One of the greatest gifts we can share with others is a sense of our own peace, but we can’t share what we don’t have. Spiritual resilience, the ability not only to bounce back from adversity but to deepen as a result of it, is essential to becoming a better person — parent, friend, member of a spiritual community, the list continues.
Today, the world seems to be such an insecure, stressful, and even dangerous place. Spiritual hunger, physical ills, financial pressures, unemployment, and loss of trust in many of the institutions our parents (and past generations) counted on constantly threaten our faith in ourselves and our God.
Here are six ways to persist in the faith in the midst of hardship:
1. Fully experience your pain.
Ignoring pain or playing it down only buries it. Instead, let your emotion out in prayer as a lament that can be placed on the broad shoulders of God. This is a tried-and-true way of praying as shown in the Hebrew Scriptures.
By being transparent when we are suffering and encountering God this way, we also deepen our relationship with the Lord. As we express our pain to him, we are in effect also demonstrating our belief in the intimacy he offers and following Jesus’ call inMatthew 11:28, “Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.”
2. Be gentle with yourself as you seek clarity.
Don’t be harsh with yourself as you mine the gray and dark areas of your life where you feel you have made a mistake or sinned. The reality is that behavior you wince at will eventually turn into behavior that you wink at. You can’t constantly pick on yourself and learn from the situations being examined.
Bottom line: when we are not gentle (by self-preaching grace), we treat ourselves poorly. When we are not clear (by repenting), we will never grow. Yet, when we are both clear and gentle with ourselves in tough situations, we set the stage for growth and new depth that would not have been possible without the stress, darkness, or trauma we faced.
This balance of clarity and gentleness manifests itself in a spirit ofintrigue. When we are intrigued about both our signature strengths and growing edges that need improvement, new understanding and change becomes more possible.
3. Seek the proper circle of friends.
Find a community of fellow Christians who will support, challenge, tease, and inspire you; to do this, look at who is in your life now and seek out:
- Prophets: the people who challenge us to look at what “voices” are guiding our actions, thoughts, and beliefs
- Cheerleaders: the friends who support us
- Teasers: those who prevent us from taking ourselves too seriously as we take seriously the situations in our life
- Inspirational or spiritual friends: people who encourage us to be all that we can be without embarrassing us for being in our current state
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