I’ve been thinking about the importance of resilience—the ability to adapt to or recover from adversity, crises, disruption, life changes. I believe Godly resilience is something we all desperately need to embrace in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic in order to avoid paralyzing anxiety and a spirit of pessimistic hopelessness.
In the Old Testament Joseph was someone who demonstrated resilience during tough times. His brothers planned to kill him out of jealousy, but they eventually sold him into slavery. Joseph repeatedly encountered difficulty after difficulty, but he did not give up. He recognized that none of us can control all that the future may hold. He held to a deep and abiding trust in God and a spirit of hopefulness and optimism even when confronted with calamity.
What are some ways that followers of Jesus may build and maintain resilience in trying times? Here are some suggestions.
1. Realize life doesn’t end just because life changes—because life is always changing. Intentionally choose not to emotionally internalize disasters. Recall past problematic situations that you were able to work through and continue on with life, believing you will be able to do so again.
2. Be willing to give and receive emotional and spiritual support. Connect with people whom you may care for and who will care for you. Sharing our struggles helps ease the burden.
3. Care for your physical health. Get appropriate rest and sleep. Exercise. Eat healthily.
4. Be patient with yourself and with others. None of us is perfect. We all are struggling. Refrain from taking on a critical spirit that injures you as well as others.
5. Engage in prayer and meditation that focuses on the strength and wisdom of God even when there are unknowns which we cannot control. Understand life is full of uncertainty. Regularly focus your attention on the love and goodness of God which will sustain you so that you may find a peace within your soul in turbulent times.
6. Participate in meaningful activities that lessen your stress instead of contributing to it. If what you do increases your upset, choose another activity.
Resilience. Do you have it? Will you develop it?