RELIGIOUS CHRONICLE: Being resilient in the face of life’s challenges | Columnists

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I was having a conversation with a good friend the other day, and he was telling me how much harder life is getting now that he’s over eighty. When he was young, he liked to jog and walk a few miles a day, and now he can barely get to the kitchen. I’m about twenty years younger, but I can definitely relate to my body and mind going through some changes. I’ve always heard that lack of activity does us a disservice because it seems like the less we do, the less we can do. My mom is 84 and she stays active by going to church, shopping, eating out, and walking around Walmart. It’s good for her to get out of the house and keep moving.

When my father passed away a few years ago, my sisters and I were concerned about how she would handle being alone. You see, our parents are from the old school tradition where my mother never worked outside the home. My father and his father worked together in the construction industry and we all had a good life. That is until he was diagnosed with severe kidney failure and the second half of his life was spent on downsizing, dialysis and getting his affairs in order. He showed Mom how to pump gas, manage the checkbook and pay the bills so that when she died she could survive on her own. There were six children in her family and she is the last sister alive, but my sisters and I are always there so she has everything she needs.

Sometimes I call her in the middle of the day to check on her, and she’s just watching reruns of all the old shows I grew up watching. Most of the time she is bored and tries to find ways to entertain herself. I’m proud of her because I realize a lot of people live alone and do well, but after living with one person for so long, I’m sure it can be lonely at times. I mean whatever you are struggling with today, God has placed within you a strength and a courage that you may not realize. Discouragement or victory is decided on the battlefield of your mind, and if you see yourself in a dark valley, that’s where you believe yourself. If you see yourself on the mountain basking in the glare of the sun, nothing but your own negativity can hinder your perseverance.

When it comes to resilience, it’s inspiring to know that we can endure so much more than we can imagine. At some point or another, we will experience some form of life-changing adversity, difficulty, or crisis, and those who adopt an optimistic attitude will pass to the other side. Aging can be added to the list of challenges, as can serious health issues, financial problems, and relationship failures, to name a few. The good news is that problems can’t overcome you. You are only defeated when you stop fighting and praying.

So how do people deal with serious events that threaten their future? It depends on their desperation to trust God and that includes being content and joyful. Being positive or negative are learned behaviors, and having faith in who God is and what he has promised is a constant choice. For example, when we read the book of Proverbs, we see that asking for and receiving divine wisdom is an important key to understanding the purpose and meaning of our lives.

It is true that we react to negative circumstances with a flood of strong emotions and a sense of uncertainty. However, we generally adapt well over time when we understand that resilience is an ongoing process that requires time to seek out and understand the truth. Being resilient doesn’t mean a person is carefree, but it does mean understanding that we can conquer the fears that try to bluff us into giving up. Developing resilience is a personal journey where we train our mind to see what we believe in instead of only believing what we see. It is crucial that we know each other and, more importantly, that we know what God is saying. To have an optimistic view of our existence and realize what is happening around us, we can examine our hearts, become aware of the presence of God and seek different strategies that can bring peace, healing and a state of mind and protective spirit.

Billy Holland is a licensed and ordained minister. He is also a teacher, writer and singer. To contact Holland, visit billyhollandministries.com.

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