I’ve been noticing random people on my Facebook newsfeed copying and pasting a Suicidal Awareness hotline. I am also aware that it is, I believe, Suicidal Awareness Month. About a week ago, I read of a 14 year old girl who committed suicide because kids made fun of her face. Apparently, she had some sort of cancer, which over time and through medical treatment went away. But the effect of the cancer caused her facial features to become more flawed, so they say. I remember reading about this young teenage girl and it breaking my heart that she would look at herself in the mirror, and agree with many of her peers that she was ugly and would never amount to anything, to the point that she took her own life. It saddens me to hear true stories such as these. And truth be told…I have a few of my own that I can add.
There are many trials we go through as teenagers that will affect our future adult lives. Some are very unfair, out of our control. Others we brought upon ourselves and never noticed it. But the one thing they all have in common is the feeling of lack of love on both sides.
I know my story is only of one, but its the only one I have.
As a teenager, I believed the entire world hated me. I cut myself with a stick at 12 years old. I never read about cutting in a magazine, heard about it on tv, or hearing it in a conversation. It was just a natural thing for me to do when I looked at myself and hated who I was and what I looked like.
When I was 14, I thought often about taking a random medication from the medicine cabinet and overdose myself. I believed I was worthless and deserved to die. The biggest factor: I was very very lonely.
Age 16: One of the few friends I had commits suicide.
Age 18, I had an anxiety attack in Pizza Hut with my family. But it was one of those silent attacks. I didn’t know what was happening. But I feared getting up from my seat and going to the buffet. I had a waiter get my food for me and I felt so stupid for asking her to. But for an entire week, I doubted my worth and thought about letting my life go again.
In-between all these years, I struggled with my worth and value. I believed I was never loved or cared about. I was never told I was beautiful and believed that because I was never told that, then I must be ugly. It didn’t help that I struggled with severe acne which to this day has left scars. And the fact that all the boys were going after all the other girls I knew and not me, made me believe that they were the ones who determined my worth.
All of this, and more, leading up till my 23rd Birthday. When going to the post office, I felt a sudden darkness enter into my car. I felt overwhelmed with negative emotion and heard a voice inside my head telling me to crash my car, kill yourself, you know you want to. I managed to keep my hands on the wheel and made it from the post office to my home okay. But I was never the same after that.
I entered into depression.
I had enough gut to tell my mom what had happened. And from then on my parents never stopped supporting me.
I’m being brief so that you don’t get tired of reading the lengthy details of my story. Because there is quite a bit. But after going through too many high’s and lows, anxiety, stress…and then loosing friendships and ministry opportunities…I became numb and was forced to accept one thing:
I was the problem.
Like I said, my story is only one of many. I can only speak for myself. Yes, I did not fit in. Yes, I had hardly any friends. Yes, I felt unloved by many. But you know what I did wrong? I was looking to these things to complete me, to value me, to lift me up…To Be My Idol. To be MY GOD. I did not get my way. While all other girls got boyfriends, I never had one. While other girls were invited to parties and movie nights, I never was. Were these things right? Maybe not. However, where I was the problem: I denied Jesus. I denied Him to be Lord of my life, to be my best friend, to be the One who gives me value because of what He did on Calvary, giving His life to cover my sins. I refused to place my worth in Jesus Christ. I refused to believe that He called me beautiful when no other guy would say it. I refused to humble myself. I cannot always control the circumstances or other peoples actions: But I can control how I react to brokenness and allow that to define who I am or place my value in the Word Of God and run with it. If I would have learned this and applied it to my life earlier, I possibly could have lived my life differently. Anything put before God is an Idol and when you are His child, He will only put up with it for so long. Eventually, God will allow you to have the desire’s of your heart, according to your deeds ( Jer. 17:10 ).
What I gained through depression is learning exactly how the grace of God covers me. Not only in my own sin, but also when harm from someone else causes my heart to break. I must choose God’s truth over what I may feel and see about my circumstances. It is sometimes a hard practice to keep up with. But at the end of the day, what else do I have left? People will hurt me. They will let me down. Money can be taken away in an instant. I could loose every single thing I own. But what still remains standing after all of that is gone? Jesus Christ. His Word remains and never changes. This world could strip me naked but nothing from this world can take away Jesus and what His Word says who I am, and what HIS actions on the cross labels me as a child of the one true King.
I know not everyone’s story is like mine. There are people who are bullied, who are not being loved by their family, who are being singled out and told how worthless they are. There are people who are being physically and emotionally abused.
No, this is not their fault.
The results of these things happening can lead us to search for love in all the wrong places. And eventually leave us empty and holding in our hands consequences for our actions, which leads people to believing they are absolutely nothing of value. It gets tiring trying to please people to make them accept us. What I have to say is this: You are loved ( John 3:16 ). You have purpose ( Jer. 29:11 ). You were created by God for God in His image (Genesis 1:27 ), ( Eph. 2:10 ). He calls you beautiful ( Psalm 139 ). And You have the highest value…all because of Jesus ( 2 Peter 1:3 ). You were worth it on the cross. And you are still worth it over 2,000 years later ( Rom. 5:8 ). It is your choice to take that as your identity and live that life. Or, it is also your choice to listen to the lies of the enemy. The enemy influences this world to distract us from Jesus. As children of God, we must choose truth even if we cannot see it with our eyes. In John 10:10 is says, “ The thief comes to steal, kill, and destroy. But I have come so that you have life, and to live if more abundantly.” Despite the hurtful words and actions from others we may receive in our young lives, and through out the rest of it, Jesus Christ came to set the captives free when His blood was shed for you and me. We are called to walk in freedom in Christ, because He has already overcome the world.” These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.” John 16:33. He overcame all sin and defeated death when rising from the grave on the third day. We may not understand and the overcoming of hurt in our lives may be miles away: But we place our faith in the only One who has already defeated Satan and let God be the sustainer of our souls.
This was a hard lesson to learn. I failed at it constantly. I struggled to place my identity in Christ. All I could see was the hurt, and how even the closest people in my life had chosen to leave me. But even in those times, I felt the patience of the Lord dwell over me. And I learned to hang on to the One who was still around when others had left. God proved to me, that He is all I ever needed all along. Sin was overcome. Depression was overcome. Suicide was overcome. And if only us Christians would tell the world more of this truth.