Life Coaches Commit Suicide

John Littig and his common law wife, Lynne Rosen, committed suicide last week in New York.  They were found with plastic bags over their heads and a tube attached to a canister of helium.  The reason the story made headlines is because they were life coaches who had a radio show called, “The Pursuit of Happiness.”

Strange, you say?

Not really.

People who are in positions of leadership, authority, or influence often internalize and hide their struggles.  Whereas another person might confess a weakness and seek help, the person other people look up to figures he has too much to lose.   People won’t want to listen to my radio show (or attend my church or buy my books) if they know how weak I really am.

My guess is that the majority of pastors and church staff members are fighting major (and dangerous) internal spiritual battles that not even their closest friends or spouses know about.  And yes, I meant to say, “the majority.”  Some, in a moment of weakness, will make a misstep and be found out.  Others will continue on fighting their secret battles while desperately trying to maintain the look of a happy, well-adjusted Christian.

Trust me.  I get it.

There have been times in my own life when I was struggling, but somehow managed to convince myself that it would be better if didn’t say anything to anybody.  Oh, I prayed about it.  I worked on my problem.  But because of fear or embarrassment or the desire to maintain people’s confidence, I kept my mouth shut.

I’m certainly not saying that we ought to air all our internal struggles.  There really is such a thing as TMI (Too Much Information).  But the Bible talks about sharing each other’s burdens. (Galatians 6:2)  I have to believe that a lot of the crashes–the addictions, the affairs, and the divorces–that we see among ministry leaders could be avoided if we didn’t try to handle everything on our own.

Solomon, who literally wrote the book on internal struggles (it’s called Ecclesiastes), said it best:  “Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed.”  (Ecclesiastes 4:9)

Is there a secret part of your life where all is not well?  If so, you probably need to find someone to talk to.  Make it someone you trust, someone who’s been around the block a time or two, and someone who loves you enough to tell you the truth, even if it hurts.

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7 Responses to Life Coaches Commit Suicide

  1. Tina Harris says:

    Thank you Mark

    I think if people were not so afraid to open up to others about their struggles or weakness due to fear or embarrassment they would find more people would open up
    about some of their own, and healing could happen. It’s easy to look at someone and think Wow! they really have it together, but….do they???? I myself feel a sense of a encouragement when someone is willing to open up to me, it helps remind me that it is OKAY to be human.

    • Mark says:

      I agree, Tina. It is very encouraging to find that others have struggles, too. I like your statement that it is okay to be human. Yes, indeed!

  2. Buddy Harris says:

    Great advice and insight Mark
    Buddy

  3. Tamra H. says:

    Hi Pr. Mark,

    We need to get this word out, especially to Christians who think that they have to “fake it till they make it” or “be strong.” Let’s as Christians and non-Christians alike stop advocating this as an acceptaple approach to our problems. Yes, it’s habit now and constantly reinforced in and out of the church, but we need to ask for grace to break this fear-fueled cycle and then (gulp) do it. The thing that stops us from speaking up and seeking help is our pride.

    I’ve learned the hard way that God doesn’t get embarrased. He won’t blush at our situations, at our train wrecked lives, addictions, and broken dreams—at our doings and biggest regrets. Holding things in can be dangerous to our health; I know that for a fact. It’s called stress.

    I had a doctor recently open up to me a bit about his daughter’s health issues and his own pride (he’s a Christian) and when he did that, the man I admired so much didn’t seem less admirable; rather he seemed more admirable. Funny how it works like that sometimes: 1 Corinthians 1:27.

    With every good wish,
    Tamra H.

    • Mark says:

      Tamra, that is a wonderful insight. So true about God not getting embarrassed. Thank you for sharing! And welcome to the discussion!

  4. Rosan says:

    Thank you Mark for your insights. As you may or may not recall, I have been one of those who struggled with not allowing myself to share my pain for many years. I have
    fought this secret battle while desperately trying to maintain the look of a happy, well-adjusted Christian.
    Many friends and family have called me a strong and Godly woman. That may be true, but I see some weakness also. Look where that got me. I am blessed only because of the Lord’s great mercy and grace.
    I thank God for you being my minister and pastor for all these many years.

    • Mark says:

      Yes, Rosan, I recall what you’ve been through. The thing is, being a strong and Godly woman while also struggling is not unusual. All of the great heroes of the Bible found themselves in that situation. I admire how you hung onto God all the way.

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