Learning Spiritual Resilience through Perseverance
How is it that you see some people who go through tremendous personal trials and suffering, but continue to live a faithful life, when others turn their shoulder to God? Where did their strength come from? Often, you even see a progression of greater faith as they continue to live repeated trials and suffering. What separates them from those who succumb to their circumstances?
The answer is spiritual resilience. The ability with the heart, mind, spirit and soul to focus not on themselves in those circumstances, but on their complete trust, even abandonment, to the Providence of God. An interior yielding that leaves no room for bitterness or resentment or self pity.
How is that virtue developed? The answer is a little at a time over a long period of time.
You learned to walk or ride a bicycle by falling down. Olympic athletes fail too many times to count on their way to the gold medal. So it is with anything you want to achieve. Spiritual resiliency is fundamental to a growth in holiness to which every Christian is called. But along the way, we will encounter much failure. That is not a reason to quit, at all, but the very reason to keep going! We learn one more way in which not to do it and as complex as our natures are, there are certainly a lot of ways we need to learn how not to do it.
But the real focus on developing spiritual resiliency as a trait, and enduring part of our being, is the celebration of our little successes along the way. Focus on those times when you overcame the temptation to give up and trusted God, remaining joyful and optimistic in the midst of a trial. One can even begin with small annoyances, such as delays in traffic. Begin with the small matters, pay attention to them and reinforce the successes. No jet pilot, astronaut, professional athlete or saint achieved what they did without both learning from the mistakes and working hard on reinforcing the successes.
‘They will know we are Christians by our love’, by our love, joy, peace and serenity in every circumstance. Our spiritual resilience, the ability to remain loving, joyful, peaceful and serene no matter what is going on around us, is developed through perseverance over a long period of time. Starting with the smallest of things, the smallest annoyances in our lives.
The fruit of your efforts will be a life of greater happiness as God provides the grace to grow in spiritual resilience through greater and greater perseverance.