“And he will be the stability of your times…” (Isaiah 33:6).
Traumatic events and adverse experiences can be overwhelming. Too many, too early, without proper support lead to statistically more health concerns into adulthood.1 However, overcoming some adversity in life is actually beneficial.2
Our geography, from the Beltway to the Beach and from the Bay to Brazoria County, has not been immune to tragedy. From hurricanes to flooding, from school shootings to stay-at-home orders, our region has been hit especially hard.
Resilience, therefore, is crucial for our physical, mental, and spiritual well-being.
Resilience is the capacity to recover from difficulty, the ability to successfully cope with a crisis, or (in engineering terms) the ability to absorb stress without suffering complete failure.
But resilience is impossible to develop or demonstrate without adversity. Fortunately, Jesus has assured us that we will experience trouble in this world (John 16:33). Paul and his companions were “afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed…” (2 Corinthians 4:8-9). For this reason, we are able to embrace moderate challenges. Refrain from avoiding all conflict yourself and coach loved ones through rather than around difficulties.
Walk With Others
How do we develop this perfect blend of firmness, resolve, and pliability that enables us to walk through difficulties and come out on the other side?
First, your history of connectedness is a better predictor of your health than your history of adversity.3
Aspens and redwoods are ancient trees that support one another with complex, interconnected root systems. Through these underlying connections, they share nutrients, reinforce stability, and strengthen one another to withstand adversity. No one is born resilient. We learn behavior from those we interact with regularly.
The compartmentalization of our culture has resulted in material wealth, but with poverty of social and emotional relationships. The fewer opportunities we have to interact with others, practice self-regulation, and overcome minor disappointments can impair our relational capacity.
Remember, resilience doesn’t develop without stress, and dealing with people can be stressful. Learning to balance our needs with others and experiencing both joyful surprises and unmet expectations in healthy relationships is key.
How “connected” are you to your family of faith?
Healthy relationships serve as buffers to adversity by creating bonds of trust and empathy.
At Clear Creek, serving consistently with a team of volunteers or joining a small group are significant steps that increase the intimacy with which you know, and are known by, others. This is how we grow our roots together to better weather the storms of life.
Walk With Hope
Another important aspect of resilience is hope (see Romans 5:2-5, 15:4). Hope gives us the ability to endure much more than we can imagine.
Viktor Frankl was an Austrian psychiatrist who spent time in Theresienstadt and Auschwitz during World War II. He lost his father, mother, and wife in the concentration camps. In his biography Man’s Search for Meaning, Frankl documented poignantly that those prisoners of war who found purpose and meaning survived, while those who lost hope of ever escaping the imprisonment perished.
“Those who have a ‘why’ to live can bear with almost any ‘how.’”
– Viktor Frankl, Man’s Search for Meaning
Paul relied on the hope of the cross and faithful companions when he experienced numerous trials on his missionary journey throughout Asia Minor. He believed the pains of this world were “a light momentary affliction…preparing for us an eternal weight of glory,” (2 Corinthians 4:17). Before advising the Romans to be patient in tribulation, he encouraged them to rejoice in hope, (Romans 12:12).
Resilience is the ability to bend but not break; the capacity to overcome life’s challenges. You don’t earn the resiliency badge without having experienced some difficulty.
Remain steadfast in the hope God provides and connect with others who are on this same journey with you.
“When I fall, I shall rise; When I sit in darkness, the LORD will be a light to me,” (Micah 7:8).
- 2010 Study
- Bruce Perry https://www.neurosequential.com
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