Building Resilience

Difficult times test our level of resilience.

In the animal kingdom we may think of resilience in terms of an animal’s ability to adapt and survive under extreme conditions. What about in the world of humans?

Here’s a few definitions of resilience from the Cambridge dictionary…

  • The ability to be happy or successful again after something difficult or bad has happened.

  • The ability of a substance to return to its usual shape after being bent, stretched or pressed.

  • The quality of being able to return quickly to a previously good condition after problems.

Personally I like to think of resilience as the ability to successfully bounce back from difficulty and adapt to change.

When we approach resilience from a biblical worldview we understand that God desires for his children to thrive and live out their purpose even in the midst of trouble. As Christ followers, we’re called to be overcomers. And that takes resilience.

Resilience is likely to be tested during the coming weeks and months among the thousands of people who witnessed the terror of last month’s Camp Fire which devastated the town of Paradise, California. This was very close to my home town of Chico. There are many stories of heroism and survival coming out of this event, but the stories of resilience are still being written.

While surviving a disaster such as this takes place in seconds, minutes and hours, resilience is proven over time and ultimately infuses our lives with purpose and meaning. According to Hebrews chapter 11 this is what a life of faith is all about.

The truth is we risk defeat when we fail to recognize our need to develop resilience skills and put them to use. Ultimate success comes to those who learn and use resilience skills toward a favorable outcome.

We all have some degree of resiliency skills. When change and difficulties are relatively minor, we adapt and move on. But when facing mounting problems and life-altering transitions, we can easily become stuck. The good news is that resiliency is a muscle we can grow when we take advantage of additional support and resources. 

In the summer of 2016 we transitioned as a family back to the U.S., following 20 years of overseas life. Now, more than 2 years later, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve said to my wife or a trusted friend, “I never realized how hard this would be.” Adjustment and recovery take time. Resilience is vital to the process.

How are you doing in the resilience area? Here are some questions for self-reflection…

How am I feeling about this problem and my ability to get through it in a healthy manner?

What am I doing to prepare myself in order to successfully navigate this transition?

Is my natural tendency toward rigidity or flexibility? How is this impacting my relationships?

Where am I feeling stuck and in need of support or resources?

Have I settled into my new normal? Am I resisting things I cannot change?

What is upsetting my world right now and how am I responding to it?

I realize this is a long list of questions, but maybe one or two them stand out to you. Which ones? Pause and consider...

Final question: How resilient are you and what do you need to take your resilience to the next level?

Take a step toward better resilience by scheduling a complementary discovery coaching session HERE.

Until next time,