MacDonald, Gordon. A Resilient Life. You can move ahead no matter what. Thomas Nelson 2004
The over-arching metaphor of this book is the running of a race and winning. The resilient not only understand what is required to finish well (win) but have the discipline and skills to make it happen. In our culture coming second in a race is being the number one loser. In as much as we are all in the race, where does that leave those of us that don’t win? I know this is not the point of the analogy but it creates a bit of a challenge when it comes to applying the principles. Resilience is a noble goal.
The refusal to quit is a choice. Resilience in our culture has to do with “lasting and thriving in the spiritual way”. (9) The writer of Hebrews uses the analogy of the race to illustrate resilience and so does this author. “Developing resilience is demanding, mostly done in secret, often humbling, not always fun.” (20) It must become a daily pursuit. Aimlessness and being a champion are extreme opposites on a pendulum. Intentionality and relationships are an integral part of being a champion.
Resilient people think in terms of the big picture when it comes to important projects. Sod-turning is not nearly as important as ribbon-cutting. The “questions of life’s passage” (47) vary from decade to decade. Resilient people are concerned about Christian character and clear about God’s call on their lives. Being confident in their giftedness and generosity are ‘ear-marks’ of resilience.
The past should become a weight hindering the race. Repairs of the past are part of dealing with it. This involves dealing with memories. Repentance and forgiveness are crucial when dealing with the past. Gratitude demonstrates appreciation of the past. There is wisdom to be gained from the past.
Resilience deals with the ‘long haul’ of life. Learn how to deal with emergencies. Goals must be clear. There must be attention to physical fitness. The continual growth of the mind has to be a priority. Emotions need to be controlled and egos must be held in check.
Resilient people have developed an effective support group of friends. They will be few in number but very strong in relationship. It is very challenging to build such a group. “The pathway to resilience requires that I fill my personal life with a very special set of relationships.” (I think that is a very difficult assignment.)