13 Reasons Why: I Didn’t Want to Live Anymore…
Right now, anywhere you go on the internet, people are talking about the newest hit Netflix Original show: 13 Reasons Why. Based on the novel Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher, the story begins in a high school that has just been rocked by the sudden suicide of a student, Hannah Baker. Before she killed herself, she mailed a box of seven double-sided tapes that she recorded. Each side of a tape was dedicated to a person who played a part in her decision. One of the receivers of the tapes, Clay, who was actually in love with Hannah but too afraid to tell her, goes on a mission to get justice for her, all the while learning a vital lesson in identifying the signs of a suicidal individual and resolving to prevent anyone else from falling into that trap.
But why is a show with such a dark subject matter a huge hit? Because there are hundreds of thousands of people out there who are ready to give up. It is so important that we learn to identify the signs of a suicidal individual and that we introduce them to Jesus – the only real answer to their problems!
When I was fifteen-years-old, I decided that my life was worthless. No one around me realized I was slowly phasing out. I was always a good, quiet kid. I could laugh and a smile more than anyone I knew. Sadly it was all a façade. I was a total fake. But Jesus had other plans for me.
It’s no secret that the world can make us want to stop living.
The world sure left me feeling that way. When I was fifteen I was hopeless, broken, empty, and depressed. I thought I had nothing to live for. I had no hope. I had no joy. I had no strength. I had no love. I hated myself. I hated other people. Everything I tried to do to make me feel better failed. Every person I wanted to feel loved by let me down. Everything I thought would make me feel whole left me empty. Eventually, I stopped feeling pain. I only felt numbness. I remember when the bullies in my class stopped hurting my feelings because I didn’t have feelings anymore. I remember when I stopped listening to my parents because I didn’t care what they said anymore. I remember when I stopped wanting to feel better and when I started wanting to end my life.
When you start to live for yourself, you begin to lose it all.
It’s ironic when I think about it because back then I had everyone else to blame for the way I felt. But now I realize I can’t blame anyone but myself. I was so caught up in ME. That’s how it started. I was focused on me and me alone. What I wanted, who I wanted, and when I wanted. Let me tell you, dear friends; when you start to live for yourself, you begin to lose it all.
“The thief comes only in order to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have and enjoy life, and have it in abundance.”
You see, Jesus had a divine purpose for my life, but the devil didn’t want me to know that. Jesus said in John 10:10, “The thief comes only in order to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have and enjoy life, and have it in abundance [to the full, till it overflows].” I was so caught up in what the world made me feel that I couldn’t find my true identity. I was getting swallowed up in the lies about myself. I was heavily burdened. The devil wanted to stop me from discovering the ultimate gift of Jesus: a purposeful life.
An Encounter with Jesus…
I’ll never forget the night my life changed. I was living a lie but I had to keep up appearances because I was surrounded by nosey Christians all day long. But when a revival started in my Church through the ministry of Evangelist Nathan Morris, I ran from it. Then one day, a teacher at my Christian school, who I knew held me to a high regard, told me she was so excited because she would be visiting my church that night and couldn’t wait to see me there.
See me there? Yeah right…
But then I panicked. “If she doesn’t see me there, she’ll know that I’m a total fake. She’ll start to realize that I want to kill myself and she’ll get my parents involved!”
It’s amazing the sense of humor that God has. Over and over again He has proven to be the master of reverse psychology in my life. I went to church that night. I didn’t listen to the worship. I didn’t even look at the pulpit. Finally, I could tell the service was coming to an end with the sound of the all-too-familiar altar call. I actually enjoyed this time because I could open my eyes to see who the other messed up people in the room were. But then something happened that changed everything.
A man in the back started walking toward the altar. “Why is he wearing glasses inside?” I thought. I quickly answered myself when I saw his seeing-eye dog.
“A blind man on his way to find Jesus.”… a story I had heard many times but never seen.
But before he could even make it to the front of the room, something happened. A familiar wailing came from his mouth. It was desperation. It was brokenness. It was emptiness. It was a sound I had made many times alone in the dark. But then the sound changed. It went from darkness to light. He started saying, “Jesus! Jesus! Thank You! Thank You!” Those words left his mouth like arrows and pierced my heart. I began to weep. In that moment I found what I had been searching for: something real. He died to give you life.
His Name is Jesus.
He took all your pain, brokenness, emptiness, and hate and nailed it all to the cross. He conquered death because your life is so valuable and He wants you to find true life in Him. Things haven’t been perfect since that day, but now when I am weak, I know where to find my strength. When I am broken, He makes me whole. When I am empty, He fills me. When I am lost, He finds me. When fear encircles my brain, He restores my mind. He is Jesus. He wants to give you life.
13 reasons why: signs to spot a suicidal individual
- Substance Abuse
- Loss of interest in previously enjoyed activities
- Sleeping too much or too little
- Reconnecting with old friends and extended family as if to say goodbye
- Unusual happiness and peace after an intense period of turmoil
- Risk-taking behaviour
- Direct and indirect verbal expressions of death
I never wanted to share the depth of my story. I thought that it would scare my parents and cause people to treat me differently. But I’m done hiding it. After all, we overcome by the blood of the Lamb and the word of our testimonies. Not by telling the cookie-cutter version of it.
Jesus came to give us ALL life. As Christians, we should be pursuing those that the devil is seeking to destroy. Like me, God has a huge purpose and plan for them. He loves them so much. We need to be able to identify the signs and show them that there is real life to be found in Christ! But we must also remember that our words are powerful. We really can destroy someone’s life with idle talk and hateful speech. Be careful what you say. Look for people who need the love and truth of Jesus in their lives. Suicide should never be an option.