25 Sept 2022

Resilience of spirit is essential stresses Offaly influencer


Ronan Scully of Self Help Africa

After a reflective morning prayerful walk along the seashore earlier this week and seeing some beautiful ships and boats heading off into the attempted sunrise, I started to think about who is captain of my and your's heart and soul?

Spirituality can help you feel connected to something bigger than yourself and build resilience at the same time. Your spirituality can involve whatever beliefs and values give you and your life a sense of purpose. For many, it may be a relationship with God and certain religious practices and for others through a focus on family or helping a cause or nature.

However you express it, spirituality can promote healthy connections with others, healthy lifestyle choices and the strength to endure hard times. Whether expressed through prayer, meditation, or in other ways, being spiritual is important for building resilience and in giving you strength for the journey of life and can help make God 'captain of our heart and soul'.

Put the glass down

"A psychologist walked around a room while teaching stress management to an audience. As she raised a glass of water, everyone expected they'd be asked the "half empty or half full" question. Instead, with a smile on her face, she inquired: "How heavy is this glass of water?" Answers called out ranged from 8 oz. to 20 oz. She replied, "The absolute weight doesn't matter. It depends on how long I hold it. If I hold it for a minute, it's not a problem. If I hold it for an hour, I'll have an ache in my arm. If I hold it for a day, my arm will feel numb and paralyzed. In each case, the weight of the glass doesn't change, but the longer I hold it, the heavier it becomes."

She continued, "The stresses and worries in life are like that glass of water. Think about them for a while and nothing happens. Think about them a bit longer and they begin to hurt. And if you think about them all day long, you will feel paralyzed – incapable of doing anything." It’s important to remember to let go of your stresses. As early in the evening as you can, put all your burdens down. Don't carry them through the evening and into the night. Remember to put the glass down!"
At times in our life we can find ourselves mentally and physically stretched to the limit. We feel our life is like a tight ball of stress and worry. How can we go about regaining our true shape or true strength? For me being spiritually resilient is the answer. Being spiritually resilient gives me the capacity to be flexible, to say sorry, to forgive, to be adaptable and face up to the worries and stresses in my life.

Being a spiritual person has helped me to face and overcome problems with courage and determination, to say sorry when I am in the wrong of which I have been in the past few years and to forgive when someone is in need of forgiveness and it has given balance to my life. I’ve seen it help others, too.

My spirituality is the thing that gets me through tough times and what helps other people endure unbelievable suffering and live to tell the tale! It's what lifts people up. It's what makes us strive. It's the mysterious strength we all have - the ability to endure anything, dream anything and accomplish great things.

And we need that spirit now more than ever as we face many worries, stresses and unknowns in our future. I hope that we all in time, may find kindness and goodness in all that we do and receive. My wish and prayer for each other, especially for our children and youth is that our life becomes good and that we can cope with the challenges and obstacles we meet along the way of this journey called 'Life'. Resilience is about handling life challenges, big or small, challenges for instance in relations to other people, in managing difficult tasks, in the ability to stick to a set goal, to help and support and care for one another and to resist temptations that are of no good to you or anyone.

Essential Ingredient

To me, resilience of spirit is the essential ingredient of a full life. No matter how smart we are, we can allow sorrows and grievances to overwhelm us, or we can respond positively to setbacks, be they caused by our own misjudgments or by forces beyond our control. We can have faith that’s resilient and strong.  God provided some help for us in this area. Listen to the encouragement of Ephesians 6: 10-18. "Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 

Put on the full armour of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. 

Therefore put on the full armour of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.  Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace.  In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 

Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.  And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people."

Thought for the week

As a final thought, always remember that life is fragile and in the blink of an eye can change drastically. The resilience of our human spirit, however, is another matter. Resilience is that quality, that ability that enables some people to be knocked down by life and come back stronger than before. Rather than allowing crises or failure to drain their resolve, they tapped into a reservoir of determination and faith that allows them to rise up again stronger and more resolutely.

My prayer is that you will have that strength of resilience in your life when you most need it and that it will help you as it says in the following prayer that helps me with my living, "Dear Lord, scripture shows us that there will be tough times in life, and there may be some that we’re not sure we can survive.  But whether tragedy or temptation, you don’t leave us defenseless. T

hank you for the armour that unleashes your power so we can stand strong.  Help us to be able to recognize the unseen elements at work trying to confuse or deceive us.  Make us wise to the tricks of the enemy, trying to make us doubt your promises and distract our focus. Give us power to be alert and vigilant.  Help us to know what your word of truth says for us in every situation, that we might experience the peace you made possible for us.  May we always remember that picking up our shield is as simple as trusting in you and your words of promise.  And, may we store up those words in our heart so they will be available for us to quote, as we intercede for others and ourselves in times of need.  In Jesus name.  Amen.

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