Learning resilience

(Photo: Getty/iStock)

Resilience is a journey we learn and develop over our lifetime. A journey that's difficult at times. For me, learning resilience has been a hard journey that's involved lots of prayer.

It's been one of those things I think I'm getting better at then I'm hit by another challenge in life and reminded I'm still a work in progress in resilience.

Why am I talking about resilience?

Learning resilience has been closely aligned with my journey to authenticity. Life in Africa showed me the importance of resilience and it helped me to grow in this area in my life.

From the challenges of living in another country, to the trauma I saw in the lives of the babies I cared for, to the stress of caring for such precious human beings and all the other stressors life throws at you.

I had to develop my resilience more than ever before, and every time I saw one of those precious babies stand up and take their first steps, I was reminded that resilience is something we learn from such a young age.

The little ones around us practise resilience every day as they stand up and fall down again and again and they learn from those around them. The authentic relationships I built with those around me in South Africa were a saving grace.

Having those authentic and meaningful relationships with those around me who genuinely care for and supported me, especially in the times of trial, helped me to build my resilience towards life's challenges. My authentically close tribe of those across the globe is small but impactful and in life that's so important.

Resilience requires positivity

I'm not an overly positive person, but nor am I a negative person. I try to have a positive outlook on life and its challenges, though. Having a positive outlook on life and believing good things will happen allows us to build a greater resilience to the tough in life.

Resilience requires us to be able to bounce back, to stand up again and to keep fighting when the going gets tough. Negative thoughts can be like poison, though, so having positivity can make life's difficulties easier.

Moving home to a pandemic closing down the world

In the Bible Jesus says, "A time is coming and in fact has come when you will be scattered, each to your own home. You will leave me all alone. Yet I am not alone, for my Father is with me.

"I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world." (John chapter 16, verses 32-33)

While Jesus wasn't talking about us being banished to our homes because of a pandemic, in this chapter of the bible he does say that when everyone scattered to their homes he wouldn't be left alone because God is with us always.

So even though we have spent months often feeling alone and isolated Jesus reminds us that our heavenly Father never leaves us and we can have peace because of him.

As I came home and tried to adjust myself to life in Aotearoa again, our world abruptly started to fall to pieces with countries going into lockdowns and Covid-19 invading peoples lives. Through lockdown and the pandemic, I had to learn resilience all over again.

I had to dig deeper than before and connect with people in creative and meaningful ways to find the support I needed in those moments. I had to adjust to not having the physical support networks I had over my season in Africa. They are now my distant online support networks and those who were my online networks are now my physical again.

Through the season of transition home and a global pandemic I had to be honest with myself and those around me, and I had to connect in meaningful ways and believe that I could cope.

I believed that there was positive coming and connected with people in an open manner, giving myself grace in this season. Through all of this resilience has been learnt and grown, and my authenticity was challenged and cultivated in a deeper way.

I believe Jesus is a big part of learning resilience and leading a more authentic life. Without his love, his patience and the devotion and peace he pours out over the earth we wouldn't have the strength to stand up and keep on going when the devil tries to wear us down.