As I watched my friends share their struggles and triumphs, memories of similar conversations began to flood my mind, filling it with joy. It’s not every day one gets to engage in enriching conversations with trusted and wise friends. The daily grind of adult life seems to have no end. Our time is ensnared by our jobs and career obligations.
If we live in a country like Nigeria where work hours are inflexible, the time to get together with friends and just talk is almost non-existent. For others, a lack of a good job, a breakup, the passing away of a loved one or some other misfortune is the source of stress, sadness or withdrawal from human interactions. Yet, we cannot afford to wallow in our struggles alone. It can lead to devastating consequences of which suicide is the worst.
Just the other day, I decided to check the statistics on suicide. I discovered that about 800,000 people die due to suicide every year and Nigeria ranks 5th in the world on the annual suicide list. I find these numbers quite staggering. These reports are saying that such large number of persons are deliberately taking their own life? It takes a lot of courage to do so but not enough to keep on living, I presume.
Did they have someone to share their struggles with? Was there anyone who cared enough to keep tabs on them? Did they bother to share their struggles in the first place? These questions kept dancing around in my head.
Some of the causes of suicide, according to my research, include stress, depression, anxiety, eating disorders and substance abuse.
Although the mere experiencing of the aforementioned does not necessarily lead to the commission of the act, they have potential to if not addressed in time. No one suddenly decides to end their life, they must have premeditated on the notion for some time. Suicidal thoughts follows a feeling of hopelessness in its victims, entrapping them in a vicious circle. An outlet must be provided for these thoughts to weaken their hold on the mind.
Interestingly, amongst the solutions provided, talking to someone ranks supreme.
So you see, we need to talk about our struggles. And if we will, it has to be deliberate. We have to deliberately strike up conversations and share our struggles and problems. We have to inquire about each other’s well-being, encourage one another, pray for one another, lend a listening ear and strengthen one another in the Lord.
The early church went through a lot of tribulations. In the book of Acts, we see how they lost their loved ones to persecution (Acts 8:1-3, 12:1-2,), got flogged and imprisoned for their beliefs (Acts 8:3, 12:4-5), underwent famine and drought among other things (Acts 11:28). They lived in constant peril. How do you think they survived it all? They strengthened one another with prayers and encouragement (Acts 4:23-24, 11:29, 12:12).
Paul, the Apostle, talked about his various trials in his letters. Not to belittle anyone’s struggles but I have not met or read about anyone (apart Jesus, of course) who went through such trials in a lifetime. If someone like that says we should not be anxious and worried but make our request known to God (Philippians 4:6), we ought to pay attention. To think he wrote these words while imprisoned is amazing.
Most importantly, Jesus warned us that we will go through tribulation in this world but we should be of good cheer, He has overcome the world. (John 16:33). This should be a source of great comfort to us; one we should spread to others (2 Corinthians 1:4).Jesus warned us that we will go through tribulation in this world but we should be of good cheer, He has overcome the world. Click To Tweet
Just like He admonished Peter, let us strengthen our brethren (Luke 22:23) and bear one another burden’s (Galatians 6:2). Let us deliberately seek one another out. Joining a local church is a good place to start, beyond this, we should endeavour to reach out to fellow brethren and others from time to time.
We can fix prayer meetings, chats times, hangouts, phone conversations; any medium to ensure that we are looking out for one another. Together, we can maintain a healthy mind.
Perhaps, there’s someone reading this who’s contemplating suicide, I want you to know that’s not the plan of God for your life. He loves you and His purpose for you surpasses all the problems you can ever face. Whatever it is you are going through is only for a short while, as long as you are alive, there is hope for better days. He’s speaking to you through me that you should receive His love through Christ and join a local church (if you haven’t) where you will be surrounded by brethren with whom you can always share your problems with.
Peace is yours in Jesus name! You are loved by the Almighty.
Do you need someone to talk to? Reach out to us via firstname.lastname@example.org.
Related to this article, read – Suicide in the Church: Shall We Talk About This?