Thoughts on Resiliency in Adults…

I read an article the other day that really caught my attention!  I am placing the link at the end of this blog post for your perusal.  The topic covers how adults can become more resilient, even if they were not given the skills in early childhood.  I completely agreed with the majority of this article!  However, one particular thought kept running through my head as I read it, “We humans think we are being so original.  So often we borrow from Truth that has been here for thousands of years.  God truly does desire the best for us, has given us an entire book to help us find Him and the result will be finding the best for us as well, when we find that Truth.”

The article lists 7 ways we can build resilience.  This provides hope for any of us adults that feel the specific task at hand is insurmountable.  I’m so glad we have hope when we think all is lost 😉  Here are the 7 helps Tara provides with a personal explanation for each one:

1.  Practice Optimism –  The author says, “While it sounds trivial, thinking positive thoughts and surrounding yourself with positive people really does help.”

Here’s what the Bible says about how our thinking affects our outcome: “As he thinks in his heart, so is he” ~ Proverbs 23:7.  “But he said, “What is impossible with men is possible with God.” ~ 18:27.  “No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it” ~ I Cor. 10:13. —  The Bible is telling us just with those 3 verses, that if we truly knew Who we were putting our faith and trust in, then when hard times come, we would be able to cling to Him while we were walking through that difficulty.  Faith is believing what we cannot see. The second we entertain the idea that this will last forever, we are sunk!!  Faith IS the positive thought we need!  But, God does not want us to have a blind faith!  Matthew 7:7 says, “…seek and you WILL find...” — this is a promise and a challenge!  God wants us to KNOW what we believe and to KNOW that He is able!  He is the last person that would tell you to just believe what your mommy and daddy told you when you were growing up.  There are not many things in life that we can truly have faith in without testing or investigating — the chair we sit in, the car we drive, the food we eat, etc. 20180522_100420 (2)

Here are verses that discuss why it is important to surround yourself with the right people:  “For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up! Again, if two lie together, they keep warm, but how can one keep warm alone? And though a man might prevail against one who is alone, two will withstand him—a threefold cord is not quickly broken.” ~ Ecc. 4:10-12.  “Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed.” ~ James 5:16.  “Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.”~ I Thess 5:11. — God NEVER meant for us to live this life in isolation!  I love that God has provided me with a multitude of godly friends that I can go to that will remind me of God’s great faithfulness, encourage me in the Word “that I can do ALL things through Christ Who strengthens me” ~ Phil 4:13, help me when I am down, challenge me when I have sinned, pray for me when I need it, and walk with me through trials.  However, this was not an overnight process.  Before a problem ever arose, I had spent the time needed to forge relationships in the Body of Christ.  “When I fell”, they were there to “lift me up”.

2.  Rewrite your story:  In the article, Tara says, “A Harvard study found that people who viewed stress as a way to fuel better performance did better on tests and managed physiologically than those taught to ignore stress.”  She went on to say, “It’s about learning to recognize the explanatory story you tend to use in your life.”

Here’s what the Bible has to say about this:  There are many accounts in the Bible of the worst thing imaginable happening and yet God worked it out for the good of His people.  Without going into great detail, because I intend to write a longer blog post on this particular thought at a later time, the top account that comes to my mind is when Jesus died on the cross.  Everything seemed futile.  All hope seemed lost!  And yet, we know now that it was exactly what needed to happen to secure our place in Heaven!  I’m just crazy enough to believe that if God could allow the very worst possible thing I ever imagined could happen to us in this life, then He can make something absolutely beautiful out of it!  I don’t get to define what that is, but I trust Him with my whole life to my last breath.  “If God is for us,who can be against us?” ~ Romans 8:31.

3.  Don’t personalize it:  Tara goes on to explain that “In the moment, a difficult situation feels as if it will never end…remind yourself that even if you made a mistake, a number of factors most likely contributed to the problem and shift your focus to the next steps you should take.”

