Isaiah 29:22 - Therefore this is what the LORD, who redeemed Abraham, says to the house of Jacob: “No longer will Jacob be ashamed; no longer will their faces grow pale.”
She limped down the hallway keeping her head down for she didn’t want to make eye contact with anyone. How could this have happened to a believer in Jesus? This wasn’t supposed to happen. If only I’d had enough faith, she thought.
But she didn’t know at the time that she was judging herself. No one else would be cruel enough to do so in such a deep way. But she pulled her cloak of shame tighter around her body as she headed for the door.
It was the first time she’d left her home since she returned home from a place where others had attempted suicide go.
They say that no one can know the heart of another person, but that person. Yet, she knew when she looked into the faces of those around her that they saw the truth – she was broken merchandise. How could she ever be of use again?
But then the strangest thing happened.
Someone looked into her eyes and said, “It’s going to be alright. We’re here for you.” And to her surprise she saw no judgment in their eyes or the words they spoke.
Each day it got a little easier to go out of her home and face the world.
Dear friend, there is no need to feel ashamed if you need help. There are people around you that hold pain inside and battle emotional pain also. And there are many resources ready to help if you just reach out your hand toward them. The shame that is felt after attempting suicide can at times be worse than the pain that brought you to that point.
Let’s face it. There will always be people out there that feel emotional pain isn’t real. It’s just an excuse to get attention. But when it’s their turn to be sent into the sea of anguish they will be reminded of how their judgmental attitude hurt others.
For those of us who have been hurt by others, it would be easy to ignore the needs of someone who used to criticize us. But it’s up to us to dig down deep inside and help the one who’s now suffering. Maybe you can help them avoid attempted suicide.
You’ve learned a lot during your journey through the dark valleys. And what you thought about yourself, being broken merchandize and of no use can be put back together with grace.
The Bible verse above talks about not having to be ashamed any longer. Remember that Jesus will take that coat of shame off your back and turn your face towards the sun.
Now you will be ready to share the light with someone else in need. You can be the one to turn judgmental attitudes into compassion. Will you be that light?
You must act quickly if you believe someone is showing the warning signs of suicide. Here are some of the indications that a person may be in acute danger and may urgently need help from save.org in their post, “Warning Signs of Suicide”:
Psalm 69:30 – I will praise God’s name in song and glorify him with thanksgiving.
As we approach Thanksgiving, I’m having a hard time this year being thankful. My heart aches with so much pain and distress.
The reason why is:
Psychcentral.com has some ideas for how to be thankful in their article, “12 Ways to be Thankful,” such as changing your language. Watch what you say and how you say it. The words we speak to ourselves and to others can alter our perception of the world. Use positive self-talk and look for the good in others. One more is to get a gratitude partner. Just like you might have a workout partner you can have a gratitude partner who can help you keep things in perspective and stay positive.
This is similar to the songs that were sung as the Bible verse above shares. Many Psalms were written by King David when he was in trouble. He still found a reason to praise God and I’m sure he had a long list of things to be thankful for. We can learn a lesson from him and remember how there is a way to change depression into thanksgiving.
Isaiah 48:17 - This is what the Lord says--your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel: “I am the Lord your God, who teaches you what is best for you, who directs you in the way you should go.”
Sometimes in life we get lost. The way ahead is shrouded by the clouds of fear of failure and loss of direction. The way used to be so clear. But now. Now we’re just not sure.
As I mentioned in an earlier post, I spoke about decisions and how when we’re trying to make a decision, we have to weigh the cost of our choices. But loss of direction is a little different.
You’re not just unsure about a decision you’re trying to make, you’re unsure of what your choices even are. One path leads up a steep hill and climbing is difficult. Another leads down into a deep valley, with the grade being so sloped, that you easily lose your footing and tumble down a ravine.
What’s a person to do? Maybe you could just sit still until somehow an easier way will make its way known. The hours tick by as you wait. And then the day slips by. And then another.
Then one morning you wake up and think you see something ahead. But the way is covered with smoke. Should you head that way? Wouldn’t it be a risk to go where there might be a fire? Then you hear a loud crash; as two trees, now engulfed with fire, fall across the path up the hill and the other across the slope downward.
Fire quickly surrounds you. Just as you think you’re not going to survive; another path can be seen in the midst of the smoke. It’s a bumpy road with many boulders and jagged rocks. But the way ahead doesn’t look steep or sloped downward toward a ravine. And with the fire surrounding you, you must make the only choice available to you.
