Re-post: How Cultivating Resilience Can Save Your Life

Suicide sucks -- ask the ones who've been there. Oh wait.

“No test or temptation that comes your way is beyond the course of what others have had to face. All you need to remember is that God will never let you down; he’ll never let you be pushed past your limit; he’ll always be there to help you come through it.”
-1 Corinthians 10:13 (MSG)

C. S. Lewis said that if we love anyone, we make our hearts vulnerable and we will get hurt. When you’re disappointed or despondent, it can feel irreversible. You can slide into depression, and if you stay there long enough, you can get stuck in despair. This is dangerous territory, because despair is the breeding ground for suicide.

Grave, gravel, cemetery, funeral, somber, suicide, don't do it

You don’t know what’s over the next hill. (photo by Jon Ottosson

Why not?

Let’s start with this guidance from me: DON’T DO IT. Do I need to tell you that you should fight this temptation with everything you’ve got? Just in case you were sleeping, let me recap the basis for rejecting suicide in four points:

  1. You are made in the image and likeness of God and you belong to Him.
  2. God, as the giver and taker of life, instructs us to do no murder.
  3. Suicide is a rejection of God and His authority through self-murder.
  4. It is permanent. As in forever.

Facts and figures

The Center for Disease Control (CDC) reports that each year more people die from suicide than from car accidents. Of those taking their own lives each year, 79 percent are men.  Since this blog is aimed at helping men become the best possible version of themselves, let’s agree that the best possible version of you starts with you alive.

Death with dignity?

Everyone faces feelings of futility at one time or another. How you deal with those feelings is everything. The main error is in assuming that you have the proper vantage point to determine whether or not your life is pointless, or whether your pain is permanent. That’s God’s turf and it’s above your pay grade.

We compound the error by isolating ourselves and fixing on the idea that, ultimately, we’re on our own. I don’t know about you, but leaving this world lonely, bitter and afraid doesn’t sound like dignity or a relief to me.

Recognize that it is a temptation

Most sins are corruptions of good gifts. And most temptations are attempts to take the easy way. Suicide is just the logical conclusion of seeking shortcuts.

What if God is using this challenging and painful season to cultivate resilience in you? What if you’re going to need it in the future to overcome the defining challenge of your family, career or ministry? And what if someone other than God is trying to neutralize your strength — by killing you —  before you ever take the field?

You realize that you have an enemy, don’t you? The devil is on a mission to steal, kill and destroy what God loves — and God loves you. If you belong to God, the evil one can’t lay a finger on you, but he will try to seduce you into opening the door and inviting him in. The way he does this is to plant an idea and get you to agree with it. If you are looking for a job and it isn’t going well, your enemy will whisper to you: “It’s no use. Nobody will ever hire you.” Internalizing this lie is like inviting the devil into your room. It’s worth investing some time in prayer to see what agreements you may have made with the devil and renounce them before God.

Suicide can’t have you if you don’t give your mind over to it. Discipline your thoughts! Count your blessings!

What to do if you’re thinking of ending it

You know this isn’t really the answer, so please do the following:
1. Wait.

2. Tell somebody. Be 100% honest. If you’ve been considering how you’d end your life, that is a big red flag. Go somewhere where you can’t be alone. Call a hotline. Call your church. Go to a hospital ER. Don’t try to gut this out by yourself.

3. If you’re on the receiving end of this kind of communication, take it seriously. Regret is expensive. Even if it seems like a joke, ask questions — and don’t let your friend be alone.

4. You may hate yourself right now, so fight for the ones who know and love you. Taking your life may solve your problem and end your pain, but what about the problems you’ll create and the pain you’ll cause for everyone you’re leaving behind?

5. Right now may suck, but right now is not forever. Things change, but you’ll never find out if you check out before you find out how good they can be.

6. We’ve talked about it before, but you must understand your purpose. Without that, you can’t understand the value of your current hardships — or what they’re preparing you for. If you know your purpose, it’s possible you can see how this emotional or spiritual valley could be useful when your purpose is closer to its fulfillment.

So how about you? What hardship are you overcoming with God’s help? And how are you cultivating resilience? Add your comments below.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic. Bring your best manners, please.

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