“I’m just looking for a reason to live.”
Those words, from a 27-year-old youth pastor, opened up my final chat of the evening on TheHopeLine last night. They were followed by:
“My whole life is my church. …I feel so wrapped up in the church and don’t know who I am anymore. I’ve lost friends and family because of my commitment to ministry… I feel like God’s asking me to give up leadership in the church, and I have begun that process, but it feels like I have nothing left.”
Eventually, I read, “How do I do what’s right for my soul with a ministry at stake?” and later, “My identity issues run so deep that it feels easier to kill myself than be miserable leading people.”
These were attention-getting statements coming from someone in ministry. Yet, they demonstrate that no one is immune from suicidal thoughts, let alone problems. And might I suggest that those who are in ministry, who deal with other people’s problems and issues on a daily basis, have good reason to be at risk. This young man’s supervisors, themselves pastors, were applying more pressure on him than they realized. They seemed more concerned about growing the church than they were about his well being. He was feeling trapped. When those charged with helping the hopeless are themselves feeling hopeless, where do they turn?
In this case, he turned to Google and found TheHopeLine. Ninety minutes after we had begun chatting, he wrote, “I’m feeling a lot better. Just having someone affirm for me that there’s a way to break free from these awful feelings is so great.” He had agreed not to harm himself and pledged that he wouldn’t act on his suicidal thoughts without first contacting the National Suicide Prevention Hotline, the number for which I provided him. He also committed to speak with a counselor outside of his church, and I referred him to an organization that will connect him with one. His hope was being restored!
That’s why the founder of TheHopeLine chose the name he did. When all else fails, there’s always hope. Sometimes, it’s just hard to see it. When you lose sight of hope, you are on the verge of self-destruction, whether you go to work in a suit, stay home with the kids, go to school, work a construction job, drive a BMW. or minister to those in need. No one is immune.
If you’ve not already made your pledge to TheHopeLine, won’t you do it today? Your tax deductible contribution will make a difference in the lives of hurting teens and young adults. You can pledge your support by clicking this link. Or, you can click here to find out why Debbie and I think TheHopeLine is worthy of your support.