Perhaps the best place to start is at the bottom of the barrel, and work up from there.
It isn’t an answer. Ever.
There were two reasons that kept that particular option at bay, for me, even in the darkest moments.
First: How could I possibly face my Savior — the One who sweat drops of blood, endured Gethsemane, suffered lashings, beatings, a crown of thorns, and faced the cross — how could I tell Him it was too hard?
Second: I didn’t really want to die and go to heaven, or anywhere else. I wanted total and complete oblivion. An impossibility, in my mind, so what was the point?
Sadly, I’ve known several people who have committed suicide. I don’t condemn any of them. My personal feeling is that anyone who attempts suicide isn’t in a sane state of mind.
I am saying it should never be on the table as a viable option. Someone is going to have to clean up the mess, no matter what: there’ll be a body, informing the relatives and friends and acquaintances — all the legalities. Suicide is selfish, even if you believe it is the kindest thing you can do for yourself and/or others. I don’t want to be selfish. I don’t want to give in to despair. If I give in to despair, then my abusers win. They were right all along; I wasn’t smart enough, good enough, tough enough, worthy enough to live. They’re wrong.
I do understand that for some people they desperately want the pain to stop, and suicide seems like an answer, except that it doesn’t end. So you succeed; now you have to face your Savior and tell Him why you chose to cut your life short, not because He doesn’t know, but because this is about you and what you believe. No matter where you go, you take your problems with you because they live inside your head.
For those that believe that there is only oblivion on the other side of death, here’s a question you need to answer first: Are you absolutely certain? Or are you taking it on faith? You have a 50/50 chance of being right. And if you’re wrong?
If you find the courage to stay here and fight it out, you have the opportunity to help not only yourself but someone else. There are people in my life who have struggled with thoughts of suicide. For some of them, it was many years before they met me. Because they chose life over death, they came into my life precisely when I needed them. I think of my friends and how unique each one is, and thank God for each and every one. They all love me, but they each bring their own uniqueness to our friendship and the thought of losing or never meeting even one brings a wave of sadness. So I thank God every day for all the remarkable people in my life who have struggled to make it through one more day and added a richness and warmth to my life that is absolutely priceless.
Life is sacred, and God will honor those who honor life. God put you on this earth for a purpose — a mission, if you will. If you’re still here, your mission isn’t over. He decides when it is over, no one else. He is perfect, so His timing is perfect, even if we don’t agree with it.
As I re-read this, I thought of the women and children who are kidnapped and forced into being sex slaves, strung out on drugs. Death would come as a friend. Why does God allow this? Why do men and women choose to follow these evil practices? God allowed Daniel to be thrown into the lions’ den and spared him. God did not spare the Christians thrown to the lions in Rome. Was Daniel more worthy?
God did not spare His Only Begotten Son from the cross. Am I suggesting that those who suffer are Saviors? No. I am saying that my knowledge is limited, and God sees the end from the beginning.
God is aware of each and every life. He loves His children, each and every one. Christ is able to succor all those who suffer. If you are not Christian, you’ll need to find your own answers because I couldn’t do it without Jesus Christ as my foundation. That isn’t to say I’ve always trusted Him. I didn’t, for most of my life. I’m learning.
Life is Not Easy.
Stop praying for things to be easy. They aren’t going to be easy. Life is hard. Life is not fair. Who came up with the idea that life was supposed to be fair? Unlearn it! The concept is useless. You don’t need useless trash in your life. Might as well start with discarding the idea of life being fair. The concept is flawed at best, and flat-out wrong at worst.
Does that mean I don’t pray to go home to God? I used to; now, I tell God I’m tired and don’t know how much more I can take. Then I wake up in the morning and accept that God has more for me to do, so I might as well shut up and buck up. Just for the record, sometimes I figure surviving one more day is enough.
While we are speaking of suicide, I confess that I have removed from my home my method of choice. I didn’t want the temptation. It was my responsibility, no one else’s. My life was such a mess, but it’s amazing how powerful it felt to rid my home of that irrevocable possibility.
