The Opposite of Suicide
It wasn’t but about six months ago that I was going through a little season of depression, something that has become a sort of normal thing for me, something that I am slowly embracing. I was reading some of my journal entries and unfinished writings from that time and I forgot how dark and morbid I was. But now, I can honestly say that I really enjoy my life. I realize now that I have the best friends I have ever had, that a freaking wrote a book, I have a steady paycheck, and a crush on a cute girl.
And there is always a but…
None of my circumstances have changed in the last six months, from when I was depressed, to now. Same job. Same friends. Same surroundings. What changed?
Reality became more interesting.
It was about six months ago that I finally stopped saying “one day I’ll write a book” and started saying “today I am writing my book”. See the difference there? By switching the tense of a basic personal goal, I gave my life purpose. And while the book that I wrote will never make it on any best-seller or top-ten lists, I wrote it. It is a part of me. For the first time in my life I actually accomplished something, I finished it. I am the king of half-assing and half-finished projects. But this book is a part of me, from the outside cover to the inside words, I dedicated six months to writing it, and I did it.
I could very easily still be in my funk, still depressed and still sitting at home alone on the weekends, but once I decided to give my life to something my life became more interesting. Food began to taste better, happy moments would bring tears to my eyes, and I had no shame in my tears. I started to watch less and less TV and going to fewer movies, instead I started to write more and hike more. I began inviting people into my life instead of waiting on them to invite me into theirs. I got tired of people not knowing me for who I was and I opened up to them. I told people I loved them when I felt they needed to know. I went on vacation for once. Life just got better.
So what am I saying? Go write a book? No…not exactly. But what I am saying is go do something. Anything.
Six months ago I was a wreck, but I killed that version of me. But it wasn’t a suicide – it was a resurrection.
What would a self-resurrection look like in your life? What are the things that you have always put off for tomorrow? How can we bring those things into today? Whatever is holding you back, I swear it is not as big of a deal as you think. Here are some examples of things that were holding me back:
On writing a book – time and ideas…Easy, both time and ideas are free so there was nothing holding me back from writing my book except for myself actually taking time to write and being able to catch my ideas.
On taking a vacation – money and fear of it not being worth it…nothing a little sacrificial saving and a tax-refund couldn’t solve. As for fear of the trip not being worth it, well that is all up to you. Your experience is up to you, if you want to hate it then by all means hate it, but if you want to enjoy yourself then go find the things you enjoy. Don’t be afraid of making new friends and new plans along the way.
99% of the things holding you back from living are mental roadblocks, problems and crisis that you make-up in order for yourself to stay where you are. It is amazing how we can build up so much confidence in reaching our goals in our minds only to have some absurd anti-idea destroy them. I remember spending countless days and nights staring at a blank screen and hoping the words and ideas would just show up. Sometimes they did and sometimes they didn’t. There were too many occasions, more than I would like to admit, where I just wanted to stop writing the book so the voices and pressure in my head would cease. I somehow justified in my mind that not writing a book would be good for me, that living the way I was living was fine. But you know what happened the day I got a stack of books with my name on them in the mail? Whatever the opposite of sleepless nights and frustration is…that’s what happened. Whatever the opposite of crying yourself to sleep at night is…that’s what happened. Whatever the opposite of staring at blank screens for hours and wanting to throw your computer to the floor is…that’s what happened.
I had to re-write the story of my own life; I had to make it interesting. If I had stopped writing the book only to have the voices and pressures stop, then more voices and more pressures would eventually creep in and ruin me, this time with the questions of what if ?
I don’t know what a resurrection looks like for you, but I really do hope you go find it. What if tomorrow you woke up and decided to do something different with this one life you are given? Are you who you want to be? Are you where you want to be? No writer will enter your life and rewrite your story for you. God has handed us a pen and told us to write our own story. I have already decided what my next chapter is going to be, and I have no idea how I am going to get there, I just know that I will, and I hope you will begin to write your new chapter as well.
My friend and pastor Jonathan has told this story a couple of times at church:
There was this Jewish rabbi walking in the fields one day and he was talking out loud to himself. He was wandering around in the fields outside of town where no one really was when he heard a voice, “Who are you? What are you doing here?” It was a guard watching over the land.
The rabbi continued walking and talking to himself.
“Who are you? What are you doing here?” The guard asked again.
The rabbi asked, “How much are they paying you?”
The guard replied, “Five bucks.” (Or something like that) “Who are you? What are you doing here?” He continued to ask.
“I’ll pay you twice that amount if you come to my house every morning, knock on my door, and ask my those same two questions.”
Who are you? What are you doing here?