Resilience. It’s something we aren’t talking about right now. Maybe it’s because many of us are just waiting for the cloud to pass, thinking this is just an anomaly and we can resume normal life in a few weeks. Maybe some of us are stuck in denial because it is easier to hide under the pillows or deep in work and watch the weeks fly by than it is to come to terms with what is happening to our world.
The coronavirus will cause more than 2 million job losses and the UK economy to contract by at as much as 35%. It has already taken the lives of almost 150,000 people within the space of 2.5 months. It is not going away in the next three weeks, nor is the economy going to suddenly mend itself and everyone get their jobs back.
Before the coronavirus I had two jobs and now I am giving every effort to keep one alive. I have daily battles with negative thoughts, having to go into full fight mode to kick them down so that I can continue to stand up and face another day. The cloud of uncertainty is large and it is thunderous. But I choose daily to push through it. Why? Because there’s more to come.
Why wouldn’t there be more to come? Why wouldn’t our ravaging and abuse of the earth produce more natural disasters and worse pandemics? Why wouldn’t the advancement of tech and the abuse of power lead to greater inequality? Why wouldn’t it get harder and harder for young people to afford to get onto the property ladder? Why wouldn’t depression and suicide continue to rise? Why wouldn’t our children have to face the world we face today, on a regular basis and from a younger age? Give me a reason why and maybe I will put down my shield and sword and ‘wait this out’ with you instead.
I read an article that speaks directly at ‘motivated’ people, telling them to back down and stop making everyone feel like they need to do more during this time. It was claiming that everyone else is in survival mode and could hardly get through the daily slog of work, childcare, cooking and cleaning. But have you thought that perhaps’ survival mode’ is to your detriment? Have you thought that if you let this time pass and do not find a way to equip yourself to thrive despite the uncertainty, that you will ALWAYS be in survival mode, Covid-19 or not? And what if it gets worse? Where will you be?
It’s time we build up the courage to develop resilience and to teach our children to be resilient as well. It is the people who learn to navigate turbulent times and use those times to discover the potential hidden within them, who go on to impact their communities and sometimes the world.
I was listening to a podcast interview of the Founder of Birchbox speaking about her experience running the company which is now worth millions. She said that she has been through so many trials during the high-speed growth periods that nothing phases her anymore. It is possible, when we choose to build resilience, put our fears behind us and embrace and explore possibilities rather than focus on uncertainty, that we will develop the thick skins we need to face whatever comes our way.
Resilience, to me, has meant learning to really lean on God’s promises when I have little else to lean on and learning to enjoy His presence when I am struggling to enjoy life and be present in the midst of the daily routine.
Resilience has meant rebuking negative thoughts and refusing to believe that my future isn’t still full of purpose and potential.
Resilience has meant rebuilding my business brick by brick even when my customers are not responding, even when my marketing isn’t working, even when it looks like I will continue to face losses in the coming months.
Resilience has meant stepping away from toxic situations and focusing on fewer things, to ensure that I have the balance and tools I need for myself and the people around me.
Resilience has meant being present with my kids and journeying with them through this time, being vulnerable with them about my emotions and helping them to understand the virus and the difficulties people face as a result. It has given me an opportunity to talk to my son a lot about perseverance and not quitting when things get hard, about gratitude and grace, and about life in general — that it’s sometimes really hard, but we will get through it.
Resilience, mostly importantly, has meant gratitude. Because truly the only way we can be resilient to what we might face in the future is to learn how to be content in the present, with whatever we have, however little or much, however uncertain or secure.
We WILL face more difficult things in the future.
This is certain.
We can’t choose or control our future, as we’ve seen clearly with Covid-19. However, we can choose how we act in the face of uncertainty. We can choose how we look forward. We can choose where to place our hope. We can choose to be present and to be brave.
What will you choose?