Resilience: The Secret Sauce Of Pastoral Fitness
Resilience is the secret sauce of pastoral fitness.
Rick Warren describes resilience as,
“…the ability to bounce back. It’s the ability to keep going. Nobody goes through life with an unbroken chain of successes. Everybody has failures and mistakes. We all embarrass ourselves. We all have pain. We all have problems. We all have pressures. The people who make it in life have resilience.”
Want a biblical perspective on resilience? Listen to the way the man who turned the world upside down describes his right side up experiences.
“We’ve been surrounded and battered by troubles, but we’re not demoralized; we’re not sure what to do, but we know that God knows what to do; we’ve been spiritually terrorized, but God hasn’t left our side; we’ve been thrown down, but we haven’t broken. Our lives are at constant risk for Jesus’ sake, which makes Jesus’ life all the more evident in us.” 2 Corinthians 4:8,9 (The Message)
Bounce Back Capacity
Resilience describes the capacity to respond well to suffering and actually to grow through the suffering – to find God in a deeper way and be conformed to the image of Jesus.
When faced with continuous criticism, health concerns, stress, opposition, or discouragement, resilience is how well a pastor can adapt to the events in her or his life. A pastor with resilience has the ability to bounce back more quickly and with less stress than someone whose resilience is less developed.
Everybody has resilience. It’s just a question of how much and how well you put it to good use in your life. Resilience doesn’t mean you don’t feel the intensity of an event or problem. Instead, it just means that you’ve found a pretty good way of dealing with it more quickly than others.
Increasing Your Resilience
Prayer, Meditation and Solitude If Jesus often withdrew for solitude and prayer that should be our first hint. These type of practises are rich soil for cultivating awe.
Time in the Word Having a positive view of yourself and confidence in your strengths and abilities is a huge source of resilience. There is no better “self-assessment” than spending time in God’s word. The Bible tells me who I am. It tells me what Christ promises to do in me. I know where I can stand firm and what parts of myself to hold with an open hand, ready to be surprised by God’s work.
Community The Christian life is a call to community. Supportive relationships in your life with your family and friends are a vital foundation. Good, positive relationships help a pastor with reassurance and encouragement when times get tough, and seem to help support the ability to rebound more quickly after a difficult event or problem.
Giving and Serving Taking your eyes off yourself and turning them toward others cultivates meaning, builds community, and fosters gratitude.
Sabbath When we take intentional time to acknowledge that we are not God, we learn to self-regulate properly and keep in perspective our place in the grand scheme of things.
Self-Awareness Be able to effectively and in a healthy manner manage your feelings and impulses.
Use the preceding practises to become a resilient pastor who is fit for ministry in the year to come.