Your infant spits up on you right before you head off to an interview in your freshly, dry-cleaned business suit (the suit you specifically cleaned for this occasion). Or, you lock the front door behind you, only to realize you forgot your keys inside the house. Or, the car won't start and you're already late for an important appointment. Anyone have days like these? How did you handle them? I've had my fair share of stressful days. One time, when I was already 10 minutes behind schedule, I couldn’t find my phone anywhere in the house as I tried frantically to get out the front door. I'd looked everywhere . . . except the fridge. Apparently, when I pulled the milk out in the morning to add a dash to my coffee (that I clearly hadn't drank yet), I'd placed my phone in the fridge in exchange for the milk. The day didn't improve much from there.
In all seriousness, when life throws tomatoes at you, how well do you bounce back? Sometimes, life’s inevitable difficulties—trauma, tragedy, financial stress, or relational issues—can bring us to what might feel like “rock bottom." This is where resiliency comes in. After experiencing life’s challenges, are you able to bounce back stronger, more self-aware, and with a higher self-esteem?
Why Is Resiliency So Important?
Resiliency helps us combat depression, anxiety, and other mental health issues. It allows us to feel—from our core—that we can make it through difficult times and come out stronger on the other side. Do you remember the parable of the Wise and Foolish Builders, and the house built on a rock? When life throws us into a storm, everything feels like it’s swept out from underneath us. Our world comes crashing down “and great was the fall of it” (Matthew 7:27, ESV). However, if we practice resiliency and strengthen our inner being, we can withstand the storm. “And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock” (Matthew 7:25, ESV). We're all capable of being that house built on a rock.
But how do we get there?
How to Become More Resilient
Here are a few strategies to help you become more resilient and able to cope with life's challenges.
Get in tune with the messages you're sending yourself daily. Sometimes, we're our own worst critics. In times of trouble, our inner dialogue is essential in helping us cope and push forward. Maybe you're thinking to yourself, “I'm not capable of getting over this," or “I'm not worth it,” or “Bad things always happen to me.” Start catching the negative thoughts, acknowledging them, and then redirecting your thoughts to your strengths in the moment. You'll find yourself feeling stronger and more self-confident.
Give yourself grace. Have compassion for yourself and your 'humanness.' We make mistakes and things happen to us. Being able to accept difficulties in our life helps us in two ways: it keeps us from sitting in negativity and helplessness, and it brings us closer to focusing on supports we have and the ways we can make our situation manageable. Find your strengths.
Spend time in nature. How does nature apply to the fact that my car isn’t starting and I need to get to an interview? In all honesty, we need to get out of our homes and offices and take in fresh air to reset our minds and body. Really, it's about carving out a time in your week for self-care—like meditation, nature walks, journaling, or regular massages. Find what's best for you and work it in. Notice the differences in how you feel throughout the day and week when you take time to recharge.
I encourage you to start practicing resiliency—even when life is going great—so you're more prepared when challenges come. Above all else, be kind to yourself. You are capable. You are valued. You are gifted. You matter. If you don’t feel these things, ask God to help see yourself the way He sees you—as His loved and cherished child. And if you are anything like me, I need those reminders to feel like I can face what’s in front of me each day. I hope you find God's peace and little joys during this season of your life. Remember to look up. God is with you, always.