Kristin Rivers is a 29-year-old writer and suicide prevention advocate from Chicopee, MA. She is actively involved at Edwards Church in Northampton, MA and participates in the Young Adults group. She also reads scripture and the Welcome and Gathering Prayers for Sunday worship. In 2023, Kristin plans to work on initiatives raising more awareness for suicide prevention and mental health in religious settings through collaboration with her church.
Reflection: Follow the NudgeAs I've grown during my spiritual journey with God, I've understood that God sometimes communicates with us in ways we wouldn't expect. For some, it's direct words; for others, it's a nudge or gut feeling; and for others, whatever they're passionate about in their lives and connect with most.
I am most aware of God through the arts, writing, music, and books. In addition, nudges have become a tool to discern how to approach a situation.
In the spring of 2021, I encountered such a nudge when I decided to get involved in suicide prevention. After sharing my struggles with mental health with a favorite artist during a Zoom call two months earlier, I felt like doing something to support suicide prevention, feeling maybe I had something to contribute. The feeling, I quickly realized, became of wanting to do something more. So, I trusted the nudge, began researching organizations, and settled with the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. As I participated in events, fundraised, and heard stories from those who struggled or lost someone to suicide, I began understanding how mental health and suicide affect all of us. However, as time passed, I started to see gaps and holes in a religious or spiritual background discussing these topics.
What were we, as followers of Christ, doing to support those struggling with mental health or suicidal ideation? What resources were we providing? Were we living up to the example of Jesus looking after those who needed the most help? As I began asking those questions and having those conversations, I felt I was doing something important. I was speaking up about something important to me and many others. By following the nudge and God's prompting, I am possibly helping people I may never meet so that when they enter a church, they are welcomed, accepted, and supported if they struggle with mental illness or suicidal thoughts. Depression, anxiety, mental health disorders, and more; these areas would be acknowledged and brought to the table.
Sometimes, movies, TV shows, or books can create an illusion of a big, booming answer to something we know we must do but may be afraid or wary to try. But sometimes, the response or prompting comes in a whisper, a time of stillness, or a nudge urging you onward to follow your heart, gut, or feeling. By responding, you change your life, those around you, and maybe your church.
If God gives someone a nudge to do something that morphs into something more, it's worth listening to it. The nudge may call you to make a change right where you are that will, in turn, help many beyond.
Click here to learn more about the SNEUCC Young Voices Project
Kristin Rivers is a 29-year-old writer and suicide prevention advocate who attends Edwards Church in Northampton, MA, and is from Chicopee. She is actively involved at Edwards through the Young Adults group and reading Scriptures and the Welcome and ...