I don’t want to drag this out with all the details of my suicide attempt. If you want to read that, click here.
What I want to talk about is the fact that once I truly came to the end of myself, I began to find my true self. I have found the Love that pushes me to be my truest self, my best reflection of God. I have found the Love that is a belonging, a safe place, a fierceness that will not let me go. I have learned to find the beauty in imperfection and revel in it and I have learned to enjoy silence. I have learned what a gift my family is and I am fully convinced that God loves me because He gave me Lindsey and Ben Thomas and Caroline. What more could I possibly ask for?
I typed that last sentence and smiled. Really, that’s the point. I could make this blog extremely short.
I am ALIVE! What else matters? Maybe other things matter to other folks, but when it all boils down to it, I have breath in my lungs and another chance today. I may not get tomorrow for a vast multitude of reasons, but I have today, so I am going to live. Somebody said the devil is in the details, and they’re right. Life has plenty of lemons to throw our way, but I AM ALIVE!
What about more than just inhaling and exhaling? Are you living? I wasn’t. I had hurts and fears and bitterness and resentment and mess and it nearly killed me. I have said it countless times before: there is no medical reason for me to be here. BUT I AM! Not because I’m so great, but because God is. His grace is so much greater than our wildest imaginations.
If the eyes are the windows to the soul, my eyes weren’t empty, they were just forgetful. They had forgotten to look for the joyful things in life. Remind yourself to look for the good in every person and situation and if you absolutely cannot find it, move on.
Another thing I have learned in the past three years is to own it. Own your mistakes and the fact that they affect other people. We all mess up: some of us more than others and some of us make mistakes that seem “bigger” than others, but we all make mistakes. We can’t blame family history or former friends or employers or the government or God on the choices we make. We all make choices and sometimes we make the wrong ones. The best thing any of us can do is focus on today and the people who love us: those who push us to be our best and love us even at our worst. I think about my sweet Lindsey: she sat with me in the ashes, when some would have preferred that she stoke the coals. She is the true picture of God’s grace to me.
A final note: life is worth living. It’s worth fighting through all the hard times and the dry times and the lean times and the mean times. Fight for love. Fight through the distractions and against the detractors that try to put your focus on anything that doesn’t support you and make you better. Cut through the busyness and bullshit and figure out what on earth you’re doing here and what your reason is for getting out of bed each morning…and then do that with all your heart. If you don’t know what you’re doing here, ask. Ask God, ask a friend who knows God. Find a counselor or therapist or get alone and get quiet and figure out what it is that makes your heart beat.
What makes your heart smile? Do that.
I’m thankful for His wonderful grace that has gotten messy with me countless times.
Steve Austin is an author, speaker, and life coach who is passionate about helping overwhelmed people learn to catch their breath. He is the author of two Amazon bestsellers, "Catching Your Breath," and "From Pastor to a Psych Ward." Steve lives with his wife and two children in Birmingham, Alabama.
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VIDEO: I was a pastor when I nearly died by suicide.
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