Straight from a Resilient Heart
By Lisa Elliott
Do you remember a children’s toy called, “Weebles?” In case I’ve outdated you, they were a little egg-shaped, bottom-heavy community of people and animals. The advertisement jingle was “Weebles wobble but they don’t fall down”. And that was the truth! You could knock them, roll them, step on them, throw them, or drop them on their heads. But no matter how they landed, they came up standing. Or should I say, wobbling? Weebles are what I think of when I think of what it is to be resilient.
Resilience is the ability to become strong, healthy, or successful again after something bad happens; the ability to return to an original shape after being pulled, stretched, pressed, bent, etc.
I’ve had my fair share of weeble training; times in my life when my heart gets dizzy from all the wobbling. And my guess is that you have too.
The eleventh chapter of Hebrews is full of weebles like you and me. “Some faced jeers and flogging, and even chains and imprisonment. They were put to death by stoning; they were sawed in two; they were killed by the sword. They went about in sheepskins and goatskins, destitute, persecuted and mistreated… They wandered in deserts and mountains, living in caves and in holes in the ground.” (Hebrews 11:36-38) So how did they do it? More personally, how do you and I do it?
How do we come up still standing when life throws us punches? How do we bounce back? How do we keep on keeping on? How do we maintain momentum and stamina? How do we persevere? How do we run without growing weary or walk without fainting? How do we wobble without falling down? Hebrews 12:1-3 provides us with a great guideline:
1. Foster meaningful relationships: “Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us”. Although the author of Hebrews is referring to those who have died and gone before us, God has also surrounded us with some great cheerleaders here on earth. It’s important to realize that He created us for relationship. Not only does He invite us into relationship with Him, but with others in order to teach us what a relationship with Him looks like. It’s simply up to us to foster those relationships. Therefore, surround yourself with people who encourage and energize you. People who inspire you, believe in you, invest in you and bring out the best in you. People who affirm God’s calling in your life. And people you can do the same for. Two are better than one…If either of them falls down, one can help the other up (Ecclesiastes 4:9-10). Let’s face it, we weebles need each other!
2. Remove distractions: “let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us”. Life is full of distractions, demands, deadlines, devices, discontentment, detours, and at times even self-imposed drama that make even the best of us weebles dizzy. It doesn’t help that we live in an ADD society that keeps us seeking out the next quick fix of adrenalin and excitement. All the more reason to keep the plain things the main things. Set healthy boundaries. And most importantly, determine to please an audience of One. I can feel my dizziness subsiding at the thought of it!
3. Focus on your goal: “fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith”. If you aim at nothing, you’ll hit it every time. Guaranteed! Therefore, you can’t simply choose NOT to look at or think about something, rather you have to choose to look at or think about something else! The people listed in Hebrews 11 were able to endure many hardships because they realized that “God had planned something better” (Hebrews 11:40) and they had their sights set on that! “Seek first His kingdom” (Matthew 6:34). Give the Lord your undivided attention by spending time alone with Him, reading His Word, and prayerfully living out your life. When you do, all of these things will be given to you: perspective, tranquility, hope, peace, purpose, and a goal to aim toward.
4. Look beyond your troubles: “who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God”. Note that Jesus was able to “sit down”. That tells me that His heart was at rest, even as He endured the cross. How? Because He set joy before Him. That is, He looked beyond the cross to His ultimate purpose—eternity with you and me! And He has also set eternity in our hearts (Ecclesiastes 3:11). That should give us a sense of hope and purpose. We needn’t live in crisis mode to find a sense of purpose. Nor should we feel guilty about simply enjoying life. God gave us every good gift to enjoy here on earth! (1 Timothy 6:17) So be good to yourself. By that I mean, take care of yourself. Rest when you need to. Dream a little. Be adventurous. Maintain an attitude of praise and thanksgiving. Celebrate the process. Take the pressure off. Pace yourself. Do something just for the fun of it! Our hearts can be at rest knowing that we have something to look forward to. The best is yet to come!
5. Take time to consider: For consider Him who has endured such hostility by sinners against Himself, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. When was the last time that you stopped to consider all that Jesus did for you and offers you today? Do you not know? Have you not heard? The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom. He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint (Isaiah 40:28-31).
Remember… weebles wobble but they don’t fall down!
We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed (2 Corinthians 4:8).
About this Contributor:
Lisa Elliott is an inspirational speaker and award-winning author of The Ben Ripple and Dancing in the Rain. Additionally, she has written articles for Just Between Us Magazine and devotionals for theStory. She and her pastor-husband, David, have four children (3 on earth, 1 in heaven) and serve the Lord together in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.
To book Lisa for a weekend retreat or day conference contact her at: firstname.lastname@example.org