I’ve watched the last couple of months as the church world has been rocked by suicides from Pastors Jim Howard of Real Life Church and Andrew Stoecklein of Inland Hills Church. I’ve also heard of suicides in the business and professional worlds. Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain both took their lives as well.
This breaks my heart. The world is losing brilliant minds to depression, mental illness, and emptiness. These men and women no longer see the value in continuing to live their lives.
Time after time, you hear from their friends and families how they couldn’t see this coming. They seemed so happy, so alive. Suicide was the last thing on their minds. But they were wrong.
Suicides are happening. To those you know and love. To those you may have heard of. To those you don’t know.
People all around us feel like giving up. And, maybe you’re in that boat. Maybe you’re the one that feels like giving up.
My friend, first let me tell you that I love you. Your life matters. Without you, the world would be a darker place. We need you here.
I know the feeling of hopelessness will tell you that the things I just said were a lie. It would be easy to believe the thoughts floating around in your head. But I want to encourage to not listen to those negative voices.
They’re not telling you the truth. You matter.
Stop Isolating Yourself
What seems to be the common thread amongst these high-profile suicides is the fact their loved ones never saw it coming. They often believed the deceased was a happy, fun-loving person. There’s no way someone like that would take their lives.
But over and over again, we see that isn’t the truth. The people who seem so happy, so full of life are taking their lives. And it breaks those left behind.
It seems those who have left us too early have done at least one thing wrong. They had begun to isolate themselves. They shut their feelings off from those around them.
This is dangerous. This leads to listening to the thoughts telling you and I that we’re not worth others’ time and energy. We’d be better off dead.
If we were to break the isolation trap, we’d learn the voice inside our heads isn’t true. The voice is feeding us a lie. One that will lead to death.
When we begin to do true life with those around us, we begin to learn the truth. We begin to learn we have value. We are not a burden. We are cared for.
Break free from the temptation to isolate yourself. Learn to find friends and family you can be brutally honest with. Open up and share your thoughts.
Your friends and family are willing to listen. They’re willing to comfort and console. You have to be willing to step out of your isolation and believe what they say.
Thoughts: I normally end my articles with a call to answer a question. I am not doing a question today. Instead, I want to call you to action. If you’re struggling with suicidal thoughts, call a friend, a family member, a pastor, even me. If you can’t do that, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. There are people out there who are willing to listen. Please, reach out and share your story before it is too late.