An Observation About Robin Williams

It has been a couple of weeks since the shocking news of the death of Robin Williams. I have waited because I did not want to be perceived as trying to capitalize on the event by trying to get clicks and likes. Also, in events like this, it is helpful to let a fuller picture form beyond the initial speculation and conjecture.

I do not know what caused Williams’ depression and hopelessness. It may have been chemical. It may have been part of the early onset of Parkinson’s as some have mentioned.

But there is something that at least contributed to the depressive state, and I think therein lies a lesson for all of us.

Robin Williams had money. With the ability to make gobs more if he wanted.

Yet, the pursuit of money to maintain his lifestyle became a source of resentment. According to a friend interviewed in this article, He signed up to do them {movies and TV} purely out of necessity. He wasn’t poor, but the money wasn’t rolling in any more and life is expensive when you have to pay off two ex-wives and have a family to support.” He was enslaved by the quest to maintain or increase standard of living.

Robin Williams had fame. His was a name that was widely known around the world.

Yet, all that affirmation was not enough. Williams probably knew it was temporary. A couple bad movies and fans turn into critics.

Our soul longs for acceptance that is permanent rather than whimsical. {Click to Tweet that.}

Robin Williams had influence. Just look at the outpouring of grief from celebrities whose careers were influenced by Williams. Even non-celebrity culture felt the loss. In the week after, there were numerous Facebook posts by people on my own timeline who expressed the impact his works had on their own lives and view of the world.

As nice as we often suspect it would be to have more money, fame, or influence, those things turned out to be a foundation of sand. They are not enough to sustain a sense of self; they will not form a complete or satisfying answer to the question of ‘why do I matter?‘.

Sand shifts, and we have to keep up and adjust, constantly covering up the cracks that will appear in such a foundation.

The primary source of our sense of self – identity, of the value we have and of our significance must be based on something unchanging. It must have a basis on something that does not rely on our effort. Then we can experience the security for which we long, and the freedom from having to maintain an ever-changing standard.

That standard, that foundation of rock, is Jesus. He demonstrated his love for us, proving it once and for all time. He calls us friends and accepts us unconditionally as we come to him. In Christ, our lives will not be static, for we will be stripped of the things we have learned to grasp onto living in this broken world, but Jesus is faithful and will not abandon the effort.

If you find you are depressed, there are no easy answers. Don’t let anyone tell you there are. Even in Christ, the old nature will remind us of its presence, and there will be times of struggle.

But, take the hard step of reaching out, despite the story based on lies that you are telling yourself, you are loved for just being you. God created you and He loves you for that reason alone.

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