Want to Give up on Life? See ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’

By Karen O’Connor:

Don’t give up on life. It  may seem very dark to you right now, but there are people in your life whose world would not be the same without you.

 

Last night my husband and I watched the 1946 classic film, It’s a Wonderful Life, starring Jimmy Stewart as George Bailey. George nearly commits suicide in his despondency about everything going wrong in his life.

Following the prayers of his family, Clarence, an angel-in-training comes down from heaven.

As a quick aside, it’s good to know that people don’t become angels in training, or angels at all. Angels are heavenly created, powerful beings. If interested, you can read Angels by Billy Graham, or read his answer to the question: Does each person have a guardian angel that watches over them?

In the film George is about to jump off the nearest bridge. Yet he ends up ‘saving’ Clarence instead, who shows George what the world would be like if he had never been born.

Over the course of the story, George learns to not give up on life. He discovers through experience that:

“No man is a failure who has friends.”

The same is true for each one of us. No one is ever really alone if we look around at what we have rather than at what we don’t have.

The Spirit of God is always available if we simply call on him for help, as George did in a pub one night when he was at the end of his rope:

“God…God…dear Father in heaven, I’m not a praying man, but if  You’re up there and You can hear me, show me the way, I’m at the end of my rope. Show me the way, God…'”

In an article published in Christianity Today, Stewart talked about his faith and how that scene impacted his life at that time:

“As I said those words,” Stewart shared, “I felt the loneliness and hopelessness of people who had nowhere to turn, and my eyes filled with tears. I broke down sobbing. This was not planned at all, but the power of that prayer, the realization that our Father in heaven is there to help the hopeless had reduced me to tears.”

View and share this excellent YouTube video from the movie, It’s a Wonderful Life, showing George Bailey praying to God when he was in despair.

Depressed? Don’t give up on life. Instead, turn to God. Plead for His help, as George did, and allow God to reveal his plans for you. Not sure how? Visit GodTest.com.

Also see what it can be like for people left behind: Grieving the Suicide of Family Members  You can also click to read articles on Hope and Help.

Suicide Prevention in the Workplace

When losing a worker from suicide, an employer may feel shock, surprise and even guilt. What signs were missed?  Could increased awareness of employee struggles be an ingredient for suicide prevention?

By Karen O’Connor:

Image: nuttakit / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

My friend Arlette and her husband Dan ran a restaurant in Southern California for over twenty years. Each Monday morning they gathered their employees in a circle and asked each one to share a concern or a need so they could support one another with prayer and reassuring hugs.

Many of the couple’s employees remained with the company for ten years or more waiting tables and preparing meals. The owners credit this loyalty to the weekly practice of sharing and caring for one another.

“We let people talk out their feelings and needs so they could do their job without being weighed down emotionally.”

Imagine what would happen to the morale and longevity of employees at other companies, if more of them modeled this practice. I thought about this when I heard recently that one of my neighbor’s employees killed himself and no one seems to know why. Years ago an attorney in a friend’s legal firm did the same at home alone in the bathroom of his condominium.

Are employers to blame? Of course not, and yet such news is cause for alarm. Owners and managers surely ask themselves, as my lawyer friend did, if he could have done anything to stop his colleague from such a final act against himself.

None of us is fully responsible for the actions of another, But at the same time, those of us who employ others–or who deal with them through our businesses–can be an influence for good, whenever we are in contact with them. Perhaps the most important help can be offered well ahead of a fateful decision to take one’s own life.

When coworkers become aware that a fellow employee is struggling, they can show support and pray for them, but also direct that person to counseling resources and hotline numbers. Suicide prevention is multifaceted.

Like Arlette and Dan, a few moments of personal time, asking questions, opening our lives to the fears and concerns of others could make the difference between life and death.

Jesus said to his followers: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind,’and ‘Love your neighbor as yourself’” (Luke 10:27 from the Bible).

Overcome Shame

With God’s help, you can overcome feelings of shame about circumstances in your past or present.

