Recently I read an article highlighting the findings of world-renowned neuroscientist Richie Davidson on the scientific factors that shape well-being and how all of us can get better at it through training and development of key skills.
The Bible has a lot to say about how to live well, too, both with one’s own self and with others. It offers teaching, guidance, wisdom and action steps on the subject.
In the article, four skills for well-being were examined. We’ll explore the first one here:
Resilience is the ability to bounce back and recover when bad things happen. Some of us take awhile while others amaze us with their ability to rebound quickly. The good news is that resilience IS a skill we can develop and strengthen.
Nestled within resilience is having a sense of purpose. That sense of purpose can help get you through many a tough moment in life. Research states that each of us is born hard-wired to connect with meaning and purpose (source: Hardwired to Connect: The New Scientific Case for Authoritative Communities by The Commission on Children at Risk).
It’s in our DNA. As believers, we have readily accepted this research fact as a no-brainer, valid by our own experience of being called by God to do His work.
The practice part of building resilience takes the form of two practices. We tap into our sense of purpose to
- help reframe tough times
- work on our own mental training to strengthen our response
I have found that practicing meditation on a regular basis and practicing choosing how I want to respond in any given situation helps me with the “mental training” aspect. While we may not be able to control what’s happening, we can control how we respond, how we show up, how we act – if we decide in advance the kind of person we want to be in tough challenges – which is a perfect spot for where scriptures can help us define the kind of people want to be.
Scripture clearly emphasizes the importance of purpose in our lives. Not only does it provide a sense of joy, but purpose also arms us to be resilient. It shields us and empowers us with a sense of confidence to face the various trials that are an inherent part of living. And our sense of purpose comes from something bigger and grander than ourselves. That connection to God gives us a larger viewpoint to operate from that can help us detach from the outcomes of challenges and regain a more balanced perspective footing. Additionally, we draw comfort from the fact that we have a God we can lean on to help us when we are struggling.
Read more on resilience: Romans 8:28-31, 2 Corinthians 4:17-18, Psalm 27:1-14, John 16:33, 1 John 5:4, Hebrews 11:1, 2 Timothy 4:7, Hebrews 12:2