Recently our workplace took part in an afternoon workshop on resilience.
I had always thought of resilience as an internal strength, but it is much more than that. According to the dictionary, resilience also involves buoyancy and flexibility.
What struck me is that all these qualities have one thing in common—they are positive attributes, and there is always something about positive people that cheers others up.
Think about it. When you meet up with a friend for coffee, do you feel differently if that friend always sees that the glass is half empty, rather than if they see life as a half full glass?
As true friends we will always be supportive and help those who are struggling with genuinely difficult issues. But even the best friendships can find it hard to withstand constant negativity from the friend whose glass is always half empty.
If we want to bring a positive outlook to those around us, we need to start with ourselves.
Our resilience workshop asked us to do a gratitude exercise, which involved writing down three blessings that had happened to us recently.
It’s amazing how you can find those three blessings if you put your mind to it. I immediately thought of my son’s beautiful singing in a recent rehearsal for a recital, a lovely lunch with good friends looking out at the water on a sunny day, and then the more prosaic blessing that the Warcry feature I had been working hard on was now finished.
Three very different blessings, but they combined to make me realise how blessed my life is, despite the difficulties and uncertainties that we all face.
It’s always easier to have a good moan about what isn’t going right in our lives, but most of the time we can also find those three blessings, even if they are small ones, to lighten our load.
I love a wonderfully positive image from the Bible, in the book of Genesis, that describes how the Lord God walked in the garden in the cool of the evening. On a hot Australian day, a cool garden in the evening is balm to our soul, so I can just imagine how God must have felt.
As you might imagine, the Bible is pretty big on the importance of blessings. A simple but profound reference to blessings is found in the Psalms: “Our Lord and our God, you give these blessings to all who worship you” (Psalm 144:15).
The New Testament is no slouch when it comes to the subject of blessings, as the apostle Paul was keen to point out to the early Christians in Rome.
“I want to see you and share with you the same blessings that God’s Spirit has given me. Then you will grow stronger in your faith” (Romans chapter 1, verse 11).
“Count your blessings” may be a commonplace phrase in the English language, but it’s an important one if we are to enjoy happy and fulfilling lives.