“We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired of life itself. Indeed, we felt we had received the sentence of death. But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead. He has delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us again. On him we have set our hope that he will continue to deliver us,” 2 Corinthians 1:8a-10
Shame. Intensity. The flood of emotions that can overtake a hurting heart and mind. It seems as if it will never stop. As if today, as if this moment, will never end.
It beckons and breaks a heart to be still no longer and rather seek refuge in scandalous acts of self deprecation motivated by emotions and escapism. It seems the only thing that could cut deep enough is flesh ripped open to start over again. A fresh start with fresh blood leaning upon the notion that once the cut, the wound, is opened…we can start again.
No longer at peace with ourselves, this desire to seek refuge in self-inflicted pain squelches out grace and peace, and seems to grasp at something far beyond our recognition. Unwilling to seek refuge in anything other than our own destruction, self-hatred breathes its lies into the hole of our hearts.
Although I have never used a knife to wound myself, years ago I would use my words and thoughts to slice my soul to shreds. Believing the lies that I was worthless and filled with self loathing, I wanted nothing more than to disappear. Or at least to make my emotions disappear. I couldn’t bear handling them one more day, one more second, one more hour.
I have great empathy for anyone struggling with mental illness. I have been there myself and am aware that all too easily I could fall into depression again. These types of illnesses are hallmarked by an intensity of emotions that cannot be fully understood unless you have felt them yourself. I remember wanting to and looking as if I wanted to crawl out of my body, filled with shame and hurt, and into a safe place…no matter what that meant. So many women I talk with who have attempted suicide did not want to die, they just want the pain to stop. And that is why I think the verses listed above from 2 Corinthians are so powerful.
Paul states not that he was possibly facing death, but rather he felt as if He was already sentenced to die. A man alive, walking dead. Nothing to me is more descriptive of living with overwhelming emotions than that of walking through life as if you are already dead, defeated, a helpless victim of the waves that would come on you as you fall deeper and deeper until you act out and drown. And as Christians we ask for what? Why must I be so miserable…
I feel Paul would say, “But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead.”
So you consider death to be an appealing option. Or perhaps you are the dead walking. The world may have given up on you. You may have given up on yourself. You cannot save yourself, nor can someone else, these things are correct. But you can choose to access the One who can. God. The One and Only powerful enough to raise the dead. He has shown His deliverance powers before, and He will show them again.
If this is you today, if you are in this difficult place…I do not have a one stop shop cure for you. I do not promise you instant healing by simply reciting a verse, using some theoretical technique, or waving a magic wand. What I do want to tell you is not to give up. The cure for the broken heart is hope. Hope that is willing to step out in confident expectation that something better lies on the other side. You may need counseling, you may need medication, you may need a mentor, and a Bible Study, and hours of face-time on the floor with Jesus – my healing necessitated all of these and more. Is it work? Yes! Will it be difficult at times? Yes! Will it be worth it? YES!!!
The biggest lie Satan can sell you is that you are worthless and beyond help…that there is no hope and healing on the other side. He may have shrouded your eyes in such darkness that even the slightest bit of light burns or seems impossible to obtain. But please don’t give up sweet sister or brother. Seek out only the healing He has for you. Only the healing He can offer. He is still in the business of raising from the dead.