Imagine being so distraught over life, that committing suicide feels like the best of the available options. A suicide attempt is a permanent answer to a momentary issue.
Steve Austin was a Youth Pastor, a Worship Leader, Husband and Father and he was hiding a 30 year-old secret.
As a preschooler, he was sexually assaulted and molested by a neighbor- a 17 year-old boy. The issue was not taken to court, no counseling happened and essentially the issue was just never spoken about.
As an 18 year-old, Steve found himself flooded with the memories and experiencing a PTSD induced panic attack.
Let’s just say, shit got real, real fast.
Unaware of the connection between the assault and his life-long behaviors, Steve internalized that he was completely forsaken by the God he pretended to be so close to every time he put on the mask. He shares that he was “Living the lie of being a performance based Christian”
He walked in two worlds.
In one world he:
- Threw his hands in the air and professed the power of God in his life.
- He lead the worship team at church.
- He lead the youth ministry and influenced young lives towards the grace of Jesus.
In another world he:
- Was addicted to pornography.
- Hated himself and felt worthless.
- Believed that He was better off dead and that his family was better off without him.
One night, he was alone in a hotel room. He had been released from his job, he was struggling with addiction to porn, self-loathing and he was feeling like life was way too hard for the effort he had to put in just to survive. He made a suicide attempt twice that night. The first attempt- a hanging, was unsuccessful. His second, nearly brought him to an end. (You have GOT to listen to his story of an Arch Angel making him puke in his bed- it gave me the chills in a VERY good way)
Luckily, he was missed when he didn’t show up for a job and help found him and hospitalized him in time to save his life.
Next stop: The Psych Ward
In a frighteningly poignant comment, Steve compares the parallels between the Psych ward and a powerfully vulnerable church. That they are immensely helpful to the attendants. When a church and it’s people are willing to be open and honest, the ability to really change is magnificent.
After recovering from his struggle with his abuse, his mindset and the indoctrination of his faith, Steve has made a massive impact on believers, secular peeps (that’s those of you who aren’t sure of this whole Jesus is awesome thing) and every-day people who are stuck, scared or suffering with mental illness. He founded Grace is Messy at I Am Steve Austin.
His site is a gold mine of blog posts, freebies like crazy (is it ok to say that in a post about mental health?), and much more.
what I loved about this interview is that it is the best of what my show has to offer. It is a kick ass combo of a powerful story, mixed in with some passion for people and for Christ. It is perfect for fence-sitters like I used to be who worry that loving the Lord means
- Life will be straight edge and super boring
- That grace is only for sister-super-Christians
- That God mocks our pain
- That God teases us
- That the Enemy isn’t all that bad
None of that ^^^^^^^ is true. Trust me.
Steve is my kind of people. If I needed a ride or die, he would totally be on my list.
If you or a loved one is feeling suicidal or has suffered from a mental illness and feels at risk, you can help prevent a suicide attempt by contacting the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
Or Call 1-800-273-8255