Receiving the Gift of Resilience

Receiving the gift of Resilience through my One Word 2022 journey took every bit of the twelve-month adventure. While choosing a word companion each new year provides a singular focus within the events of that year, interestingly, the idea of Resilience met me in the form of a rebuke.

I remember asking, “Why the continual setbacks? Why the silence, God? It’s been more than three weeks under fire.”

Thumbing through my Bible for the next assigned memory verse, I arrived at my destination: 1 Corinthians 16:13-14“Be watchful, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong. Let all that you do be done in love.”

woman walking in the snow with umbrella

Instead of a warm hug and promise of better days, God spoke Resilience into my whining session.

Despite my efforts at finding an escape clause, braving 2022 with such a bold word friend revealed receiving the gift of Resilience brought profound personal and spiritual growth.

receiving strength for the journey

Focusing on three key verses, my journey with Resilience opened my eyes not to my inner strength, but Christ’s.

“If you faint in the day of adversity, your strength is small.”

Proverbs 24:10

“Be watchful, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong.”

1 Corinthians 16:13

“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”

Joshua 1:9

But the most important lesson God impressed my heart from the outset was:

In 2022, God desires I step more fully into my spiritual identity, showing forth His glorious power through the Resilience embedded there.

the gift of resilience

My journey wound through seasons, emotions, and of course adversity; speaking the truth of scripture into my heart. Weaving an unusual garment of strength even in my weakest moments.

phone wallpaper with latte and the word "resilience"

resilience in the fragility of life

Is not Resilience the story of the gospel told over and over again through the mundane of everyday triumphs and failures? The fragile nature of life presents me with afflictions, confusion, injustices, and sin. Yet I remain uncrushed, without despair, unforsaken and utterly invincible.

Resilience echoes the gospel through the darkest of nights, the loudest accusations, and the cruelest blows struck by sin.

resilience in the scars of my story

Once considering my scars a sign of weakness and failure, Resilience revealed incredible strength hidden among them.

As my scars came into view; some physical, many emotional, I saw something new. Though a few seemed small, white, and barely visible; sadly, a few upon my heart still bled with my touch.

But all spoke my story; each scar shaped the woman I am today.

plant in pot in afternoon sunset

Defined by Resilience, each scar evidenced former pain and suffering, but they also told a story of victory, purpose, and Providence.

Touching and revisiting my scars not only connected me with Resilience, but it also connected my scars with my story. And ultimately, it reminded me of the scarred hands yet writing that same story.

resilience in uncertainty

A part of life, unpredictability presents an opportunity for Resilience. If I tend towards meeting the unexpected events of life with rigidity, I break rather than bend.

Resilience expects the unexpected, embracing change as a catalyst for growth.

Embracing divine intervention contributed the most profound lesson Resilience taught me in the sinking sands of unpredictability. How often I chafed at the inconsistency of schedule changes and unplanned events or the changeableness of people around me. When at the bottom of it all, God’s hand ordered my days.

When confronted with the unpleasant reality of the unexpected, Resilience yields to God’s sovereignty.

resilience at the end of my rope

Sometimes life comes at you in relentless waves of harsh reality.

In the onslaught of adversity, resilience ties a knot in my faith by enabling me to cling to Christ, girding me with the promises of His Word.

hand reaching for hand sunset in background

Resilience breathed strength into the sinews of my spiritual legs, as it taught me the importance of holding fast to my faith even when it appears fragile. (Hebrews 10:23)

Taking hold of Christ, I bravely let go of the problem, my notion of control, and releasing fear, I surrendered desired outcomes, while leaning into Christ’s strength.

Which gently led me to a place of trusting God’s promises, love for me, and truth above all the noise of my storm; learning to rest in His good and faithful ways, as I kept a hold of Christ.

resilience’s transformation power

Suffering implies something prolonged. We often think of seasons of suffering, periods of enduring hardship rather than a single isolated incident. Grief results from one tragic life event, but the suffering extends long past the event.

When in the midst of these suffering seasons we rarely understand the purpose and seldom notice the benefits of strength built into our lives.

Possessing a deeper knowledge of God’s ways, leading to a firm trust in His promises and Presence, arms me with courage, which enables me to submit to suffering, ultimately yielding strength of faith and hope in the glory beyond this present world’s hardships.

Embracing the purpose in pain, yielded wisdom which transformed my view of God’s ways.

resilience reflected

From reflections of Resilience origins we often view Resilience as an individual’s capacity for coping with stress and adversity.

goldsmith designing a plate

But this popularly accepted view of Resilience falls well short of what the Apostle Paul intimates in 2 Corinthians 4:8-9.

Resilience, as understood in physics, is a material’s ability to absorb energy when deformed elastically and release that same energy when the initial stress unloads, without creating a permanent distortion.

Certainly, the Apostle Paul’s description in 2 Corinthians 4:8-9 indicates the very property of Resilience we know from physics.

The Christian life illustrates not only the positive ability of adaptation and recovery in hardship, but the evidence of transformation for the better as a result of the hardship.

In every encounter with hardship, we illustrate the dying of the Lord Jesus; while God’s resurrection power in the form of Resilience shows forth life in Christ Jesus, a glorious victory.

resilience transfiguration

Just as a physical material becomes stronger as a result of the stress put upon it, so I become stronger through the trials God allows in my life. But it goes deeper than merely becoming stronger and better equipped to handle hardship.

While we cannot choose the hardships we experience, when we submit to God’s sovereign hand in them, we emerge not only stronger, but transfigured more into the image of Christ.

Resilience reflects the ability of merging our past selves with the present hard reality, forging a transformed identity with a new future by the redemptive power of God.

resilience fueled by joy

Coming full circle, I realize cultivating Joy as my 2021 One Word, strengthened my Resilience.

woman in straw hat bending over to smell a pink flower

The better acquainted I became with my tiny word friend, Joy, the more Resilience became visible.

The emotional manifestation of trust in God, Resilience emerges from the intentional pursuit of Joy through a heart set on seeing the goodness of God in every moment and encounter.

Want more Resilience? Pursue more Joy!

resisting or resting in resilience?

Overall, certain behaviors and attitudes either resist or rest in Resilience.

After some time in reviewing Resilience lessons so far and pitfalls I encountered, I came up with a practical list of resisting and resting in Resilience behaviors, you can read HERE.

Ultimately, even through the effort of resistance, Resilience continues its gentle work of wooing me into the rest of surrender: the surrender of submission to the transforming power of suffering in the hand of a sovereign God.

resilience’s unbreakable bond with gratitude

Gratitude acknowledges God’s goodness even in the hard places enabling me to thrive in adversity through my implicit trust in Him.

Until God invited me to open the gift of gratitude in hard places, I never realized the importance of the component of gratitude hidden within Resilience.

bowl of fresh cranberries, indian corn, orange squash, thank you note on table

Rooted in implicit trust in God’s sovereign ways, Resilience thrives in the presence of gratitude. With each new hard path I face, gratitude defeats fear and anxiety surrounding future outcomes. Fear and anxiety simply cannot coexist within a grateful heart simultaneously.

But gratitude also builds emotional Resilience by strengthening relationship connections, reframing harsh realities through the lens of God’s goodness, and maintaining a present focus on God’s abundant blessings.

receiving the gift of resilience

This year’s One Word journey succeeded in enabling me to see Resilience in its simplest form, which is nothing more than relentless Hope: the assurance of God’s eternal goodness and faithfulness.

Wrapping up my 2022 venture with my bold word friend perfectly positions me for receiving the gift of Resilience in all the fullness of God’s magnificent power working in and through me for my good and His ultimate glory.

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