In the frozen, frigid Texas storm of 2021, did your resilience waver like mine?
Despite not being a native, I’ve learned to appreciate phrases like Texas tough and Houston strong. We’ve seen our share of disaster and pulled through time and again, but willpower can only get us so far. The stories are both tragic and heart-warming. People braved tremendous loss and came together to rescue and restore.
I succumbed to these daunting forces this week. Fear shrouded me in anxiety, sadness sneaking in and souring my newly found fortitude, leaving me overwhelmed. Family and friends dealt with power and water loss in frigid temperatures, many stranded, and thousands of frozen pipes thawed, spewing water until ceilings caved in.
When it hits close to home, reality appears bleak at best. Why did I waver so acutely? As I talked with my friend Jesus and searched my own heart, arrows emerged pointing to my own sin.
- Resentment over unresolved family issues
- Pride in putting my needs above others
- Fear for the future
- Worry regarding displaced family
- Desire to control circumstances
A fresh wind from the Spirit blew over my heart, revealing sin and its destructive forces.
“These desires give birth to sinful actions. And when sin is allowed to grow, it gives birth to death,” James 1:15.
My sin brings pain and loss to myself and others. Why do I so poorly tend my heart, knowing these disastrous effects? It comes down to one neglected action:
When at home, we feel most secure, protected and peaceful. This same truth applies to our Savior. When we’re with Jesus, we experience all the benefits of His presence—
A well-tended, resilient heart, then, is an abiding heart.
Abiders are those with some soul-cushion, or resilience.
When we rest in His presence, His plans, His provision, we more peacefully weather the wintery storms of life.
Do we still worry, stress, despair? Yes! But with less frequency, intensity and duration. These, my counselor wisely informed me, are the true signs of transformation and resilience. Wielding neither perfection or sheer willpower, we become increasingly resilient.
- get less intensely angry less often over time.
- imperfectly love others.
- talk more often to Jesus before we pick up the phone.
- incrementally spend more time with Jesus.
- are gentler and kinder in our self-talk.
- understand and forgive more readily versus judging and begrudging.
- return again to the safety of Jesus’ presence when worried or anxious.
These are hallmarks of the well-tended heart—not faultlessly or consistently, but earnestly.
Our daughter and son-in-law returned to their Dallas home. It was in complete dishevelment; all food—spoiled; the furniture—mostly destroyed.
My daughter wisely surmised, “If it was just teaching through a Pandemic, or losing a job in a Pandemic, or getting through a winter storm without a home, or working to resolve family struggles this past year—but how do we deal with all of it at once?”
How do you, dear one? Does it feel like the pipes of your life have burst and the ceiling is caving in?
There is a Savior who longs to take each burden and exchange it for His perfect peace, which is beyond understanding, complete and profound. (Phil.4:7)
He does have answers, plans and provisions for us. It may not be what we want or expect, but it’s what we need. But we must first come, ask and stay. We may stumble into our old patterns and habits as I did this week, but we can find our way back to His side—warm, safe and comforted.
This week, as we struggle to get back to normal, which isn’t even yet “normal,” seek, pursue, claw if you have to, but get to His side where you can be nourished, refreshed, encouraged and equipped to just do your next right thing in love.
“Abiding isn’t fixing our attention on Christ, but it is being one with Him,” Hudson Taylor.