Contrary to the popular interpretation of Resilience, it is not an innate quality. It is not with only a few of us at birth and the rest are out of luck.
The Human Performance Institute at Johnson & Johnson defines Resilience as “The acquired ability to recover, adapt, and grow from stress.” The ability to develop it is with each of us at birth and we must work to nurture this potential.
How is Resilience acquired?
If you have read Parts 1 & 2 of this series, you have an idea but let us review:
1. Resilience requires a sound foundation to our life.
We can develop it through being courageous enough to name and deal with wounds that may have been with us since birth or so entrenched in our family tree that no one remembers when it all started.
We can develop it through growth in our understanding of Who God actually is rather than some faulty imagination.
We can develop it through our understanding of who God Designed us to be — uniquely, distinctively becoming the “self” God Designed us to be.
2. Resilience requires the nutrition we receive from good connection.
We need to be deeply, fully known by a few people. No false images or pretense will do to develop resilience.
We need to receive and give healthy attachment, love, joy, and care. (Notice I intentionally put “receive” first because we cannot give what we do not have.)
3. We also need to continue to learn more about our Great, Glorious, Good, Faithful, and True Creator all the days of our lives. Day old manna is rotten. Gather fresh manna and fresh water daily.
4. Resilience requires that we lean in ever-increasing measure on our identity in Christ: fully dependent, fully known, fully loved (a.k.a. embracing the growth and sanctification process).
We also need to accept the reality that suffering is going to be with us while we live on this earth. It just is. We need not foolishly seek it out nor volunteer to suffer when unnecessary. On the other hand, shouting, “It’s not supposed to be this way” is simply agreeing with God.
It is the reality we live in. It is the reality we live in with the Spirit’s help. It is the reality that we can change for ourselves and others in small ways daily.
We can wish to change the world but without the courage to accept and change the realities of our own hearts and lives, it will be in vain.
Suffering does not beget resilience.
Love begets strength, which when tested is forged into resilience.
But it is not the blast of the wind that deepens roots and thickens bark; it is the proximity of water, the richness of the soil, the radiance of the sun, and the purity of the air.
These are the sources of resilience.
Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us. (Rom. 5:1-5 NIV)
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