Growing In Our Resilience

Lessons On Coping with Change

by Pastor Bong dela Fuente - Arrow Leadership Philippines

[4 minute read]

 

Growing up, I have always loved the bamboo grove we had at our farm. The tall grass serve as borders to the property, and they would tower over the entire landscape. I love the soft rustle of the leaves as the thin, pliant stalks sway to the rhythms of the wind. My mother would point the familiar lesson of being like bamboo in the face of adversity. She tells me that unlike sturdier trees that can break when resisting wind, we can be like a bamboo that gracefully sway and bend while the winds of a difficult season blow.

I am reminded of this lesson of resilience especially in these strange times we are living in. We feel like we are living and leading in an in-between world. We see the vestiges of what used to be, and we are also catching a glimpse of what is next. We face losses through death, and opportunities gone. At the same time, new things have been springing up. As we grapple to find new ways to live, and to lead through all of these, a quality that comes into play is resilience. Resiliency is the ability to recover quickly, stay positive and see new opportunities in the midst of setbacks. As leaders at the forefront of ministry and even as we endeavor to personally grow, we must build up our capacity to be pliant bamboos against the strong winds of change.

However not everybody has the same level of resilience. For some, coping with changes, and crisis is a journey. We wish we can be as agile in coping with change. We want to be able to bounce back with alacrity and to rise up, dust ourselves off, and go forward stronger, wiser, and more stable. The question therefore, is how do we develop resilience? How do we strengthen our adaptive capacity?

Here are a few insights I have considered:

  1. Establish your non-negotiable - these are foundational truths, and realities where you find certainty in an ocean of change. These are the fulcrum we can pivot from: who God is, His involvement in our lives, who we are in the Lord, and the purposes God has for us. This becomes our fixed point. This is where we pivot from.
  2. Coming to terms with circumstances that are beyond our grasp. We also need to accept that some things have changed - sometimes temporarily, but more often permanently. We need to grieve as we should. We may also need some time to come to grips with these changes / loss. This acceptance is an important step so that we are able to spring back, and move forward.

  3. Be present - this means you are cognisant of your emotions, and what you are going through. By being self-aware of your behaviour and what you are thinking or feeling allows you to be present in the moment. This can allow you to own up to these feelings, and take control of these feelings.

  4. Build or belong to a supportive community that can encourage, strengthen, and challenge us in these seasons of change. We will get tired. There will be times when the onslaught of difficulty, and loss can be overwhelming. We need people who can rally around us, and help us see through the winds of crisis. But take care that we also pay attention to the people around us. Be receptive to the needs of others and add value to them. We can be a source of strength and encourage our communities.

  5. If our current circumstances curtail us from expanding, or continuing with our work, we use this time to deepen ourselves. Let this be an opportunity to go back to our roots, and let the foundation of God, and His Word become sustenance for our souls. Declare these trying times as times where we can fall headlong into surrender to the Father’s embrace. Growth can take place not just through our usual metrics of production, accomplishments, and goals. They can also be about personal development, depth of character, and mental health. These are foundational to resiliency.

  6. Remind yourself of your purpose, and the vision you have for your life, your ministry or leadership role. This allows you to be centred, but will give you room to embrace the new things you are facing. Look at this space you are finding yourself in to be an opportunity to creatively consider new ways to do things.Consider these awkward, in-between times as invitation to re-create, or to look at what we have been doing in a fresh perspective.

Resilience is a skill we can all develop. My prayer is that we will be able to embrace the future with positivity. And as we journey forward, let us be expectant in finding meaning and significance in what we do. Trust that all things work together for good.