Tim Truzy is a minister in a Christian church, and he has participated in other religions.
The Importance of Resilience
Life is often a roller coaster of crisis and calm times. Troubles come at us swiftly and leave us immensely drained when they pass. Sometimes, we are not sure if we have the strength to finish the bumpy and stress inducing ride. We may become pessimistic and dread the next turn ahead. Will it twist our lives upside down? Will it cause us to scream as we struggle up another possibly perilous hill? Yet, we somehow recover, facing the next loop on the track of life. We move ahead like the train in the photo.
People are like trains, needing to travel onward with the right fuel and drive. We want to have determination when we encounter broken tracks along our route in life, or when we run into difficult foggy troubles where spiritually lifting light seems absent. We call upon memories of heroes in the past we have learned about: sport stars, television characters, and legions of others to refuel our resolve. We essentially want to exhibit resiliency down the track of life. The ability to recover and continue after a crisis is called resilience. People need resilience to cope with changes in life which can be devastating or paralyzing, like a league of dread and doom.
Perhaps, this explains the popularity of comic book superheroes on the screen – such fictional characters constantly demonstrate resiliency in the face of challenges. Human beings also look beyond film and popular fiction to find inspiration in times of crisis. They turn to religious beliefs and teachings to receive encouragement as well. Coincidentally, most religions have prophets and teachers who remind us of how we should demonstrate resilient qualities when confronted with problems. The Judeo-Christian religious teachings are no exception.
Two Bible Stories Featuring Resilient People
Within the Judeo-Christian Bible there are countless examples of people showing resilience in the face of danger and turmoil. In fact, the Old Testament of the Bible is filled with stories about such individuals. They wrestled with adversity and often won. They gave everything to triumph. They eventually came out on top; they were champions of their faith. Here are two stories from the Bible about Old Testament figures who showed resilience during calamities.
Moses and Joseph Knew How to Bounce Back
Moses – In the Book of Exodus, Moses is an important figure with rebound power. He was born into slavery in Egypt and rose in importance within the ruling family. After killing an Egyptian, he fled, fearing retribution. Eventually, Moses found himself, meeting an angel from God in a Burning Bush. Moses led his people, the Israelites, away from Egypt after bringing plagues to that country as directed by God.
Although he experienced several traumatic events, Moses never surrendered to the ordeals of his life. He continued with the mission given to him by God, even when the Israelites were concerned about crossing the Red Sea. Moses saw the whole picture – God wanted the children of Israel to be free. Moses exhibited sturdiness and resilience in paralyzing circumstances, ultimately, achieving the goals given to him by God. The Ten Commandments he delivered to the Israelites is often cited as the basis for all of our laws in Western democracies.
For this reason, Moses is seen as a man who rebounded from a series of potentially crippling catastrophes. Even into the 20th century, leaders such as Dr. Martin Luther King used the story to encourage people of color in the 1960’s during the Civil Rights’ movement in America. Many have been called the “Moses” of their era, and the Prophet Moses is an essential part of all the religions based on Abraham’s interaction with God.
Joseph – Joseph can be thought of as a come-back king. His brothers planned to kill him because of jealousy over a prized garment, but they eventually sold him into slavery in Egypt. As the story is told in the Book of Genesis, Joseph worked for a man who placed him in jail in Egypt because of a lie. During this time in prison, Joseph interprets dreams for other convicts. The talent Joseph possesses leads him to the ruler, who was having dreams about a coming famine in the kingdom.
After interpreting the dream correctly, Joseph was given a position of great influence. He managed the agricultural efforts of Egypt and he was in charge of distributing food. Joseph’s brothers finally approach him after he ascended to his post. Ten years had passed, and Joseph’s brothers wanted food. He told them who he was, and Joseph forgave them for what they had done years earlier. His brothers and father move finally to Egypt to be with Joseph.
Joseph teaches us to recognize we can’t determine what the future may hold. Unforeseen circumstances and conditions make up our existence, including calamities and victories. We also can gather holding grudges does not produce happiness from this Biblical story. Joseph shows us an attitude of optimism should always be adhered to, even in dire situations. The story of Joseph reminds us to be hopeful and have faith when there is no reason to think our surroundings or state of being will improve, at least in our foreseeable future.
How to Become More Resilient
Christians attend churches, like the one in the picture, and learn of the resilient people in the Bible such as the ones above. In the Holy Text, these stories aid church goers in bouncing back from almost unimaginable crisis. These characters in the Bible are frequently able to renew their lives after catastrophic occurrences which are usually mind-boggling and spiritually demolishing. However, developing a resilient personality does not have to wait for a traumatizing event. There are steps we can take as Christians and human beings to assist us before troubles set into our sails, when life altering moments present themselves with cyclonic force.
As a minister, I have often worked with individuals on building their capacity to have a resilient outlook on life. As a rehabilitation counselor, I’ve seen such approaches to be psychologically sound in troubled times or preparing for them. Nevertheless, these steps are fundamentally good for all of us regardless of our educational or spiritual background. Here are nine ways to develop a resilient character; be your own world-class champion or superhero:
Coping Strategies for Building or Maintaining a Resilient Life
- Find Amusing Hobbies – A diversion from stress can be beneficial both mentally and physically. Some people develop skills in crafts. Others may paint. Some get into photography or cooking. The options are limitless.
- I like to listen to various genres of music. If a particular piece strikes me, I pull out my keyboard to learn to play it. Or I may write a new Hub. But I also go to the gym or practice my martial arts skills. I study the Bible for peace as well. In essence, have fun and engaging things to do to build or maintain your resilient nature.
- Recognize life doesn’t end because of life changes – Don’t internalize disasters. Change is a certainty in life. Try to be optimistic; find the bright-side in your dark moment. Recall past problematic situations you were able to rise up from in order to continue on with life.
- I always tell people: Living your life has not ended because of a change (chronic disease, death of loved ones, divorce, etc.); it has just taken a slightly unpredictable direction.
- Be willing to give support and receive support - Meet with friends who have experienced similar events. A spiritual truth exists which states we all have experienced suffering. Sharing helps eases the burden. Likewise, be willing to listen and care about others’ concerns. Don’t be only a receiver of empathy and compassion, but open up to others to give the same emotional support.
- Relax and Reflect to Regain your Strength – Take a breather when crisis erupts. Count to ten. Give your body and mind time to consider the situation. Think of strategies which can help you in the future when tragic events occur while you watch a pleasant sunset or sunrise. Take a walk and contemplate your present condition. Then make a list of resources available for you.
- I may take my wife to dinner and talk about funny life events we have shared when tough events occur in our lives. Laughing is a good way of letting go of stress temporarily. Movies can be great, too. Indulge in whatever allows you a brief span of time to get your emotions together.
- Have faith and Meditate – Realize there are unknowns which we can never control. Understand life is full of uncertainty. Take time regularly to focus on what you can control for a rewarding outcome. Take a few moments to give thanks to God, or whatever power you recognize as bigger than you.
- I always pray. The blessings God have given me always bring comfort to my inner being. The storms in life will continue, but having an eternal focus keeps peace within my soul when this reality becomes turbulent.
Final Thoughts on Resiliency
The Bible can be thought of as a book containing stories of people who have achieved in spite of obstacles. For instance, in the Book of Genesis, the hero Noah builds a vessel and saved animals and his family, even as he watched the rest of the world wash away in a tremendous flood brought forth by God. However, Noah’s descendants helped to repopulate the Earth and give humanity a future. Indeed, many of the biblical figures appear like superheroes with devotion and determination in the face of challenges. Yet, we all can exhibit resiliency regardless of how we read the Bible or any religious text.