Fearfully Wonderfully Me

Growing in God and Inspiring Young Women Through Faith and Fashion

Tag: self harm

What Suicide Can Teach Us About Being a Light

Some of you may be surprised how hard I’ve been hit by the tragic news of the suicide of Chester Bennington, the lead singer of the band Linkin Park. This was a band I listened to during my adolescence, a time of turmoil and angst like it is for many other teens. I didn’t really know the Lord during my early teens, and so secular music was all I listened to. This was a band that helped me through some pretty rough times.

Suicide Affects Everyone

Chester Bennington died in a tragic way that no one should ever have to experience. He committed suicide. He hanged himself. Sounds pretty heavy, right? Not something we tend to talk about in prayer circles or Sunday breakfast clubs.

And that’s exactly what’s wrong with our culture.

Bennington is not the only celebrity to suffer from depression and commit suicide. Think of Robin Williams, Kurt Cobain, or L’Wren Scott.  Think of the rise in Christian pastors  struggling with depression and suicide.

Suicide isn’t just something that happens to “really messed up” people. It happens to our neighbors, our pastors, our friends, and our family. And now with shows like 13 Reasons Why, suicide and self-harm is more glamorized than ever. Suddenly young people are becoming desensitized to the consequences of these actions. After all, what harm could it be if all of the celebrities and cool TV characters are doing it?

The most important thing to remember is that suicide is never an isolated incident. We all feel the ripple effects, whether we are close family, a neighbor, or a fan of the person’s art. Suicide affects everyone.

The Calling

If there’s one thing I’ve noticed, it’s that after a celebrity or prominent person of society dies or commits suicide, suddenly everyone decides that now is the time to reach out and show their love. I’m not saying that it is bad to pay your respects when someone dies, or that it means you didn’t do anything to help when they were alive. But if you take a moment to search Chester Bennington’s name in Twitter, you will find an outpouring of love and concern that you just normally wouldn’t see.

The question I’m wondering is, why can’t we always be like this?

You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven. (Matthew 5: 14-16 NIV)

 

As Christians, we have an amazing calling. We are called to be lights in this dark world. Imagine a world where every Christian encouraged at least one person every day. Instead of just waiting for tomorrow, why aren’t we expressing our love for one another right now? Why aren’t we forgiving one another and expressing our love today?

I don’t say this to be critical. I say this because I know I need it too. One of Linkin Park’s latest songs is called One More Light, and I find it to be a song of both sadness and inspiration. It’s a wake-up call, for you and for me.

Becoming The Light

I struggled with depression in high school and college, especially when my chronic health issues developed. Thankfully I have been healed of it by God’s grace, therapy, and supportive family and friends. But I still remember how the darkness haunted me. I wasn’t pulled as deep into the shadows as some people are, but I know enough to realize that we can’t ignore this issue any longer.

We don’t have to wait until another person commits suicide to start caring about the depressed and those struggling with mental health issues. We don’t have to wait until one more light goes out before we do something. You and I can be a light for Jesus right now, and it doesn’t have to be difficult. Just find one person to encourage today.

Find one person and tell them that they matter. Because every soul matters to God, and He wants their light to shine eternally.


Thanks for reading! Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below 🙂

Note: If you or someone you know is depressed or feels suicidal, please contact the National Suicide Prevention Hotline. You don’t have to fight this alone. 

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Worthy or Not?

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Sinner. Bad. Weak. Ugly. Stupid. Dirty. Either we have had these words hurled at us by others, or we have given at least one of them to ourselves. If you are anything like me, then you are one of the many Christians who battle low self-esteem or self hatred.

However, this isn’t working. As Christians we are told to love God with all of our heart, soul, mind, and strength–and to love our neighbor as ourselves (Luke 10:27).

How can we love others the way Christ does if we can’t even like ourselves?

So many issues that people, especially teens, face today reflect our failure to see ourselves the way God does. Depression, eating disorders, self-harm, addictions, sexual promiscuity, and other unhealthy behaviors often stem from a root of self hatred. We don’t see ourselves as good or worthy of love, so how can God love us?

First of all, God really does love you.

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life (John 3:16 KJV).

It does not surprise God that we aren’t perfect. He knows we screw up. He knows we make mistakes, and that we can’t possibly save ourselves. The Old Testament laws only served to remind humanity that we are inadequate on our own; we need a Savior.

God gave us His perfect, sinless Son Jesus Christ as payment for our sins and short-comings. Now even though Jesus is perfect and lived a sinless life, that doesn’t mean He can’t understand our imperfections. Jesus was tempted in every way we are (Hebrews 4:15), so He totally understands our weaknesses.

Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new (2 Corinthians 5:17).

Okay, so I’m a new creation in Christ now that I’ve accepted Him as my Savior. So why aren’t I perfect now? Here’s the thing–as Christians, we will still struggle with sin. In fact, the struggle might seem even worse as our hearts are convicted by the Holy Spirit.

Don’t worry. God knows this, and we are still covered by the blood of Jesus. All of our sins–past, present, and future–are covered by the blood of Jesus. This is not an excuse to go on sinning without a care, but it gives us the freedom to walk in the righteousness of Christ.

We are God’s children. You are His precious child. He knows you and loves you. He thinks you’re beautiful.  Even though you still struggle with sin, even though society tells you that you’re not enough, even though life can be hard, God loves you and nothing else can change this.

God’s love is relentless. 

You are worth it to God. You are worth being here. Once you believe that Jesus died for your sins and you surrender your life to Him, God gives you a new heart that is like His.

A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh (Ezekiel 36:26).

Even though our flesh may fail, God knows our hearts. As long as we repent and have faith, He will forgive. The power of Jesus’ blood is greater than any sin we could ever commit. We are no longer stained or in bondage by our past mistakes. Instead we need to walk in the freedom that is made possible by what Jesus did for us!

Thanks for reading! Please feel free to comment and share 🙂

Just a reminder! This weekend I will be at winter camp with my church’s youth group, so there will be no post on Friday. Please pray for our trip, and that the students experience God in miraculous ways!

Don’t forget to join the #GoLoveSomeoneChallenge on Instagram (@fearfullywonderfullyme)!

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