On Sunday, the core virtue was GRIT. One of the main parts of GRIT is resilience. Many researchers see GRIT and resilience as synonymous or interchangeable word. I still prefer to see resilience as one BIG part of GRIT.
I decided to dive into the studies on what makes for a resilient life. I did a little research and found four good and somewhat different books on resilience. It turned out they weren’t as different as I thought they would be. The same themes were described, just in different ways.
Here are the 10 things that produce and sustain resilience (five today and five tomorrow). I decided to use the organizing framework from the book Resilience: The Science of Mastering Life’s Greatest Challenges. By the way, I don’t recommend this particular book. It is more academic. If you want just ONE great book, read GRIT by Angela Duckworth.
Resilience is a byproduct of other factors. If you want resilience, then attend to each of the following. Pick several of them and start there. Later, add another item.
For each factor, give yourself a letter grade for how strongly it is true for you.
A is really high and D or F is really low.
1|| Be optimistic.
Resilient people are not naively optimistic, they are realistically optimistic. Or, what I like to say, is they are critically realistic and vitally optimistic. Christians of all people are positioned for vital optimism because it is fueled by faith, hope, and love. This is not wishful thinking. It is confident thinking anchored in the reality that Jesus is at work and that with God, all things are possible (Matthew 19:26).
2|| Face your fears.
Life is hard. You will have problems. But the biggest problem is thinking that you won’t have problems. This is the critical realism about life. Life happens. Hard things happen. Be prepared. Have your expectations ready for tough times. God is at work in all things. Romans 8:28-39 is the reason we can face all fears. Fear doesn’t disappear. Fear is mitigated and it loses its sting.
3|| Believe and pursue a life of goodness.
Virtue in general, goodness and kindness in general, being thoughtful and caring in general, this actually builds resilience in you. Virtuous people are just hardier and tougher in the face of the storms of life. It turns out that one of the best things for you is to be really good and generous toward others!
4|| Have faith.
Studies show that people with a real faith (not occasional or intermittent), people with a genuine spirituality (an integrated part of their life, not just in case of emergencies), people who believe in God, and people who know there is something transcendentally big and beautiful and forever are hardier. Faith in the God who is really there gets you through the troubles of this world.
5|| Have a support network.
Is this starting to sound predictable? I hope so. As you will see as I finish today and resume tomorrow, becoming resilient is not a secret reserved for an elite few. God has wired the world so that the things that lead to resilience are available to us all, like a support network of caring friends. Hopefully, your family is a part of that. Often, we don’t have in our family relationships what we need, but supportive relationships are everywhere. We just have to look for them a little, and then give the time needed for them to be good. However, in a world where isolation and loneliness is a growing reality, the church has a greater role than ever before. Living Word is a place to connect.
So, how did you do on the first five? For those that are strong, give thanks to God. For those that need upgrading, pray for guidance and then make every effort and watch what Jesus can do.