Have you ever met someone who could be in the middle of the most difficult trial of their life, and yet remain completely calm? If you don’t know someone personally who lives that way, surely you have heard stories about these people. The people who are given only months to live, and spend the whole time with a smile and a joy in their heart, never seeming to be phased by the tragedy of their situation. The people who lose everything, and still find reasons to keep going and be faithful. The people who have not only failed miserably, but have risen from the ashes of that failure to become more successful than they ever dreamed. These are the people that we all admire and aspire to be like, but how on earth do they do that?
That is the power of resilience. Resilience is defined as the “capacity to recover quickly from difficulties.” We often face trials in our lives, some more difficult or long lasting than other, and we need a good dose of resilience to be able to bounce back and keep going. When we come to places of brokenness in our lives, we need to automatically put several protective factors into play. Research has shown that there are five common factors in the lives of people who live with high resilience to cope with pain and difficulties.
1. They are resourceful and good at problem solving.
2. They are more likely than others to seek help.
3. They believe that they can find ways to manage their emotions and cope.
4. They have a social support system available.
5. They are well connected with friends and family.
When we are faced with a trial, our emotions run the show. We go full-throttle, trying to battle the problem with force, or we run away in fear; we may even become so incapable of thinking clearly that we simply shut down. This initial physiological reaction is known as “fight, flight, or give up and die;” this is involuntary and purely chemical. Resilience becomes important after this initial shock. Many people stay in one of those three places, not moving out of it in order to heal; but instead continuing on a self-destructive course. One cannot fight or run forever without reaching a point of complete exhaustion, nor can one expect any actual progress to be made if they simply, well, give up and die.
The five factors of resilience are not only personal and social, but also spiritual. So how do we apply these factors to our own situation? The foundation of hopefulness is profoundly spiritual, trusting that outside of what one can see, there is a world of unseen help. Remember that through every trial, God is with you, you will not suffer alone through anything.
Matthew 28:20b- I am with you always, even unto the end of the world.
Are you a fight, flight, or give up and die type?
How can you change the outlook you currently have by applying the five factors of resilience in your life?
Which of the 5 characteristics do you need to work on most?
 Anthony D. Ong, C.S. Bergeman, Toni L. Bisconti, and Kimberly A. Wallace, “Psychological Resilience, Positive Emotions, and Successful Adaptations to Stress in Later Life,” Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 91, no. 4 (2006); 730-49.