By Janet Perez Eckles:

Image by pixatwan / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Instead of your road ahead being paved reminders of past shameful circumstances, it can be paved with hope.

So what happened in your past? A friend was asked. A bit put out, she kept silent. The past was painful, the scars still raw and the reminders alive.

What is it about shame that has the power to drape a veil covering our chance for joy? At 31, blindness put me in the category of a “disabled” person. It placed me in the “not-normal” category.

And was I sad? Down? No. It was shame that marked my attitude. Shame of living my life as a person whom I didn’t want to be.

Have you been there? Suddenly you’re thrown into an identity that was never in your plans, and the road ahead was paved with taunting reminders of what was. What you had. And how much better it all used to be.

Those reminders are just part of the shame that wears various attires: Shame of what we’ve become. Shame for what we’ve done. Shame because of what we carry in the secret boxes of our heart.

We carry all and drag it into today’s circumstances. When setbacks pop up, the hidden shame darkens the view even more. Insecurities are more dramatic and tough moments turn to tragedies.

Who’s to blame? We are– for letting shame grip our heart. But when the hold is given to God, Almighty and capable He erases destructive attitudes. He exchanges shame for significance.  And ushers courage to blot out regret.

Secure in His love, we walk with firm steps, high held high and heart shining with passion. God’ works out His power. Shame is erased, false desires are removed. And longing for what we don’t have vanishes. And perhaps for the first time, sweet freedom smiles.

Being physically blind with no shame displayed radiant hope for me to see the beauty of His hand at work. I saw the details of the brush strokes as He painted a new life, rich with purpose, defined plans, and all detailed on the canvas of His grace.

Grief and Guilt with Suicidal Thoughts? Ask for Help

By Dianne E. Butts:

 Grief, Guilt and Asking for Help: Lesson 2 in 10 Things I’ve Learned About Grief. Includes Post-Abortion Grief.

 

As I write about lessons I’ve learned about grief, you may recall lesson #1: Grief Plus Exhaustion May Increase Suicidal Thoughts where I talked about how being tired is just one symptom of grief.

Lesson #2 is to recognize additional symptoms and know when to ask for help:

Some people may temporarily experience sleeplessness, nightmares, lack of appetite or greater appetite, fear, increased anxiety, or various other difficulties. These are “normal” for people working through grief, but if they continue or become overwhelming, ask for help.

It’s hard to ask for help. I’ve also learned even when we reach out for help, the help we find isn’t always helpful. If that has been your experience, I challenge you to try again. You are too important to let a mismatched counselor stop you.

In the article, Choosing a Christian Counselor at  CBN.com,  David Martin states: “In order for a Christian to make a good decision about a Christian counseling professional, there are some important factors that need to be understood as well as the various options that are available to you.” (Click through to that article for more good information.)

For help, CBN.com recommends these organizations that you can call right now:

New Life Ministries: 1-800-NEW-LIFE (1-800-639-5433)

Rapha National Network: 1-800-383-HOPE (1-800-383-4673)

There are various reasons feelings of guilt may be associated with the loss of someone. For many women and men, that relates to  abortion.

Post-Abortion Grief and Guilt

In a guest post at Kathi Macias’ blog, I wrote about how it’s common for people with an abortion in their past to grieve and even think about suicide. (If this applies to you, click here to read more about that.) But women (and men) the world over need to know that God loves them, that He will forgive them, and that He is right there with them no matter what they have done or what they are facing right now.

At the Abortion Recovery Help webpage, the list of  Symptoms of Post Abortion Syndrome  includes depression and thoughts of suicide. Whether you are a woman or a man, pro-life pregnancy centers offer free, confidential programs to help you through after-abortion struggles. Find one closest to you here: www.OptionLine.org.

Even if this common cause for grief does not apply to you, feelings about the loss of a loved one can be complicated, and counseling frequently very helpful. If you are feeling overwhelmed, do ask for help, from a friend, any of the counseling resources previously mentioned, or:

CBN’s 700 Club Prayer Counseling Center at 1-800-759-0700

This video,You Are Loved (Don’t Give Up), may help: