Resilient was written during, and partially in response to, some of the tensest and most difficult hours of the COVID-19 pandemic. John Eldredge has been a Christian counselor for several decades and has written many books that help Christians put their physical, emotional, and spiritual lives in perspective.
Resilient is no different. It is a powerful reminder that we do not fight against flesh and blood, and that those who have made Christ the ruler of their lives contain deep within them God’s power to survive even the most challenging of times.
This book begins by examining how our current Comfort Culture has impacted our response to the apocolyptic events of COVID. It then relates current events to the common desire to return to a life that is good and filled with abundance. Several recommendations are made on how we can recenter our lives on God, and explores the deep well of power within us that provides the fuel needed to survive.
My first exposure to John Eldredge’s writings, back in approximately 2006, were his books Wild at Heart and Epic. These books both spoke to me in a way that I really needed at that time in my life, and it’s thanks to my best friend, Danny, for introducing me to this author. I’ll need to write separate posts for each of those books sometime, because I really want you to read them, and they both deserve their own, focused post.
I found Resilient as I was shopping at Sam’s Club earlier this year. It’s beautiful cover caught my eye, and as soon as I saw that it was written by Eldredge, I knew that I needed to read it.
Let’s face it, I’ve been feeling worn out the past few years. I do want to fully admit to you that COVID did not impact me as negatively as it did for millions (billions?) around the globe, but it has contributed to the emotional toll that has been taken from my life. For those of you that know me well, you know that for the past decade my wife has been suffering from chronic migraines. Those of you who have had to deal with migraines know the toll this takes you and your loved ones. It is a condition that no one can see – they can’t look at you say, “Oh, you must deal with migraines.” It’s a hidden, dare I say, disease, that is poorly understood within the medical community and almost completely dismissed within society as being something that is only experienced by overly dramatic people.
My wife was experiencing 20+ migraine days each month before she was finally able to talk her doctor into sending her to a neurological specialist. We began the experimentation process – trying different migraine medications to see what would help. Each medication was tried for about 6 months and then the dosages adjusted and used and again for another six months. This process continued for several years. Finally, her migraine days had been cut nearly in half. It’s progress, but it’s not victory. She still can’t live a normal life. She can’t be a fully-engaged mother to our children. The migraines may be fewer, but the medications have side effects – some of which are nearly as bad, if not worse than migraines.
Needless to say, the last decade has been difficult. The pandemic, and the difficulties that came along with it, have just been the latest in a series of challenges. So, when I say I’m feeling worn out, it’s due to circumstances that have been up over the past 10 years, not just the last two or three. Obviously, I’m not the one in physical pain, but I do experience sympathetic depression. I do what I can to support my wife and children, especially when my wife is out of commission with a multi-day migraine, but it requires a great deal of emotional energy.
That’s why Reslient resonated with me. It gave me hope that there is a way to find rest and peace during difficult times, and that it is possible to recharge.
“We tap into our deep reserves to endure years of suffering and deprivation. Then one day our heart simply says, I don’t care anymore; I’m done. We abandon the fight and go off to find relief.”― John Eldredge, Resilient, p.6
…and that’s why I read this book. I was looking for guidance so that this doesn’t happen to me.
“Our longing for life to be good again will be the battleground for our heart. How you shepherd this precious longing, and if you shepherd it at all, will determine your fate in this life and in the life to come.”― John Eldredge, Resilient, p.12
The longing for life to be good again… these are thoughts that are nearly always on my mind. “If only this would end.””It’s going to take a miracle for her pain to be healed.” “I can’t take this anymore.” It would be easy to be defeated – to throw in the towel and say, “I’m done. I give up.” This is the battleground John is talking about. The way in which I choose to respond to these questions and feelings will shape not only my life, but those of my entire family for the rest of our lives.
“Endurance–the dividing line between those who make it through any sort of trial and those who don’t.” … “The beautiful resilience Jesus offers us comes from his resources; endurance is imparted to us.”― John Eldredge, Resilient, p.56
I’m reminded here what I’ve known in the back of my mind for many years – I can’t do this alone. I don’t have the strength make it through this trial. Without drawing on the strength offered to me by Jesus, these difficulties will consume me.
“The survivor understands that their present situation is something that they are moving through, passing through. They are enduring with resilience, which is why Jesus encourages endurance. This is not my lasting reality, this is simply my present reality.”― John Eldredge, Resilient, p.125
Part of what I need to change is my perspective. It’s hard though. When your present reality has lasted a decade, it’s difficult not to think of it as your lasting reality.
“It’s important we remember that the strength that prevails is a strength given to us by God. This is not something we conjure up. It’s not gritting our teeth and doubling down.”― John Eldredge, Resilient, p.132
The strength we need is supernatural and comes from God.
There is so much more that could be said. Clearly, I’ve only shared a small portion of our story with you. Could it be worse for us? Yes, of course it could. I work hard to recognize the blessings we have in our lives, but that too takes effort. I am so glad that I read this book and armed myself with strategies for focusing on what is really important and finding rest and peace.
My friends, Resilient is a must-read!
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It’s February, the month of LOVE…
Let’s make this month all about love. I’ll keep sharing books, movies, TV shows (and more) that I love, but I’d also love to hear from you. Drop a comment below to tell me what books, movies, and TV shows you love.
The Nutcracker Trilogy
I will continue to shamelessly promote these books because I’m so excited about being a small part of Drosselmeyer’s journey. If you’re new here, let me encourage you to check out The Nutcracker Trilogy by Paul Thompson. All three books are available in print and as e-books. Books one and two are available as audiobooks, narrated by yours truly. Click the links below to explore.
Oh, and it doesn’t have to be Christmas for you to enjoy these stories (just like it doesn’t have to be Christmas to enjoy Harry Potter).