Two people committed suicide in my life. It hit too close for comfort because as a Christian I've dealt with my own thoughts of self-harm. How can we fight these tempting thoughts as a Christian? A must read!
Faith

The Christian Response to Suicidal Thoughts {I Feel Hopeless}

I have personally known two people who have committed suicide. Two people that I’ve eaten dinner with and laughed with. And their absence makes the world a little less full of love and life.

The problems they faced were different. But the reason they did it was the same.

One of them was severely depressed and left behind a young son. One of them was was in chronic pain for years due to a debilitating illness and left behind a spouse. For both of them, they could not envision an end to their pain. At the time of their death, they felt hopeless.

I don’t deal with suicide well. I don’t like movies where suicide happens. I don’t like suicide because the idea hits too close to home.

After my first baby, I started cutting. Typically this would be a teenage behavior, right? But I was 24. Typically this would be a non-Christian’s response to internal pain, right? But I was a radically born-again Christian.

On my daughter’s first birthday, I was admitted to a psychiatric hospital. That was the beginning of a six-year-long journey of recovery.

I’m mostly better now. But I do still have my days when I feel like my hope is dying.

Having hope is a big deal.

Read Next: 5 Christian Ways to Fight When You Have a Chronic Illness

What Happens When You Feel Hopeless

As you may have read my previous blog “Thank You For Welfare: An Open Letter to God, the Government, and its Citizens” we have struggled financially since we were married. The constant emotional drain can be stressful.

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Recently, I could feel myself slipping. Life was getting dark. My hope was hanging on by a thread. After talking my feelings out with my husband (God bless him), I was so desperate that I sat up and said, “I just need a good Joel Osteen book!”

Okay. To some of you that’s not that big of a deal. But to me, breaking down and getting a book by a “name it and claim it/health and wealth” prosperity preacher is waaaayyyy out of my norm.

I’ve since lightened up on my opinion about Joel Osteen because his book has seriously blessed me. And I gotta give credit where credit is due. Don’t worry about my theology. I have a husband and a good friend that are on the edge of their seats making sure I don’t go down some heretical path of a false gospel! I also have a brain and a Bible. Thank you very much.

The book reminded me that God isn’t against me. He doesn’t want me to think negatively about my future. He wants to restore my hope.

But because of our struggles, I have often wondered:

  • Does God want us to struggle?
  • Why doesn’t He give a permanent solution? 
  • Does He love us?

These thoughts can quickly cause hope to perish.

Read Next: What Does It Mean to Have Faith After a Diagnosis?

Questioning the Truth of God’s Word Will Make You Feel Hopeless

Sure, we question God. Who doesn’t? Questioning God isn’t horrible. We have questions. But what about the questions that already has answers? Like the one I stated above: Does He love us?

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It’s obvious he loves us, he sent his son to die. I can only think of one entity that questioned what God had already said. Satan in the Garden of Eden said: “Did God really say…”

God used one of my children to drive this point home.

The other day, I was doing some cleaning. One of my daughter’s wanted to join me. I told her ‘no’ because I was dealing with chemicals. She walked off and I commenced cleaning. No biggie, right?

Wrong.

Eventually, she walked into the room with red-cried-out eyes and said, “I guess you don’t want me as your daughter anymore.”

Again. Holla…What? What?

Those words couldn’t be further from the truth. I don’t even know where she came up with those thoughts…except I do. She was slipping down the same slope I have a million times. Satan was selling her the same lie he sells me.

And she bought into it. Hook. Line. And sinker.

Despite KNOWING that I love her and being told VERY often, her questioning led to the second way to eliminate hope…

Read Next: 3 Tips from a Christian Cancer Survivor 

Believing Lies Will Make You Feel Hopeless

The scriptures tell us:

And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free. John 8:32 NLT

Truth frees us. Lies trap us.

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Lately, I have been believing some pretty insane lies. But if you look at how I came to them, maybe they aren’t that crazy. Pain can do that to a person. Years of struggle can take a toll on people.

Continually praying and not seeing a physical manifestation is disheartening. Looking at our physical situation instead of the promises of God takes us to the last way to eliminate hope…

Read Next: 20 Reasons You Feel Spiritually Dry

Leaning On Your Own Understanding Will Make You Feel Hopeless

I don’t believe that everyone gets “healed” just by believing. I do believe that in some circumstances God’s sovereignty is at work. But I do believe that having faith is a non-negotiable. Without faith, we have no hope. Without hope, we have no reason to live.

I wish there was some easy 1-2-3 step to fix all our earthly problems. I wish that God answered all our prayers ASAP. I don’t pretend to understand God’s ways. But I love the line of Laura Story’s song “Blessings” that says:

What if my greatest disappointments,
Or the aching of this life,
Is the revealing of a greater thirst this world can’t satisfy.

Hope dies when we stop clinging to Christ and start clinging to our own understanding.

If You Continue to Feel Hopeless

If you continue to feel hopeless, know that you are not alone. If you cannot seem to shake the feeling, please seek counseling. There is no shame in admitting you need some help.

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If you would like to chat to someone NOW – please check out RemedyLive.com. They have an anonymous chat that you can access day or night.

Two people committed suicide in my life. It hit too close for comfort because as a Christian I've dealt with my own thoughts of self-harm. How can we fight these tempting thoughts as a Christian? A must read!

 

 

7 Comments

  • Debra

    I didn’t start cutting until I was 40. I was sexually abused/raped by my father starting when I was 11. I didn’t even know cutting was a ” thing”. It helped to numb the emotional pain for a few moments.
    I also attempted suicide later. I’m still fighting the stupid depression and working on the abuse issues. But I don’t cut or purge anymore. I have better tools to use now.

  • Gerald Johnson

    Hello Elaine,
    I came here after seeing one of your posts on another site, where you said, “I want to make enough money so that my husband can quit his job”. My comment is to tell you that you are a most awesome woman, truly with a heart of gold. For you to think of him in such a way is amazing. As your husband, he is among the luckiest men on earth. I am a skateboarder, and when I say this, I mean it in the same way as my bros would take it – STAY RAD!!!

    • Elaine Mingus

      Gerald,
      Thanks! One day that will be a reality and he can make the movies/documentaries he’s always dreamed of doing. I can’t wait to support him in that. He’s been a great supporter of my dreams, as well.
      Elaine

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