By Lisa Copen:
It is easy to look around at our circumstances and believe that we are not making a difference for anyone else in this world. Do we matter?
Is there any part of us left that isn’t all about fighting off chronic pain and illness, but just living? Having relationships? Experiencing joy?
Most people go through times when they feel they are not making a difference to anyone, but for those who cope with deep depression, the feelings of why not commit suicide? I am not worth anything to anyone, are much more serious. When you believe I am worthless, I can’t cope with life, I am not like other people, I will never be successful, I am just surviving this life but not really living, it can be nearly impossible to understand how you make a difference.
But you do.
I know, because I have had people in my life who have lived with these turmoil of emotions. . . and they have made a positive difference in my life. They have encouraged me and given me hope. As I see their pain, but also the dedication to getting up one more day and then one more day, I think, if they can do it, so can I.
Despite the fact that you are considering “why not commit suicide?” you still do make a difference! You may think:
“Why not commit suicide? No one will even miss me. I don’t matter to anyone.”
“Why not commit suicide? No one will hardly realize I am gone, since I am just surviving this life–not contributing to it in any way.”
“Why not commit suicide? People will just be better off without me.”
But consider for a moment that you don’t have to make a difference to the entire world. You only have to touch a life. And if you are here on this earth, it is impossible not to touch someone’s life. Millions of people log on to social networks daily and post a message that encourages someone else. I have seen many people who live with incredible chronic pain and yet they make it their purpose to try to smile at someone who serves them, such as a nurse, a doctor, a home health care worker–someone! Anyone!
Because you may be the only person who encourages a nurse who was beaten by her husband last night and has hidden her bruises. You may be the first patient a doctor sees tomorrow morning after he found out last night his wife is having an affair. You may be the one who smiles at the receptionist who has a teenage daughter who ran away from home yesterday. You never know what pain someone else is going through.
You are special because God created you. You are struggling because earth is filled with pain and suffering. But your value and worth does not come from what you can do here on earth, it comes because you are precious to God.
Genesis 2:7 says, “The Lord God formed the man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.”
God created you, and He doesn’t abandon anything He begins. Even when you don’t realize it, you are making a difference in someone’s life. How you face each day can determine if it’s a positive difference or not. But whether you realize it or not, even when you share your struggles, admit defeat, allow yourself to be vulnerable, or just smile at someone, you are inspiring someone. You matter.
So, why not commit suicide? Because you matter–and no feeling or circumstance will ever change that fact.
Did you know that some people believe that the popular “The Legend of the Starfish” was originally about a sand dollar? This video is a simple reminder that you matter–you don’t need to change the world, you don’t need to find the energy or emotional ability to take on a huge ministry or a campaign to end world hunger. You only have to offer what you can and it will make a difference for one, and then another one, and then another one.
Lisa Copen has lived with rheumatoid arthritis for nineteen years, and has found purpose in her pain by reaching out to others with chronic illness. Her organization, Rest Ministries, serves those with chronic illness or pain through daily devotionals and other programs.