1. Mental illness.
This fact so often overlooked. It's an ILLNESS. Not a lack of faith, selfishness, a choice, or a crime.
(Side note: You wouldn't say somebody "committed" cancer. Think about how you talk about suicide.)
I was addicted to busyness, found my worth in my work, and never said no.
Performance-based Christianity was all about external behavior, to the detriment of true faith and belonging. There was no prayer or Christian platitude that could magically fix my mental illness. I needed extra help from outside the church.
As a pastor, I was scared to death for anyone to know the real me. I wasn't even scared of hell (I was already living there). It was fear of what everyone else would think if I admitted I was weak.
I believed the lies shame tells us: you aren't enough. Not man enough. Strong enough. Sane enough. Christian enough. So I learned to stay quiet and keep my head down.
I hated myself. I believed I was a burden on my family and the best thing I could do for them would be to disappear, so they could start over.
It's killing so many. Comparing what we know about ourselves to what we don't know about someone else. We believe the shiny car, new house, and diamond ring are real life, all the time. But they're not.
If you're struggling today, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-283-8255.
Ask for help.
Go to therapy.
We need you healthy.