This summer, I had the opportunity to be the “story lady” for Vacation Bible School. The theme was related to the treasures we receive from God. The decorations made the church look like a tropical island and in my room we had an old open trunk with all kinds of treasures inside. This made more of an impression upon me than I first realized.
We can find many treasures if we open up the spiritual treasure chest. One of these treasures is resilience. A bit of family history will help illustrate my point.
Several years ago, our family had been through a very stressful time. It felt like we were in a constant state of upheaval caused by one crisis after another. The crisis was related to my divorce from the girls’ dad and the resulting turmoil. A few years later, things had settled down and the crisis was over. My oldest daughter said to me “Mom, you have a lot of resilience. I suppose you will tell me that this is because of your faith.” Very simply, I said yes, that is true.
Resilience is defined in two ways in the dictionary. The first is “the ability of a substance or object to spring back into shape; elasticity.” The second is the capacity to recover quickly from difficulties; toughness.
To spring back or recover from difficulties is, for me, directly related to my faith in God. When tough times come, prayer and trusting in God help me to get through; it is the solution that I turn to first.
Now here is an interesting connection. Resilience is directly related to forgiveness. In resilience theory, recovery from stress is reduced by forgiveness. Forgiveness, and its associated positive emotions, is a coping mechanism for reducing stress. So when we forgive ourselves or someone else, it reduces stress.
For a person of faith, forgiveness is a big deal. As a Christian, we believe we are forgiven because of Christ’s death and resurrection. Because God loves us, God made sure we would not have to carry around our shortcomings; instead, we are to lighten our emotional load and let go of what we feel we have failed to do.
I know this is not easily done. Many people go around with a heavy rock around their neck because they cannot forgive. But, if we want to be resilient, we learn to trust that God’s promises are there for each of us.
So take a chance and open the lid of the spiritual trunk. You will find many treasures there. I am glad I was able to pull resilience out of the trunk.
By the way, I saw more resilience in the trunk, just waiting for you to remove it.