Girls Night In

the blog for single, over-40 women

When Life is Hard: Learning Resilience

on February 26, 2014

All the days of my hard service
I will wait for my renewal to come. 

Job 14:14 (NIV)

After a friend of mine lost a family member recently, I was amazed at how she could keep going on with life. She was working and living with a smile on her face. She had kind words for others. Was she just masking her pain?

No.

Amazingly, she had grieved her loss and over the ensuing months God had given her a great capacity for moving forward, for getting on with loving and serving others.

Hard times seem to affect each of us differently. But I don’t think the ability to bounce back comes easy for most of us. Nevertheless, we can all grow in our resilience.

When I was younger it seemed that every broken dating relationship I had was completely devastating. Back then, I didn’t have the emotional resources or the relationship with God that I have now to handle the situation. After one particularly sad ending, I simply couldn’t eat. Just lifting a fork to my mouth seemed to take a Herculean effort.

Like a tree in a windstorm, bending precariously close to the ground, I felt as if I would break. But I didn’t. Trees—and women with broken hearts—bend, they don’t break.

Thankfully, storms end. And the gray clouds rolled away from my broken heart. The hopeful light of the sun dawned again. For me, bouncing back took time and copious amounts of God’s truth.

I had to remember the truth about my situation, about who I am in Christ and how I am well-loved by God. Other healing tools that helped me to bounce back and become more resilient were prayer, talking it out with close friends and soaking my mind with God’s Word.

Resilience is what we desire, but how can we learn to bounce back after hard times? Reflect on some of these thoughts:

Accept the fact that life will never be the same again. You are different, the situation is different. In time, healing will come and you will grow to be a stronger and better person.

Express your feelings appropriately. Many people suppress their emotions and try to push them away. But like a beach ball shoved under the water, your emotions will pop back up again and they may come back up in a place and time when you least expect them. Start by naming what you feel and letting yourself feel it (with a counselor or trusted friend): “I am angry . . . I am hurt . . . I am sad. . . . ”

Grieve the loss. Death, divorce, breakups or the loss of a dream are some of the most devastating situations in life. Sometimes you just need to cry, and cry out to God. He is always there with open arms to comfort and heal.

Look up with hope. Although it may not seem like it, your stormy times will end. We can have peace because God has a plan. We don’t know what tomorrow will bring but we know the One who knows. Never doubt the goodness of God.

Give God time. Healing comes step-by-step. Each day brings you closer, whether it’s through a friend’s phone call or a new truth learned in a book you read. You can know that God has you on His timetable and His timing is perfect!

Learning resilience is about total dependence on God. He will come through for you.

Prayer: Lord, I need your strength and power. Will you please help me to bounce back and be more resilient? Bring growth from pain, order from chaos and an abundance of peace and joy again. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

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One response to “When Life is Hard: Learning Resilience

  1. Carole Brown says:

    Wise words. Time and God can heal the hardest hurt.

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