But you must give up your fear of failure and try. You must pick a direction to go.
This is a picture of what life looks like. Life is hardly an easy climb on a smooth path. And it’s not one where you can see a long way into the distance. It’s only one step at a time.
Yet, as you walk ahead, be aware that you’re path is going to run into people who want to tell you what to do. They can also criticize you when you don’t follow their suggestions. Listening to wise counsel is important. But I’m not talking about that. This is blatant controlling. And they can make you doubt your choice of direction. Listen respectfully. Yet don’t just follow their blind led either. Thank them for their opinion and make a choice, even if you make some people angry with you.
But don’t let making decisions a chore you have to do, worrying about failure, or worrying about displeasing others. There’s a measure of excitement when trying something new. Yes, it can be scary, but it can also be fun.
Some of the suggestions on finding your direction in life can be found in wikihow.com in their article, “How to Find Direction in Life,” such as taking notice of what you really enjoy doing and then doing it. Don’t fear that new choice. Jump into it with anticipation of something good coming into your life not something bad. Take a small step to start. It can be overwhelming to try taking on a whole new direction. Break it down and don’t forget to enjoy the journey not just the destination. In addition, commit to a direction and work hard at it. You will be rewarded if you persevere.
I would also add: God can teach you what is best for you if you ask him. He will direct you in the way you should go. And not only that, he will walk with you and even carry you when the road ahead is bumpy and has jagged rocks. Give up that fear of failure and try!
1 Corinthians 12:18 - But in fact God has placed the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be.
Each of our lives are made up of different pieces. There’s your service to God; who you are within your family – daughter or son, sister or brother, mother or father; your marriage, wife or husband; and your job and career.
All of these pieces are important. They make up our identity. Who we are and how we feel about ourselves is impacted by all of the pieces. But when one of those pieces is missing, the puzzle doesn’t look the same.
The effects of losing a job can affect all of these areas. And it can make you feel like you’ve lost a piece of who you are.
Our jobs not only provide for financial stability. They affect how we see ourselves and how others treat us. Why you lost your job is equally important in how it affects your identity.
If you lost your job because a plant shut down that would affect you, but you wouldn’t feel it was your fault. The same thing applies to layoffs, unless you’re the only employee who’s laid off.
The greatest effect on your life would be if you were fired. This can leave a stigma over you for years as people ask why you lost your job. Yet even if you were fired, it doesn’t have to be the end of the world. You can use what you learned through the loss, and it can help you succeed more in your future job.
I went through a season of job loss when my doctor took me off work for health reasons.
While I was working people told me how proud they were of me. Some for the first time. My family developed a deep respect for me and how I was handling the many facets of being an apartment manager. My older friends couldn’t believe I had even been offered the job and was seemingly thriving in the midst of the many things I was called on to do. While working I also made many new friends who appreciated me and told me so by thanking me when I was able to help them.
But when I was no longer working, I crashed and burned. Gone were the encouragements, praises for a job well done, meeting new people and making friends, and finally feeling like I’d found a place where I belonged. In effect, I lost a piece of who I am.
Thankfully, I had some of my most trusted friends help me through the deep waters. And it was partly because of my job loss that I was able to devote time to what I’d always wanted to be – a fulltime writer. I have been able to take the pain I went through and use it to lift a hand to someone who has also experienced pain and loss. This website has been one of the results of not staying down but lifting my eyes up and moving forward with my life.
Helpguide.org in their article, “Job Loss and Unemployment Stress,” sheds light on job loss and its effect on your life and provides some suggestions to moving forward. One way to start is to grieve over your loss. Don’t rush forward without first taking stock of your life, ways you can improve your chances of getting a new job and accepting the reality of where you are in your life. Another suggestion is to reach out to those around you. You may feel like withdrawing from life but seeking help will increase your chances of moving forward. Also stay positive as much as you can. Create a job search plan and focus on what you can control not what you can’t control.
God stood beside me each step of the way and took the pile of stones of my life that were scattered and used them to pave a new path for my life. He can do the same for you.
Remember, even with the loss of a job or the end of a career, God knows every part of us and we’re just the way he wanted us to be. He still believes in you and will help you regain that piece of who you are that you lost.
Karen Dalske is a freelance writer, public speaker, is active in her church and writes her blogs out of her own experiences of pain, illness and loss.