Here’s what the Bible has to say about this:  “…for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.” ~ Matt. 5:45. — Hard, horrible, life shattering times, are nothing personal!  Death, disease, trouble WILL come to ALL of us!  You can’t outrun it!  You can’t hide from it!  Knowing that this isn’t personal allows me to weather these hard times WHEN they come, knowing He will NEVER leave me or forsake me!.  Here’s a wonderful Bible passage for the believer: “The LORD’S lovingkindnesses indeed never cease, For His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness.” ~ Lam 3:22-23.  “He will cover you with His pinions, And under His wings you may seek refuge; His faithfulness is a shield and bulwark” ~ Ps 91:4.  “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will NEVER leave you nor forsake you.” ~ Deut. 31:6.   Hard times are our OPPORTUNITY to put these verses to the test!  And, let me tell you…HE IS FAITHFUL!!!

4.  Remember the comebacks:  Here, the writer is reminding us that “It’s easier to relate to your former self than someone in another country.”

I’m going to leave the Bible behind for a minute and share a personal story.  Before Clint died, I stood up in front of our church that he pastored, and gave my testimony.  Clint stood right next to me as I was finishing up.  I ended with this statement, “Only God can take a childhood you spent your whole life hating, only to turn it into something you are grateful for!  It made me who I am today!  Even though I would NEVER want to go back and relive it, I thank God for it!”  I have thought back to the words I spoke as my sweet man was standing beside me.  I have a history with Jesus!  He has redeemed my life!  I made an incredible comeback because of Jesus and the godly man he sent to me.  I have many other examples to draw on in regard to God’s faithfulness in my life, but this particular one gives me much strength!

5.  Support others:  The Lord didn’t want us to help others so that we would gain something in return.  But, the truth of the matter is this…that typically happens!  “Give, and it will be given to you: good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be put into your bosom. For with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you.” ~ Luke 6:38.  “The generous will themselves be blessed, for they share their food with the poor.” ~ Prov 22:9.

6.  Take stress breaks:  “Be still, and know that I am God” ~ Ps 46:10.  — If we are not taking the time to REMEMBER His faithfulness and kindness then how will we be able to exercise our faith?  “Taking a stress break” is essential to our mental health!  But it isn’t just about taking a break.  It’s the object of our faith that matters.  A hot bath is nice.  But a hot bath cannot fix the state of my mind once I have jumped out and am cold and wet and shivering.  My problems will still be waiting for me on the other end of the faucet!  But his delight is in the law of the Lord,
And in His law he meditates day and night” ~ Ps 1:2. — When I meditate on God, I can actually feel delight!  Why?  Because Oh, give thanks to the Lord, for He is good!
For His mercy endures forever” ~ Ps 136:1.

7.  Go out of your comfort zone:  Have any of you ever done something you didn’t think you could do, only to find out you can, and then realize it is the most exhilarating experience EVER??  I think of the biblical account of the Israelites wandering around in the desert for 40 years.  The generation that left Egypt were not permitted to enter the Promised Land.  They didn’t think God was big enough to do what He promised them He would do.  But, Joshua led the next generation to do what they did not have the faith to see through.  Can you even imagine how thrilling it would have been to be the generation that experienced that??  Or, when David killed Goliath!  The odds were totally stacked against him!  No one would have sought him out for that job.  But God doesn’t look at us the way people do.  He sees the heart.

Recently I have begun home renovations.  Clint and I purchased our home with that in mind.  We have been doing this for nearly our entire married life.  But, we’ve always done it together.  Now, it’s just me…and that’s intimidating.  For a time, I seriously considered moving.  God had other plans.  Through a series of circumstances, I made the decision, before I really even “felt” “ready”, to begin the process Clint and I had dreamed up together.  I was nervous.  I definitely felt out of my comfort zone, but God knew EXACTLY what I needed!!  I have felt so strong and capable through this process!  Yes, there have been times of tears and frustration as I purchased 4 different paint colors for a portion of the house before getting the color right!  But, I finally did get it right and I choose to see this as a time of learning in my life for the next time!  If I’m not failing then I’m not living 😉  And, I want to LIVE!  And, truly living means getting out of my comfort zone and challenging myself.

In conclusion, Jesus IS the answer!!  At the beginning of the article, Tara points out, “Many of us don’t build the coping skills we need to meet these challenges.  The good news is that some of the qualities of middle age… may give older people an advantage over the young when it comes to developing resilience.” —  It’s NEVER too late to begin a relationship with Jesus, but I’m so so thankful I had a good one before I ever entered this place in my life!  His ways are always best and right and good.  I’m so thankful I can trust Him with my life!  He really is the definition of RESILIENCE!

 

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