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?
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.