Sunday, March 9, 2014

Lessons Learned at the End of a Rope

Many of us have, at one time or another, reached the end of our rope. We're going through too much. We're desperate. We're scared. We just know we can't hold on any more, and there is no rope left to grab but the little frayed end that we're clinging to.

I've been there. More times than I can count or care to recall, I have been there. Some say "just keep holding on." Some tell us to not let go. But what I've learned? All these times at the end of my rope, and all the times I've witnessed others at the end of theirs, or heart of others at the end of theirs?

Let Go of the Rope!


I believe I was 16 the first time I decided to kill myself. I was at the end of my rope. I was scared, and hurting, and so alone and lost. I downed a bottle of aspirin, and in my weakened state... I let go of the rope. A mentor was there to catch me, and I let myself trust him to get me help. He saved my life (well, that and the fact that with that bottle of aspirin, I also had a 2 liter of soda and a bag of chocolate chips... which made me toss up half the aspirin...).

A couple years later, I had a perfect plan. I was going to take a bottle of pain meds, slit my wrists, and shoot myself. Or hang myself. I truly can't remember which. But, regardless, just minutes before I executed my plan, three friends appeared at my door and refused to leave my side. I let go of the rope and I let them catch me.

Not too long ago, again I felt I reached the end of that rope. I was so scared and alone and confused and overwhelmed. And again, there was a mentor, someone standing beneath me letting me know I could let go of the rope - he would catch me.

I lost two brothers to suicide - not just any suicide either. Both died like a good friend of ours did - they hung themselves. They'd reached the end of the rope, and tied it around their neck. They weren't able to trust someone... they weren't able to just let go of that rope and know someone would catch them. And truly, it doesn't matter how one dies when they take their own life - it's the same thing... they don't see there is someone trustworthy enough to save them; and they don't believe they are worthy enough of someone trustworthy trying to save them.

This is what God wants!


God doesn't want us clasping and clinging to the end of that rope, assuming we can or should have the strength to pull ourselves up. He wants to let go of that rope and cling to Him. He is all we need.

God wants us to stop pretending we have the strength - to stop assuming we're able to fully rely on ourselves. We can't. There is just no way. By insisting on clinging to the end of that rope, we're still fighting our own ego. We're still saying we don't need anyone else (and yes, I just found myself laughing out loud as I wrote that last bit... I am very much in the habit of fighting my own ego. Perhaps I'd find myself at the end of my rope much less often if I'd acknowledge my weakness before the rope ran out). We need God. There is no other way. There is no way we can climb that rope again and again and again by ourselves. There are times we need to simply trust in God and let go of that rope.

Yes, the times I let go, I had friends and mentors who caught me. These people were God's hands at work. And I thank God daily for these friends. And I praise God daily for helping me realize that it is okay (and often necessary) to just let go of that rope.

Trust in God and stop fighting, assuming you are (or need to be) strong enough to go it alone. None of us are. And none of us need to be. Just let go of the rope and know that God is there to catch you.

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