I was shocked when I learned of Robin Williams’ recent suicide. I grew up watching Mork from Ork. Can I get a, “Nanu, nanu”? I’ve heard most comedians make us laugh as a way of dealing with their own pain. But, someone that hilarious taking his own life boggles my mind.
Suicide seduces people who, in my opinion, seem like they’d never take their own lives. Some of my comrades in the U.S. Marines have committed suicide. You would think Marines are too tough to take their own lives. No one is. Donald Walker, the former mayor of our city, Warner Robins, GA, took his life during what seemed to be a successful political career. You would think successful people would never commit suicide. Not so. Last November, I lost a friend who pastored in our area to suicide. His church was growing and was on the verge of building a new facility. From the outside he appeared to be doing quite well. But, inside, he, just like so many others, listened to a voice that convinced him he was better off taking his life. I would have thought he was too spiritual and too close to God to take his life. I don’t know.
I offer no antidote to this reality that has seduced many tough, successful, and spiritual people to take their own lives. There is no simple prescription for anyone who battles depression and depths of misery that eclipses the proverbial light at the end of the tunnel. Anyone contemplating suicide should definitely sit down with a counselor and share his or her feelings! Talking can certainly help usher in healing. What I offer, however, are seven voices that keep me going. I pray you listen to them when you feel as though life has become unbearable.
1. Listen to Your Cloud of Witnesses
The New Testament book of Hebrews refers to a cloud of witnesses who are no longer with us. While they lived their faith drove them to accomplish great things and we are to imagine them cheering us on as we encounter tough times. Their accomplishments and sacrifices are to intensify our faith and inspire us to progress through the challenges we face. Imagine someone who’s no longer living glancing at your future and your potential shouting, “You can make it!” Believe you can make it through the tough times and keep it moving.
2. Listen to Your Cheerleaders
The cheerleaders are the people in your life who encourage you. When you’ve given up on yourself it helps when someone who still believes in you is there for you to give you the push you need right when you need it. I speak from experience. The toughest, most successful, and deeply spiritual amongst us always could use a boost in life. Listen to those who text, email, or call you and propel you forward.
3. Listen to Your Critics
Don’t let your critics’ voices bring you to a screeching halt. Some of them will feed you the truth you need to hear in order to grow personally and improve professionally. Our critics have a way of helping us see blindspots we cannot afford to ignore if we’re going to continually climb to new levels of success. If you keep growing you’re likely to keep going.
4. Listen to Your Personal Potential
Never lose sight of who you can become and how many more people you can potentially help. Have a vision as to how happy and fulfilled you can become and press toward the mark of a better version of yourself. Having a vision for your organization is one thing. Ensure you have one for your character and emotions, too. In order to reach your potential engage in positive self talk.
5. Listen to Your Body
Sometimes our bodies tell us to, “Rest. Relax. Slow down when necessary.” Take heed so you can recharge your batteries and keep it moving.
6. Listen to Your Vision
Your vision for your organization, community, nation, or family should speak to you and inspire you to continue working toward creating a better world for the people you care about. Vision says, “There’s a cause larger than you and provides a sense of fulfillment that keeps you going.”
7. Listen to God
When I need an emotional lift, I turn to God’s promises in the Bible. It also helps to enjoy His awesome creation. When I was in the Marines I was stationed in the Sierra Nevada Mountains in northern California and I would oftentimes look at them and the waterfalls and other beautiful scenes in my surroundings and sort of hear God say, “If I can take care of all of this I can take care of you.” He has proven He surely can.
No one is so tough, successful, or spiritual that they don’t need to listen to something uplifting every now and then. Talking to someone who will listen to you when times get tough works wonders, too. But, ensure you listen to those voices that will keep you moving forward. You can make it!