Spiritual Resiliency

  • Published
  • By Chaplain (Lt. Col) David Berube
  • 102nd Intelligence Wing Chaplain
I have spent a lot of time in the last year or so thinking about spiritual resiliency and trying to avoid locking it into traditional, stereotypic definitions and configurations. Because the territory of spiritual resiliency covers all religions and non-religious moral and ethical beliefs, the definitions and configurations have to fit broadly enough to include everyone. Here's the current working definition of spiritual resiliency I'm using -

Spiritual resiliency is the ability to draw on inner strengths and resources as we face life's challenges.

Those inner strengths and resources can be based in traditional or non-traditional religion, organized groups or not, religious or non-religious moral and ethical beliefs or faith. These inner resources and strengths are the foundations we anchor into in all of our living and depend upon when life gets hard. You and I need to be confident our anchor is going to hold before we get hit by a storm. So, it's important each of us is comfortable with the stability of our foundation and the security of our connection to it.

A few years ago, author Brian McLaren wrote a book entitled, "Finding Faith: a Self-Discovery Guide for Your Spiritual Quest." In the early pages of the book he talks about "bad faith descriptors" and "good faith descriptors." What follows are seven points from his book about good faith. I think they can be helpful for each of us to use as we think about our spiritual resiliency:

1. Good faith is humble, teachable, and inquisitive - our spiritual quest is a learning experience

2. Good faith is grateful - knowing there is a foundation that will hold when I need it is a great benefit for which I can be thankful

3. Good faith is honest - confidence and doubt are both pieces of any quest and honestly admitting both helps us solidify our connection.

4. Good faith is communal - discussing my spirituality with others helps me move forward in my understanding, confidence, and connection.

5. Good faith is active - As we talked about in last month's training, spiritual resiliency develops and gets stronger as we exercise it.

6. Good faith is tough - I want a faith that will hold under all the stresses and strains of life.

7. Good faith is relational - For those whose spirituality acknowledges a supreme being, it is logical that we would have a relationship with the source of our chosen faith.

I encourage all of us to dedicate some time to looking at our personal spiritual resiliency. It will help us become and remain healthier, stronger people. Stronger people are better airmen, friends, and family members. That's a benefit to us, as support to those around us, and a force multiplier to the Air Force.