Not long ago a writer friend said: “Resilience is important.”
Then she added, “The key to being resilient is dealing with what’s inside–like bitterness.”
As I thought about this friend’s speaking ministry and the message of her book, How I Survived the Killing Fields: A Story of Hope, Love and Determination, it is about resilience. And I see this quality so evidenced in her life.
She could have chosen a lifetime of bitterness. She could have made the choice not to forgive her captors. She could still be wallowing in self-pity after her horrific experiences.
Instead she speaks with a joyful spirit and and “I-trust-in-God” attitude to others going through hard times to let them know that they can be resilient as she has been.
Recently I looked up the word resilience. This is what I read in two different dictionaries: “the capacity to recover quickly from difficulties…”
“the ability to become strong, healthy, or successful again after something bad happens.”
Here are more definitions from various online sites:
“Resilience is the ability to roll with the punches. When stress, adversity or trauma strikes, you still experience anger, grief and pain, but you’re able to keep functioning… –Mayo Clinic
“Resilience is an individual’s ability to properly adapt to stress and adversity… the ability…to cope with change” Wikipedia
“Resilience is that ineffable quality that allows some people to be knocked down by life and come back stronger than ever.” –Psychology Today
“Resilience is the process of adapting well in the face of adversity, trauma, tragedy, threats or significant sources of stress…It means ‘bouncing back’ from difficult experiences.” –American Psychological Association
As I read these, I realized that over time with God’s help I have gained the quality of resilience, and as Sara said letting go of bitterness has been key.
As I looked back over hard times, I realized that if a trauma or tragedy happened, and I felt I couldn’t let go of it, dealing with unforgiveness toward those involved blocked the path of bouncing back. Once I determined with God’s help to forgive and let go of bitterness, I saw myself thriving despite adversity.
Another key to Sara’s survival and mine and our developing resilience is holding onto God. Instead of backing off from God during hard times, we’ve learned to draw close to Him and receive strength from Him. We’ve learned to trust God no matter what difficulties life brings.
Thinking of resilience over these recent weeks, two people who would not let go of bitterness and who were unable to bounce back came to mind.
One is a man who said to me, “I haven’t been able to get over the fact that my wife was killed by a drunk driver.” When I met the man he seemed distraught, depressed, and unable to function. I thought that the trauma had happened recently.
When I asked how long ago the accident was, he said, “It happened twenty years ago, and I’m still not over it.”
After speaking to him for a little while I discovered he was unable to forgive the drunk driver who killed his wife. I communicated that if he could forgive, he would be able to move on.
How different he was from Rene, a mom who not only forgave the drunk driver who killed her teenage daughter but also helped to have his prison sentence cut in half. She bounced back enough from her trauma to travel with the man who killed her daughter, ministering to others about the importance of forgiveness. http://www.matthewwest.com/the-stories/the-story-forgiveness/
Another lady who was unable to bounce back after tragedy was a fellow writer that I knew years ago. I asked her one day how her relationship was with the Lord. She said, “I haven’t spoken to Him in years since He let my daughter die of cancer.”
That day I found out that her daughter had died thirty years before. I encouraged her to forgive God, and days later I prayed with her to receive Jesus as her Savior. She died not too long after.
God wants to give each of us the gift of resilience. If we don’t receive it, we will be unable to fully answer God’s call on our lives. We will become immobilized instead of immovable.
“Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord…”1 Corinthians 15:58 NKJV
–To find out more about Saroeup (Sara) Im, here is the link to her Facebook page:
To purchase Sara’s book, visit this link: http://www.smarthealthylivingtoday.info/saras-book/
(for some reason on Amazon, the “new” book, How I Survived… is expensive, so avoid buying it there.)
Song selection: “I Will Not Be Moved” by Natalie Grant