As I was talking to a friend the other day he begin to relay how he was going through a very hard time. He said it had gotten so bad that he had considered taking his own life. He asked, “Brad, what am I supposed to do?”
It is hard for some people to imagine things being so bleak that you would consider taking your own life. Unfortunately, it happens much more often than we realize. The suicide rate in America is about 121 people per day. That is a lot of people who see no light at the end of the tunnel.
I am not a psychologist and I don’t presume to have all of the answers but I do want to share a few things I have learned. Today is Part 1.
- Time Is Your Friend.
Because of our technologically advanced society, we are used to everything happening fast. We can’t wait for the five-minute oatmeal; we want the one-minute oatmeal. We have overnight shipping and it probably won’t be long until items can be beamed directly into our home. I guess that is my Star Trek geekiness coming out.
But this has created a mindset that makes it difficult to stand strong when we are struggling. We want things fixed NOW, and if it isn’t fixed now, we give up. I have found that it usually takes about as long to get out of a struggle as it does to get into one. Be patient and let time to be your friend.
So let’s not allow ourselves to get fatigued doing good. At the right time we will harvest a good crop if we don’t give up, or quit. Galatians 6:9 MSG
- Don’t Get Defensive.
So often when we are struggling we tend to wear our feelings on our sleeve and everything ticks us off. Even if a good friend or family members reaches out to help, because we are so “raw” from the struggle, we feel attacked and lash out in defense. Everyone is NOT out to get you! Stop being so defensive. You can be a nice person. Try it you’ll like it.
- Beware Of Isolation.
Unfortunately it is a natural human tendency to withdraw during times of struggle. Who wants to be around happy and positive people when you are down in the dumps? We want to be by ourselves, talking to ourselves about how bad things are, and how no one really cares.
David thought that way a lot. Psalms 142 is a lament about how he is completely alone.
I look for someone to come and help me, but no one gives me a passing thought! No one will help me; no one cares a bit what happens to me. Psalm 142:4 NLT
Have you ever felt like that? I have, but I am so grateful that I didn’t stay there. David didn’t stay there.
…The godly will crowd around me, for you are good to me.” Psalm 142:7b NLT
The BEST thing you can do in a struggle is to be surrounded with God’s people. Run to them and not from them. Be in church, be in a small group, and allow the strength of others help you.
A man who isolates himself seeks his own desire; He rages against all wise judgment. Proverbs 18:1 NKJV
The person who isolates himself is not very smart.
- Be Vulnerable.
I didn’t say be pitiful. There is a difference. By vulnerable I simply mean, don’t think you must have all the answers, or do everything on your own. I have found that everyone faces some struggles where they don’t know what to do. Instead of putting on a Superman mask and acting like you have it all together, be vulnerable. Say, “I don’t know what to do. I need help.” Remember the words of the apostle Paul. The power of Christ is greatest in our lives when we are weakest.
That’s it for now. I look forward to sharing part two because I know the struggle is real!