Now, there are those, I know, who are gasping in horror at the very idea of suicide, and declaring me wicked for even contemplating the idea. To that I say, “Thank God I’m allowed to repent!” And what a blessing for them, that their life is such that suicide never crossed their mind.
Saying suicide is evil and closing the door to even a discussion about it does not make it go away. However, refusing to even acknowledge the possibility means that those who struggle with harboring the desire to escape this life permanently are placed in further jeopardy, because they find themselves locked away in a silent prison of their own doubts and sense of aloneness.
Find your reasons for not giving up or giving in. Make a promise with yourself that you will take one more step, no matter what, no matter how small that step is. If you must, sit down and rest for a moment. Don’t stay there. Catch your breath. Pick yourself up, and start moving. I don’t care if it’s a shuffle or a crawl. Move. If you’re moving, you’re less likely to be run over on the road of life. Do not give up on yourself or God, no matter how many other reasons you may have to do exactly that. Promise, and then start working toward moving away from that temptation.
It starts now.
Is it too late already?
Never. If you’re still on the planet, it is never too late to change. Remember, God put you here for a reason. So as long as you’re here, there’s the chance to turn toward God. Even if no one else comprehends what you’re going through, Jesus Christ understands perfectly. God is never far away; His hand is stretched out, waiting for us to turn to Him. We may turn away, but God is always whispering for us, reaching for us. He will never abandon us, no matter how often we turn our back on Him. All we need do is look to Him and live.
“God will never give you more than you are able to bear.” I really hate having that quoted at me. Later in the book, I’ll cover this more in depth, but I feel it needs to be put out there, front and center, from the start. Whenever I hear that quoted, my first thought is “Job?” I am grateful that I’ve never been covered in boils. What we think we are able to endure and what God knows we are able to endure are not even in the same ballpark, and probably not even in the same universe. My next thought is always, “John the Baptist.” Thanks, I think I’ll take a pass on beheading. And both men were loved of God. Something to think about.
Predators may have a more difficult time of starting over than victims, but turning to God still isn’t impossible for them. Saul hunted the Christians, and then he became one, became Paul. So it is possible.
Do not expect the Lord to make a personal appearance to turn your life around. That implies an arrogance that will keep you stuck forever.
Do I believe in deathbed repentance? No. Repentance requires doing something. Do I believe that priests are wrong for accepting deathbed confessions? No. God is the final judge.
Too often we point fingers as a way of comforting ourselves. ‘See, I’m not as bad as so-and-so.’ God isn’t going to stand me next to so-and-so on Judgment Day and say, “You’re right, you’re not as bad as so-and-so.” Fantasy. Fantasy will not change my life. On Judgment Day, I will stand alone before God. My life, the choices I made, the things I did, and the things I didn’t do, what I believe, what I hold dear, ME — all that I am will be laid open before me and the Lord. Personally, I don’t think God is going to decide whether or not I reside with Him. I will decide where I’m comfortable, and at that point, I won’t be able to lie.
Deciding it’s already too late is beyond arrogant and not my choice to make. My decision is to give up or to accept responsibility for myself.
God gave us a Savior because He knew what having free will meant. We would make mistakes, a lot of them, and we would need a Savior that not only could wash away our sins and understand our pain but would know where to hunt for us in the darkest, filthiest, lowest places. There is nowhere we can go that our Savior does not know where to find us, and He is ready and willing to hunt us down and bring us back.
Stop turning away from Him. Take His hand, and allow Him to walk you back to His light. His hand is stretched out still.
Susan B. Anthony said, “Resistance to tyranny is obedience to God.” Sometimes the tyranny we must resist comes from abusers, and sometimes it comes from ourselves.
© 2010 The Project: The Tools I Wish I’d Known About Sooner / My Abuse Survivor’s Basic Toolkit by Judy