Resilience

When anyone is in Christ, it is a whole new world. The old things are gone; suddenly, everything is new! II Corinthians 5:17 (ERV)
“…it is the ability to respond, absorb, and adapt to, as well as recover in a disruptive event”
“Psychological resilience is the ability to mentally or emotionally cope with a crisis or to return to pre-crisis status quickly.”

I like these definitions of resilience. That word, resilience, is in heavy use in these COVID-19 days. I have been thinking about this wonderful aspect of the human spirit that helps us to adapt and move forward- to recover from a trauma. Make no mistake, this health crisis is a trauma. It has completely changed the landscape in how we navigate the world. It has, and will continue to, color everything we do.

Willingness to adapt to a new landscape is critical. We can get stuck in the past and grieve over what was lost- and we do that for a little while. In fact, grieving is important because it reminds us of what we had. But it is also instructive for our future. We can decide to live and adapt, or we can become stuck in “what if?” and “why me?” thinking.

Let me here distinguish that this type of grieving is different from grieving the death of a loved one. This type of grieving is about lifestyle and circumstances. Losing anyone or anything causes us to grieve, but we need to be clear that loss of a life of a dear one is different.

That being said, I think that we must challenge ourselves to be supple in our thinking about how we move ahead from this trauma. As I get older, it is tempting to resort to “the way things used to be”. And yes, I do that- just ask my kids. But I also challenge myself to be resilient and adapt to what needs to happen to not just survive, but thrive.

I think that the human spirit, woven into our very being, pushes us on to go through hard things, then make sense of them to make the future better. We do it because survival demands it. So, I am grateful that God made us with this available resilience built into us, to move ahead despite the trauma. We just need to know that we CAN do that, as long as we WILL do that.

I once told a client, whose life had crashed from addiction and loss of relationships- “You can’t build a new building unless the old building is demolished. You can use the foundation, but the rubble needs to be cleared away”. I didn’t remember I had said that until years later she told me that this had been a statement that hit home for her. I’m glad it was helpful for her, and I hope it may help others too.

Prayer: Thank you Father for building into us the drive to survive, to make everything new from the ashes of loss, Amen

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