When God interrupts, it would be foolish not to heed Him. As I was praying over this week’s articles, I sensed a brooding of the Spirit over a change of direction. I was reminded of the sad death of the philanthropist Steve Bing earlier this week who at 55 years old, with seemingly everything to live for, tragically took his own life. I read of two other similar situations in the news as the week progressed.
Perhaps today is a timely word for someone who has or is wrestling with suicidal thoughts, or you think your spouse is. Please don’t suffer in silence. Whether you are overwhelmed with physical, spiritual, or mental health issues, or just feel a sense of hopelessness, please speak out today and start getting the help you need. As a society we are at last breaking taboos around mental health. We will continue to make positive strides as a church body when we are honest with ourselves and others. Many variables can affect our thoughts, emotions, and moods, and can quickly overwhelm us, so we need to take our mental health seriously, especially if we’re struggling with suicidal thoughts.
As I’ve been reading up on this subject, I want to share with you some of the best articles I have come across. They all deserve to be read through rather than sporadically quoted, so I am including the links for you. They are mostly from the American church perspective, but just as relevant to any pastors context worldwide. I pray God would breathe on them, and lead you to find hope and courage today to get the help you may need. Keeping up a façade is exhausting, and so unnecessary. We need to break this lie and shame that we as pastors are immune to such human challenges.
At the end of the list of recommended articles is a beautiful prayer and some contact details of organisations that can provide help.
Why Pastors are committing suicide –www.thegospelcoalition.org/article/why-pastors-are-committing-suicide/
A Psychiatrists thoughts On Pastors and Suicide - www.keyministry.org/church4everychild/2019/9/16/a-psychiatrists-thoughts-on-pastors-and-suicide
When Pastors Silent suffering turns tragic –
Church leaders to confront mental health www.keepthefaith.co.uk/2019/09/17/suicide-of-prominent-pastor-forces-church-leaders-to-confront-mental-health/
Focus on the family – Pastoral ministry and suicide www.focusonthefamily.com/church/pastoral-ministry-and-suicide/
Please allow yourself to acknowledge any suicidal thoughts and desires, and then share how you feel with someone in your family, a friend, colleague, GP or counsellor. Your life is worth more than you can imagine.
If this article is speaking to you directly today, as well as encouraging you to speak about it and so seek help, be blessed and strengthened by these further thoughts and prayer.
A Prayer for fighting suicidal thoughts - Beth Ann Baus
Over the years, I’ve learned three important things about fighting suicidal thoughts:
- Having suicidal thoughts and being suicidal are two different things. Both, however are very serious and deserve attention.
- People have suicidal thoughts for a wide range of reasons. Therefore you shouldn’t compare yourself, your circumstances or your state of mind to anyone else.
- It’s often hard to pray when you’re consumed with suicidal thoughts. In fact, while praying is the most important thing you can do, it’s often the very last thing you want to do. It will require self-discipline and self-control. It will require a strength that can only come from God. For this reason, it’s a good idea to plan ahead. Write a prayer when you’re able to express your pain and thought process, then you’ll have it ready to read the next time the suicidal thoughts come. Perhaps the following prayer can be of some help.
The darkness has taken hold of me and I can’t find my way back to the light. In this moment, ending it all seems like the best option, the only option, the only way to escape. Yet, there is something in me that wants your light to snuff out the darkness. So I ask, Lord, that you would do just that. You are the only light that can shine in the darkness.
I know when I’m consumed with thoughts of death I’m believing lies from the enemy. I ask Lord that you would remind me of these truths: when I feel alone, you are with me; when I feel invisible, you see me; when I feel worthless, my value is knowing you and being known by you.
Lord, help me to understand that you are enough, because you are everything I need and more. Remind me that when I feel hopeless, you have hope in me and for me. Remind me that when I don’t have the words to cry out to you, your son Jesus is praying for me, and your Spirit intercedes for me with groanings too deep for words. Let this remind me that I am seen, heard, and deeply loved.
I often feel out of place in this world. I don’t fit in and I’m not sure I want to. Remind me that this world is not my home and while, as your child, I will never fully fit in here, my time here isn’t over. Not yet. Please, give me the desire to live.
When I feel like I don’t matter, remind me that I was created with purpose. When I don’t know or understand why I feel the way I feel - remind me that you know the depth of pain in my heart, in my body and in my being. You know me better than I know myself… and yet you still love me.
When I feel like my death would go unnoticed because my life seems to go by uncelebrated, remind me that you celebrate me and that you hurt for me when I’m in this dark place. Remind me that I am fearfully and wonderfully made, and I am worth more than I know. Remind me that this life is not mine to take. Remind me that suicide is not the only option. Remind me to love you and to love myself.
As I say these words I know in my heart that you love me and I feel incredible guilt for wanting to take the life you gave me. I feel embarrassed to admit these thoughts to you. I feel overwhelmed that you know these thoughts without my even saying them, and yet you still love me. Remind me that Jesus did not come to earth and die for me so that I could live a defeated life. Help me to desire life and to live fully in you.
In Jesus precious name, Amen
(This prayer first appeared here –
Please don’t be afraid to reach out if you find yourself struggling with any of these issues, or if you are aware that your spouse is. God won’t ever let you go and promises to be with you in ALL circumstances.
You can access help and support from the following:-
Anthem of hope - a Christian mental health organization dedicated to amplifying hope for those battling brokenness, depression, anxiety, self-harm, addiction and suicide - http://anthemofhope.org/#home
Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM) – for men
Call 0800 58 58 58 – 5pm to midnight every day
Choose Life - Public Health Scotland
Whilst todays thoughts may not be applicable to some of us, lets collectively pray for those for whom it’s a very real and current issue. And of course their families.