By: Ronda Sturgill
Resiliency is defined as the “ability to spring back from and successfully adapt to adversity”
(Resiliency in Action, 2012). Research has shown that human beings are innately
designed with a capacity to bounce back from adversity, stress, traumas, crises and risks
to experience success in life. For the stressed out, overwhelmed, frustrated and lonely
military wives, resiliency is the key to hanging in there!
Although we are innately endowed with this ability, resiliency does not come naturally
for most of us. But we can learn to become more resilient.
If you’re like me, there are times when you tend to focus only on what is going wrong in your life. Learning how to become more resilient takes the opposite approach. Instead of focusing on what is wrong, focus on what is going right.
For example, I have used a wheelchair for mobility for 40 years. When I was recently denied access to a public building due to a flight of steps with no alternative entrance, I was upset. After 40 years of dealing with these types of issues that leave me unable to experience life as most people do, my resiliency is at an all-time low. When it’s so easy for me to think of all the things I cannot do, I have to force myself to think of all the things I can do.
In addition to focusing on what is going right in our lives, the development of resilience
also lies in relationships, beliefs and expectations. These are often referred to as
In particular, there are six conditions that, when strongly put in place, foster resiliency. They are:
- caring and support,
- high expectations,
- opportunities to contribute,
- positive connections,
- clear and consistent boundaries, and
- life skills that involve healthy relationships in the home and workplace.
Other protective factors include independence, humor and flexibility. Of all of these protective factors, caring and support are seen as the most important and foundational.
Are you involved in caring and supportive relationships with family or friends? When
we have a relationship that helps us identify our strengths, interests, goals
and dreams, we become more resilient. We feel as though we’re not alone. Someone
else cares enough to partner with us on this journey. We’re kept from sliding off the
edge when people expect things from us.
I have found that serving others gives my life meaning and purpose. In spite of my disability, God has shown me many things I can do that make a difference in someone else’s life. Putting these protective factors in place really does help me to remain resilient. Ideally, we all know someone who models resiliency his or her own life.
God never gives up on us and neither should we. He can change any circumstance,
no matter how bad things look at the time. Romans 15:5 tells us that He gives us
endurance and encouragement; verse 15 tells us that God is a God of hope, and
that as we trust in Him we can overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.
Resilience is about hope. Hope for a better tomorrow. Hope for a better outcome.
Hope for a better ‘me.’ The God of all grace, who calls us to His eternal glory in
Christ, after we have suffered a little while, will himself restore us and make us
strong, firm and steadfast (1 Peter 5:10).
Henderson, N. (2002). Resiliency expert. Talk of The Nation. National Public Radio.
Retrieved from http://www.resiliency.com/20020716totn02_96.mp3
Resiliency in Action. (2012). Retrieved from http://www.resiliency.com