Using Our Super Powers to Fight Suicide
Thank you, Shayna Hardy, for sharing this beautiful image!
By: Rachael Lee Stroud
The New Normal
Hey-you! Yes-you! You are a woman of influence. God has given us some pretty cool super powers as young women. We can use this influence to make an incredibly powerful & positive impact on the world around us. As young women in this generation, we live in a world now where many things have been made to look “normal.” I hear people say things like: “Oh, that’s very common nowadays…” or “Well-it’s so very sad, but that’s just the world we live in.” Or one of my least favorite of all: “Oh-what a shame…” As if there’s nothing we can do to change these “normal” detrimental circumstances. A few of these “normal” things about the world we live in include:
Low self esteem.
Did you know that all of the things listed before suicide actually lead to it happening in teens? I don’t know about you-but I don’t think “normal” is working out so well. Ladies, let’s talk about how we can create the new normal and use our influence as women of God to change this.
If you are a young girl, I’m sure you’ve been tempted to gossip, and probably have gossiped. Don’t worry-I won’t tell anyone. Growing up, I always dreaded going to church youth groups because the facades really irritated me. These pretty girls with crosses around their necks would bake cookies and sing songs. A few of them would give speeches about how God changed their lives. Then, I would see the same girls laughing at someone who was sitting alone.
Just a couple years ago, I was at a college youth group. I kind of thought that since middle school and high school was over, the gossip would be over, too. I hoped that the cruel and petty jokes would have come to an end. No such luck. Life is about forming habits, and we are who we practice to be.
What are you practicing? Bullying hurts. Gossip hurts. And words really do stick with you. Gossiping and putting others down doesn’t have to be normal. I want to encourage the youth of this culture to stand up for what they believe in. Let go of the petty nonsense and let God lead you. It’s easy to feel tempted to gossip when you’re trying to make friends and just want to fit in. Resist that temptation and realize that what may be a few silly words to you could have a huge impact on someone’s life.
The statistics on teen suicide are horrifying to read. In a survey of high school students, the National Youth Violence Prevention Resource Center found these shocking stats:
-1 in 5 teens have thought about suicide.
-1 in 6 teens have made plans for suicide.
-More than 1 in 12 teens have attempted suicide in the last year.
The biggest wake up call for me was reading that the leading cause of suicide in teen girls is loneliness/rejection by friends & peers. Girls…this is our wake up call! These statistics are screaming at us telling us it is time to use our God given influence. We have super powers, remember? We can use our influence for good, or for evil. We can use our status to gossip and inflict pain. Or, we can use our influence to love others, build each other up, and help heal the brokenness around us.
These statistics are telling me that we have a direct connection to the suicide stats. If the majority of teen girls are committing suicide because they feel rejected by us, we can change that! We are here to use our influence and re-define normal. Let’s be women of such a positive influence that these statistics are changed! Let’s be women of such power through God that our peers decide to talk it out instead of taking their lives.
I’ve been talking about what we can do as young women to make an impact and help those around us who might be dealing with this issue. But the truth of it is, more than 1 in 12 teens have attempted suicide in the last year. This is more than a statistic. It is hitting close to us. Maybe some of you reading this are that 1 in 12. Maybe you have thought about suicide, or even attempted it. There have been many times in my life that I have felt completely isolated. I have had moments where I felt so alone. I remember a couple years ago, I sat on the floor in my apartment, sobbing, crying out to God, but feeling like no one could hear me…even Him.
What I have come to realize is that Satan wants SO badly for us to be alone. It is extremely difficult to do life alone, and to really get anything positive accomplished. We were made to do life together in fellowship with others.
If you are feeling depressed, alone, afraid, useless, hurt, tired and are allowing even the slightest idea of suicide into your heart & mind, please take the time to read the 3 tips below:
1-Don’t do life alone. I tend to shut other people out when I’m hurting, which is an extremely unhealthy thing to do. We can’t do life alone…we weren’t made to do life alone. Fight the temptation to isolate yourself. Remember that when we try to do life alone, we are giving Satan the ultimate power. He wins when we cut fellowship out of our lives. When we are alone, we have no wisdom in our lives. I have made terrible decisions when I only had my thoughts & my input swirling around in my head. Find someone that you trust. I highly recommend finding a mentor…someone you feel comfortable with. Confide in this person, tell them how you’re feeling. Tell this person that you want to call them whenever you have the slighted thought of suicide. Don’t be embarrassed about anything! Remember that we all struggle and we all go through horrible times…they just look different and unique for each of us. If you’re feeling embarrassed or uncomfortable, remember that NONE of us are capable of doing life alone, and we have each other for a reason:
“Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up. Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm. But how can one keep warm alone? Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.” -Ecclesiastes 4:9-12
2-Forget what other people have told you, or what you may be telling yourself. Remember who God says you are:
We live in a world full of unrealistic, photoshopped magazines. As girls, we constantly compare ourselves to others. Even worse, maybe you’ve been bullied or fallen victim to gossip. I think all of us have at one point or another. It’s easy to remember the one cruel thing that a peer, or maybe even a family member, says to us and forget what God has said about us. If you are ever feeling overwhelmed with insecurity or feeling worthless, remember what God thinks of you:
-God says you are unique. He says you were made for an important purpose. He says that you are WONDERFULLY made! (Ephesians 2:4-9)
-Proverbs 31:10 says that a good wife and a good woman (YOU) are more precious than jewels!
-YOU are clothed with strength & dignity! (Proverbs 31:25) This verse also goes on to say that you can laugh without fear of the future! Remember how beautiful you are to God. Have faith in Him and know that even when times are rough, He has a plan for your future! His plan is so incredible for your life that you can smile, laugh, and go on with your life fearlessly.
3-Change your self talk.
It is crucial that you understand how beautiful, valuable, and worthy you are in the eyes of God. However, if you don’t start looking at yourself that way, you will always have a negative image of yourself. I am going to challenge you, yes-ALL of the girls reading this, to do a few positivity exercises this week:
1-Get a stack of post-it-notes. For one week, every time something makes you smile, even if it’s tiny, write it down. This is a blessing counter. It’s easy in life to focus on what isn’t going right, but when we keep track of everything that’s good, it can change our entire outlook on life. Post these notes all over your room…and pretty soon, you’ll be overwhelmed by happy thoughts! :)
2-Make a list of AT LEAST 10 things you love about yourself physically, and make a separate list of at least 10 things you love about yourself aside from looks.
3-Mirrors are a place we look at ourselves and make judgement. It is a reflection of who we are. But my God says we were made in HIS image! Pretty cool, right? Let’s change our initial reaction to our mirror image. You can either tape a piece of paper on your mirror, OR if you’re a hardcore girl, write it in lipstick. I want ALL OF YOU to write this on your mirorr: STRENGTH & DIGNITY IS MY CLOTHING!
Whether you are dealing with thoughts of suicide, insecurities & hurt, or you know someone who is, you are part of the 1 in 12. You can change the statistics. You can use your influence to change the world. YOU can create the new normal.
***Take a photo of your mirror challenge & post it on the Delight For Young Women Facebook wall to encourage all of the other girls out there!***
For more from Rachael Lee, visit her blog at: http://rachaelleestroud.wordpress.com/
And check out her website at: www.rachaelleeonline.com
March 15, 2013
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