Some of you may be just joining the Resilience God Style community while this may be other’s first dive into the pool… or better yet, your first opportunity to learn about how to be a tennis ball instead of an egg as we encounter life challenges.
For those who provided feedback to our maiden voyage last week — thank you! The comments were too numerous to recount here, but I particularly thank those who shared your hurts with us and explained how God carried you through various “body slams.” As you permit me, I will encourage others with your stories along the way.
Speaking of Tennis Balls, here a great resilience passage in Scripture which shows the contrast:
Note that “BUT” is in RED. This is the inflection point between tennis ball and egg, the line in the sand, James Travis at the Alamo, the red line — this far and no farther. It is a key element of mindset (and heartset) to figure out our “BUT”s ahead of time. Whether we be a first grader or an elderly statesman, it is critical to identify our non-negotiables BEFORE we find ourselves in the crucible.
For this edition, let’s discuss regaining vital optimism.
From the pages of Resilience God Style (page 185) here is the essence:
… a critical element in “Bouncing Back” without getting stuck is the recovery of “vital optimism” and the recovery of hope for a brighter future.
Part of this process is learning to sing a new song, a metaphor I use for the broader concept of being renewed in body, mind, soul, spirit, and relationships as we rise from the ashes of brokenness.
For those of you wondering, “Sing a New Song” is one of the techniques suggested in the AFTER phase of the Resilience Life Cycle.
This AFTER phase is divided into LOOKING BACK (through the rear view mirror, introspection regarding the “storm” you faced) and LOOKING FORWARD (through the windshield, moving into a new future with vital optimism). As well as “Sing a New Song,” this looking forward phase also includes “Revalidating Your Call” and “Comforting Others with that which You have been Comforted”, both of which we will discuss in later newsletter editions.
As always, my prayer for each of us is that we might learn and model Christ-like resilience as we navigate the storms of life and help others do the same.
Jesus said, “In the world you will have tribulation, but take courage, I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33) Resilience God Style allows us to be the overcomers which God intended us to be.
Respectfully in Christ,
“They rode as champions at the end of a long campaign,
inspecting the new world from a high perch.”
(POWs regaining vital optimism as they regained freedom, Ghost Soldiers)
They Rode As Champions
by Bob Dees
Consider the 1945 rescue and repatriation of the Bataan Death March survivors who had been brutally tortured and malnourished at the Cabanatuan prison camp in the Philippines:
A convoy of large troop-carrying trucks motored down the road and halted alongside the column. The prisoners were told to vacate their oxcarts and climb aboard. For the last ten miles into Guimba, they stood up and clung to the side boards. They rode as champions at the end of a long campaign, inspecting the new world from a high perch.
The roads were lined with thousands of GIs who waved at them and threw candy and cigarettes. They were speeding to a place that had medicines and hot food, clean quarters with soft cots and cool fans and cold beer. They were seven thousand miles from home, but they’d passed again into America.
Having just read Ghost Soldiers (I highly recommend!), an amazing account of the inspiring RESILIENCE of the Cabanatuan POWs and their historic rescue by the 6th Ranger Battalion and their Philippine cohorts, I am prompted to provide a brief reflection:
The men who were engulfed in the unavoidable Sixth Army surrender of U.S. forces on Bataan in 1942 were valiant warriors overtaken by the tide of evil which swept across the Pacific Theatre in WWII. Yet, they remained faithful to their high calling as Army soldiers. In essence, they were true Resilient Warriors. These noble servants of nation and one another survived the most brutal conditions; yet they became national icons of courage and patriotism, contributing members to all segments of society (for those who lived through the experience), and true Profiles in Resilience who inspire others who pause to listen and learn from their profound example.
Similarly, all of us are subject to the unexpected challenges of life. One day the sun is shining; the next we are in a torrential downpour of pain, despair, discouragement, tragedy, disaster – In the world we will have tribulation … Jesus, John 16:33a.
In a spiritual sense, we are all prisoners of war until Jesus rescues us (For He rescued us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.” Colossians 1:13, NASB).
Even after we are freed men and women in Christ, redeemed and forgiven; we are nevertheless called and required to be resilient in the many storms of life.
This reality of life commands our attention, compelling us to ask some simple, yet profound, questions:
Am I ready for my next body slam of life?
If closer to an egg than a tennis ball, what can I do to build bounce in my life?
How do I become more resilient?
Certainly you can turn to the book Resilience God Style or the RGS website for specific steps to build resilience, but no doubt many of you have learned life lessons that help you weather the storms of life. No doubt you also have inspiring stories of overcoming, and/or spiritual wisdom that will help us all get better, wiser, stronger through the adversities of life.
Now to the main thought about “VITAL OPTIMISM,”
Although there are numerous other observations we will milk from the Cabanatuan POWs in future blogs, let’s fast forward to the other side of their fearful tribulation. As quoted above, “They rode as champions at the end of a long campaign, inspecting the new world from a high perch”.
In essence, these resilient warriors were starting to regain their vital optimism, starting to get spring back in their step, growing in hope that their ordeal was over.
In similar fashion, after each of us go through a body slam, we can spiral into bitterness or grow in hope and optimism. The key question is “How do I bounce back without getting stuck in the toxic emotions of guilt, false, guilt, anger, and bitterness?”
While there are some useful techniques contained in RGS resources, the ultimate miracle occurs when we lean into God in the aftermath of personal tragedy.
Inexplicably and almost imperceptibly, our Creator God begins to restore us, allowing us to regain our vital optimism, learn to sing a new song, revalidate God’s plans for our future, and comfort others with that which we have been comforted. As in the Book of Zechariah (4:6), the true healing is “not by power, or by might, but by My Spirit, saith the Lord.”
Then, we also can ride as “champions at the end of a long campaign, inspecting the new world from a high perch.” This is Resilience God Style!
What do YOU think?
How do you build bounce in your life?
How have you been able to regain “vital optimism” after a body slam?
Tell us about it.
Here’s A Resilience Training Game Question that relates to “Singing a New Song.” WHAT SONG WOULD YOU SING???
From the Mailbox
When we lost my dad earlier this year, I was reminded that though the final days were intense and the grief at times was suffocating, this intensity was only for a time. I found myself leaning into God and His Word. I read to my dad as well. This gave perspective into the character of God and reminded me that God is the source of life here and life eternal. As our family gathered around to say our good-bye’s the hard and difficult emotions of seeing him slip away were comforted by our family coming together to experience this time with each other.
We continue to miss dad being here with us. I still go to pick up the phone to tell him something; Hayley and I have our moments of unexpected grief; my children mention him often; when talking to my mom and brother we share how much we miss him.
Resilience, for me, during this time is to understand this is only for a season, that I need to lean into God and His Word and rely on others as I would not be as capable on my own.
Thank you, Randy. Wise counsel. We are sorry for your loss, yet we thank you for “comforting others as you have been comforted.” You and the family are modeling resilience for all of us.
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