Leadership and Suicide: When Ending It Seems Like the Only Way Out

2. It’s spiritual

Kayla also wrote:

The enemy knew what an amazing man you were. The enemy knew God had huge plans for your life. The enemy saw how God was using your gifts, abilities and unique teaching style to reach thousands of lives for Him. The enemy hated it and he pursued you incessantly. Taunting you and torturing you in ways that you were unable to express to anyone.

I don’t know what you think about spiritual warfare. I used to think it was something that happened 2,000 years ago. Then I got into ministry.

Not everything is an attack by the enemy. Sometimes you just need to take responsibility and clean up your act.

But just because everything isn’t an attack by the Enemy doesn’t mean nothing is. Sometimes you do everything you can do and battle rages. (By the way, if you’re a spiritual skeptic—welcome. And if you think this is crazy talk (which you might), just study 20th-century history and ask yourself why well-intentioned humans behave the way we behave.)

This stuff is real and Kayla has articulated it well. She’s right.

There is an Enemy, and he hates love, he hates hope and (as hard as this is to hear) he hates you.

My wife, Toni, and I were under some intense attacks when I was at my lowest. It was a battle some days just to stay married and to stay in ministry and to stay alive.

Without being trivial (because this is hard to see when you’re depressed), it’s important to remember that we know how this story ends. Hope wins. Jesus wins. The enemy is defeated, and death loses.

Satan can’t steal our salvation. But he can steal our joy. And he delights in doing it.

Just know that when it gets really dark, the only way back to hope is through the Light.

3. Your emotions lie

We live in an emotional age. You and I get encouraged to listen to our feelings and to follow our emotions.

There’s one problem with that. Your emotions lie. Especially when you’re depressed, burned out and discouraged.

You do you is some of the worst life advice you can give. There have been huge swaths of my life when I sucked.

You know what’s better than your emotions? Your obedience.

For all the reasons mentioned in this post, I am NOT slamming people who gave into the darkness and ended their lives. This post is for the living, not the dead.

What I am saying is the best thing you can do when you’re depressed and suicidal is to do the thing you know to be true even if you don’t feel like doing it.

Burned-out, depressed people don’t think straight. I didn’t. Mental illness attacks your mind. It attacked mine.

As a result,

You are loved even when you don’t feel loved.

There is hope, even when you can’t feel hope.

You have a future, even when you can’t see your future.

I know this all personally because I felt exactly that way.

Want some good news? For many (perhaps not for all, but for many), your emotions eventually catch up to your obedience. Mine did.

So keep clinging to what you know to be true, even when you don’t feel like it.

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Carey Nieuwhof
Speaker and podcaster Carey Nieuwhof is a former lawyer and founding pastor of Connexus Church, one of the largest and most influential churches in Canada. With over 6 million downloads, The Carey Nieuwhof Leadership Podcast features today's top leaders and cultural influencers. His most recent book is “Didn’t See It Coming: Overcoming the 7 Greatest Challenges That No One Expects and Everyone Experiences.” Carey and his wife, Toni, reside near Barrie, Ontario and have two children.