Overwhelming emotions can take you to where you want to die. It’s what happens when it all becomes too much for us mere humans to handle, and so we pray, ‘God, I want to die.’
The other day, I watched a news reporter standing in a stream swollen with water from a recent storm. Water was rushing down against his legs, and he talked about the overwhelming power of the current.
Many people die when their footing is lost to the overwhelming power of simple small water droplets joined together.
Or perhaps it feels like you have been hammered on.
Something or someone has been hammering on your soul.
Like a hammer has been taken up, and you have been hit time and time again. You want it all to end.
I’ve been there and know well the flood and the hits of the hammer.
It could be the hammer hits or the floodwaters of so many things.
- Words upon words
- Harsh judgments from others
- Physical pain
- A billion other things that you can feel
It’s a flood of water. It’s a hammer hit on the soul.
You know it, and you know its pain. You pray for it to end.
Are you kind to yourself?
Here is some news for you.
Under a certain level of stress and pressure, something is always going to give.
It’s not just the one straw that broke the camel’s back, but the accumulation of straws.
Could you give a name to some of the heavy ‘straws’ your carrying?
To name them as ‘straws’ feels like I might be minimizing your distress. I’m not.
Perhaps refer to them as heavy logs.
When the body is under such a heavy load, it becomes vulnerable to unwellness. Mental unwellness might make its appearance, which is normal in the sense that the body can only cope with so much.
It’s ok, you’re not alone, and there is help.
For some, it might result in a wish to die. To take their own life or to cry out in their pain. ‘God! Take my life. I Want to Die’.
The Dark Hole
Perhaps you are in that dark, lonely hole where you feel hopeless, helpless, and worthless.
- Hopeless – a belief that there is no hope
- helpless – nothing will be of help
- worthless – overwhelmed with a sense of personal failure.
If you’re in a dark hole, then you think there is no way out. It can feel like you have drowned in the darkness.
The world has collapsed in on you, and you don’t have a spade and the willpower to dig your way out.
I want to die
There have been others who have been in that same dark hole and have recovered and found their way out. One of them was a biblical character called Elijah.
He crashed and burned big time. Floodwaters hit him, and the hammer was pounding.
He had done some amazing things, which really upset some very powerful people. So much so that they wanted to kill him.
When a furious Queen Jezebel threatened his life, he ran.
Then he was afraid; he got up and fled for his life, and came to Beer-sheba, which belongs to Judah; he left his servant there.
But he himself went a day’s journey into the wilderness, and came and sat down under a solitary broom tree. He asked that he might die: “It is enough; now, O Lord, take away my life, for I am no better than my ancestors.” 1 Kings 19: 3, 4
He wanted to die, and he prayed that God would take his life.
When the walls of the false self crumbled to dust, a desire to die was heard.
One of us
If I ever meet Elijah or the writer of this book, I would thank them for including this story.
It’s easy to focus on the positive things coming out of a person’s life and skip over the uncomfortable.
This is not a place to theorize whether what Elijah said was right or wrong. This is a moment of acknowledging his humanity that he is someone like us.
When you’re in this hole, you don’t want to hear ‘You shouldn’t say that.’
You don’t want cliche kindness or to ‘Try harder.’
You want to hear
‘I hear the pain, it’s ok, and I’m not going to leave you.
Together we will find a way through this’.
If you’re someone who has cried out the Elijah prayer ‘I’ve had enough, Take my life God, I want to die,’ then please know that you have company.
Moses, in his dark hole of frustration, shouts at God.
If this is the way you are going to treat me, put me to death at once—if I have found favor in your sight—and do not let me see my misery. Numbers 11:15
In your dark hole, know that Moses and Elijah have been there too. But it didn’t end there in that place of darkness.
God did not cause them to die. There was still more to do, and it required something within them to change.
Overwhelming emotions like surging floodwaters can drag you away to where you want to die. They can hammer on your fragile human self.
It happens, and the more times it happens, the deeper the groove is ground out.
There is a way out and a way through.
I don’t want others to know.
You probably don’t want others to know just how tired, distressed, and desperate you feel.
I get that.
You want to keep this from others for all sorts of reasons, but you are still searching for help.
Here are some suggestions.
- Pray a different prayer of desperation.
Perhaps you could pray this prayer.
God, I want to die. My world feels black and dark.
I feel like I am drowning and being swept away.
The hammer blows hurt, bruise, and tear.
I know that my feelings can misrepresent reality. The more I believe the feelings to be true; the deeper and darker my pit will become.
Help me sense that you are here with me and want to help me out of this dark hole.
I want to know what to do in the darkness.
Whisper some light to me and show me a path to walk on.
- Identify the straws.
Break it down before it breaks you down.
Can you journal and write down all the stresses that you are carrying? Try and break them down into the smallest straws that you can.
When we get pragmatic about the various worries, fears, pressures that we are carrying, we can start to problem solve and take action.
- Take action.
Take a millimeter step in changing the situation. Small actions add up. Take a small action on one of the places of struggle.
- Read some of these blog posts.
- Contact me
I know you want to keep things private and to yourself, but to have someone that knows and is willing to listen and pray can make all the difference.
We were never meant to face our struggles on our own.
Please let me join you on your journey.
I won’t reject you or dismiss your pain.
So, could you email me at firstname.lastname@example.org?
- Get a copy of Out of the Darkness.
You might like to get my free ebook Out of the Darkness -Help for your depression.
Fill out the boxes below, and I will send you a copy.
Quotes to consider
- When I believe my feelings and those feelings misrepresent reality, I am headed for a self-referential pit that will get deeper and darker as I dig myself into my home-made delusion. D. Riddell.
- There is a ladder for my pit – and there is a good counselor who can help me find the way out. D. Riddell.
- When you get to the end of your rope, tie a knot in it and hang on. Franklin D. Roosevelt
Questions to answer
- Have you ever been in that dark hole where you want God to cause you to die?
- What comfort is there to know this desire for God to take our lives has been spoken by biblical characters?
- What has helped you get out of the hole of wanting to die?
Image cc: Toa Heftiba
Barry is a writer, coach, online pastor, and course creator with a passion for Mental Health and Spiritual Formation.
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