A Clear Identity Leads to Resilience
Two fundamental questions will shape your life and lead to resilience.
First, who do I say God is?
Secondly, who do I say I am?
The first question may generate a theological answer—an explanation from the study of God. But a better response is found within our hearts. This requires reflection and draws from personal experience, an experience that continues to shape our perspective of God and life.
The second question, however, is much harder. At least, it appears that way because we often connect who we are with what we do. We respond by reducing our existence to a job role or title. After all, isn’t that the focal point of an initial conversation? Culture trains us to put titles before people because titles are impressive—yet titles come and go.
Whenever I’ve faced a crossroad or a hard decision, I’m led back to these two fundamental questions, and the answers never fail to guide my next steps. Why are these two questions so important? I believe these questions clarify our identity and resilience is found within our identity.
Resilience from Tragedy
Most people understand resilience to be the ability to come back from a setback. Life affects everyone differently, but people can find an unknown resilience when tragedy strikes.
In 2017, I saw this type of resilience during the horrific Las Vegas shooting. Even though we had only lived in Las Vegas for a few years, I had grown to love my community. The tragedy took place at a country music festival when a gunman sprayed bullets to an unsuspecting audience. 59 died and over 800 injured—413 by gunfire.
Here in Las Vegas, many friends, neighbors, and coworkers knew someone that attended the concert. Some were relieved to know that loved ones were safe; others grieved the loss of family and friends.
Our city, however, chose to respond to the immediate needs rather than surrender to an array of emotions. Ironically, Las Vegas, previously known as “Sin City,” was now “Vegas Strong.” The community was caring and resilient. The resilience I witnessed sent me on a journey to understand resilience, not as something that’s acquired but as a lifestyle.
I had a theory that daily discomfort could help an individual build everyday resilience.
The Benefit of Daily Discomfort
Here’s a quote by life coach Brooke Castillo, “Discomfort is the currency of success,” a truth we’d rather avoid.
Most of us prefer to avoid discomfort and pain, but it often prepares us for tomorrow. We can overlook the hidden lessons that discomfort can bring.
I am a big fan of pathologist and neuroscientist, Dr. Caroline Leaf. Let me share some of her wisdom. She says,
“We are not meant to live in a dead zone of feelings, yet we often prefer not to feel, especially when it comes to negative emotions. We sometimes will do anything to avoid pain, boredom, sadness, insecurity, or emptiness. Why can’t we just be happy all the time?”
We must feel to heal. I believe this helped Las Vegas rise above that tragic day.
Understanding Daily Resilience
Daily resilience, however, is subtle. The adversity or tension we experience isn’t from a dramatic event. This type of pain (yes, pain) comes and goes throughout the day. You might even feel guilty feeling stressed or worried because others face worse hardships. Your difficulties and trials are valid, and we should do everything we can to get help.
Daily resilience means we become more self-aware of the negative emotion that keeps us from living our fullest life.
So many individuals have faced adversity and have used it to shape their lives in a positive way. Here are three examples.
Bethany, a young golden-blond surfer, was attacked by a shark at 13 and lost her left arm. Two years later, she won a Woman’s Championship.
Kris lives with rare and slow-growing cancer. It’s incurable, but Kris is a New York Times best-selling author, wellness advocate, and runs a mission-driven business. She’s found joy despite her diagnosis.
My business coach, and friend, was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease about nine years ago. Ray Edwards is a successful Online Entrepreneur. He is best known as a copywriter, the person who writes the words that sell products and services. Amid daunting circumstances, Ray chooses to find joy and continues to scale his business.
If they can do it, then it must be humanly possible. Daily resilience is part of your story.
Create Change for Resilience
When I was in my twenties, I tried to change my actions to become a “good” Christian woman. I was smiling on the outside but unhappy on the inside. (I had a lot of issues.) Here’s what I learned by author Nancy Missler many years ago.
Thoughts stir your emotions
Emotions influence your choices
Choices become your decisions
Decisions result in your actions
This may sound simple, but believe me, it takes great intention to take captive every thought. The key is making conscious and healthy choices when emotions are high and trying to influence us. You don’t have to surrender to your feelings. You have free will and control of your thoughts.
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Resilience is a Journey
As a kid, I loved movies like The Sound of Music, Pollyanna, and believe it or not, The Singing Nun.
These characters inspired me–a loving governess, an orphan girl who used positivity like a superpower, and a Belgian nun who broke tradition and became a singer-songwriter. Despite their challenges, these characters found the resilience to influence the lives of those around them. I wanted to be like them—somehow.
When I first started my blog, I wrote about overcoming fear for five years. Why? Fear, with all its hidden faces, needed to be exposed because it can quickly become an internal bully that dominates lives. Once you learn that courage is fulfilling your assignment regardless of fear, then it’s time to develop daily resilience to live out our responsibilities—a process that never ends.
Resilience is rooted in the endless pursuit of personal growth where obstacles become a mere opportunity for God to shine.
Resilience is a Lifestyle
If we welcome God’s relationship, then we welcome his plan for our lives, and that plan clarifies who we are in the context of service. It’s a plan with no previews or a practice run. It’s in real-time, and that can be scary, but it only unfolds as we walk in obedience to God.
His plan aligns with the gifts He’s given you, but don’t let them get dusty. Like with any gifts we receive, unpack every surprise, cultivating and leveraging each one.
Will there be disappointments and challenges? Absolutely, but we can coexist with tension and adversity in a fractured world.
- Love can coexist with hate because love is a choice.
- Joy can coexist with disappointments because joy is abiding in Christ.
- Peace can coexist with hardship because peace is embracing the truth.
- Patience can coexist with unanswered prayers because patience means surrendering.
- Kindness, Goodness, and Gentleness can coexist in a fractured world because these virtues overflow from humility.
- Faithfulness can coexist with imperfection because faithfulness has an eternal point of view.
- Self-control can coexist with daily temptations because self-control is Spirit-Led.
Faithfulness can coexist with imperfection because faithfulness has an eternal point of view.
Becoming a Resilient Creator
Our plan for life isn’t always apparent.
I was torn between the ministry and earning income. I had to go back to my foundational two questions. Who do I say God is? and Who do I say I am?
I realized I didn’t have to separate work and ministry because my work is an extension of who I am, and I love to serve others. Ironically, guess who’s the best online content creators online—the ones who serve well.
My business as an online strategist and certified copywriter is a ministry. I help online startups who struggle to create a business that has mission clarity, monetary value, and the edge to rise above the noise.
Here’s an incredible reality. There’s a movement of emerging online leaders that are Kingdom-minded entrepreneurs. I truly believe we are part of a global plan.
Wherever God has planted you, you can develop daily resilience. You can become a resilient creator by creatively leveraging your gifts.
“Resilient Creator” is the sequel to my previous blog, “Find Your Brave.” I hope you’ll join me on this resilient journey as we build an online presence.