have those goodbyes which are easy and anticipated and you’re ready to say it. (Sorry to have to mention it… but yes? We have those ones, too). We may say the daily kind of goodbyes as our children go to school, or we may say goodbye to a loved one leaving this earth. In any case, saying goodbye is something we all must do at some point or another.
But there is one type of “goodbye” that Beth Moore implores us to do in her book, Get Out of That Pit, and that is to say goodbye to the “pits” we may be living in: pits of destruction, depression, addiction, pain, pride, etc.
She goes on to explain, with a sense of humor and a sensitivity as large as the state of Texas, what sorts of pits we can find ourselves, stories of her own pits, and some solid suggestions of how to get out.
Interestingly, my high-school-aged teenage son saw me reading the book, and asked me if it was a nonfiction, Christian self-help book.
I paused for a moment. Christian self-help? I hadn’t thought of it before, but I suppose so.
“Yes,” I replied. “I think it is a Christian self-help book.”
He then asked me if the author explains some sort of difficult circumstance and then lists three steps to get out of them.
Again, I had to pause. “Well, yes,” I said.
My son then went on to explain that the book he was reading, written by another Christian author that I’ve also read and enjoyed, was kind of criticizing self-help books. My son hasn’t read too many Christian self-help books at his age to be able to outline a sort of “formula”, so I knew his comments were straight from the book he was reading.
To be fair, I have not read the particular book my son was referring to. But I will comment. I do not know which specific books the author was referring to, or if the author even identifies any by name. I am sure, however, that words of caution are wise against teaching that is not Biblical and against fluffy sorts of books with routine sets of steps or formulas. There are false prophets and teachers and we should be wary. In fact, the shelves are lined with many self-help books, Christian and otherwise, and we should definitely be deliberate about reading what any self-proclaimed expert (or non-expert) might tell us.
So with those words of caution out of the way, I do not think this book falls into that category.
Beth Moore delivers in her characteristic style personal and painful stories from her own life and her own pits, her own walk with God and how God delivered her “out of the miry clay”.
I laughed out loud several times reading about the stories of the mismatched boots on the hunting trip, the Barbie doll in church, the weather fiasco in Nebraska, the bears near the cabin out west, the night at the symphony in Washington, D.C., and the funny, self-deprecating comments about her hair. Beth uses them all to make specific points.
Her own stories – as she admits so in the book – lend a credibility and an authenticity that shine through the pages. And let me just admit something: if a book can make me laugh, well, that does endear me a bit and scores a few higher points, but it must have substance, too. Beth is able to tackle a serious and deep topic and interweave humor effectively, in her own individual voice. I admire a writer who can do this. Let me tell you, I don’t think you can make some stories up, and Beth has a way of telling them that will make you hee-haw (and that’s a term she’d approve of and probably use). Heck, you might even slap your knee and laugh at the same time. 🙂
I should point out this book was first published ten years ago, in 2007, and it was released again earlier this year. I hadn’t read it until just recently, and I find the truths still stand (and the stories are still funny, but I’ve already made that particular point).
But if I don’t get on with this review, it’ll feel as slow-moving as a burning hot Texas day.
There are several take-aways, but here are a few lines from the book I am choosing to highlight:
“But smooth living invariably, eventually, makes for sloppy spirituality. I want consuming fire to rage in my soul, and if it’s got to come through fiery trial, so be it. I want Jesus. A lot of Him. And obviously, He wanted me. All of me.” (p. 147)
Well, if that’s not authentic, I don’t know what is, especially taken in context of the whole book. Read the whole book and the tone of truth smacks you in the face. If you’ve been through any kind of pit and gotten out, you know what the above statement means. If you’ve walked through trials and found Jesus, well, you might say something like the above yourself. I’ve been there. If you want Jesus, you want Jesus, and it’s hard to come out sounding truthful saying so if you do not really mean it. She didn’t italicize “all of me” for purely aesthetic reasons.
“Goodbye is a necessary life skill. Exercise it with a confidence only God can give you and don’t beat around the bush when you do it.” (p. 179)
When the time comes to recognize and address the pit, it’s time to say goodbye. It could be saying goodbye to a toxic relationship, or an addiction, or another person or situation, or depression, or any number of different things for each one of us. (Beth goes into detail explaining some of our pits, that some of our pits indeed could be dug by us, but sometimes, unfortunately in our sinful world, we’re thrown into a pit through some sort of harm or sin done to us.)
“Say goodbye to that pit once and for all. Living up in the fresh air and sunshine where your feet are firm upon the Rock and your head is above your enemy’s is not for the fainthearted.” (pp. 179-180)
And how about these words of hope, which encouraged me:
“In God’s economy those who dug a pit for others will invariably fall into it themselves. (Psalm 57:6) God writes perfect endings. He can’t help it. He’s a wordsmith if you’ll ever meet one. Every beginning will have a fitting ending.” (p. 207)
Ah… a fitting ending to each beginning. That’s hope, folks.
To be sure, no one’s journey will be exactly like another’s, but the fact is each one of us has to deal with a pit or two (or many) in our lives. When we aren’t dealing with our own, we will (hopefully) be involved in praying and helping others along the way with theirs.
Reading portions of Beth’s journey, to me, is what gives this book a heart and a soul. It would be hard to believe someone who had not walked in pits herself, right? I want to hear from someone who’s walked some gritty roads and who got out. I want to read the stories of hope and victory, not depressing defeat, but neither do I want to read the truth whitewashed or covered with a thick layer of sugar. We know that we will still have hard days, but we know how the story ends.
I recommend this book, not just for oneself, but also as a way to empathize and help others.
**Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an HONEST review. These are completely my own thoughts and opinions after reading the book.**