June 21, 2024
Resilience, Character, Hardship

Suffering: God’s method of developing resilience

This entry is part 4 of 7 in the series Missionary resilience For several months now, I have been thinking about this topic of resilience in cross-cultural workers. I admit that I have been somewhat troubled by what the Scriptures tell me about God’s method of using suffering to develop resilience. As I have said in previous posts on this topic, the Scriptures do not use the word “resilience”. But the word “perseverance”1 in the Greek, “hupomone” is found repeatedly in Holy Writ. It seems to capture the idea of resilience. So what do I find troubling in Scripture? In my thinking, the logical way to strengthen a missionary’s resilience is to: provide them with good training to prepare them for hard timesensure that they have excellent member care when they go through hard times. From a human perspective, I struggle to see how suffering in any way contributes to… Read the whole post
Stress Management, Training

Stress: Too Much and Too Little – Part Two

In a previous post, I talked about the importance of maintaining margin.    Too much stress for too long a period is unhelpful and destructive. But as I also demonstrated from the life of Paul, we must not avoid all stress at all costs.   I am afraid that far too often I have said “no” to an opportunity simply because it would have stretched me beyond my comfort zone.   But I need to be stretched if I am to grow. I see many parallels to physical training.   When I started running (again) in 2009 after knee surgery, I was not able to run more than a kilometer before being totally exhausted.  Over the period of a couple of months, I was able to extend that to almost 5 km, a distance with which I was quite satisfied.   After all, I was not a serious runner, and already in my late 40’s,… Read the whole post
Training, Growth Plans

Crucibles Develop Our Capacity

These days, I am following a training plan to prepare for a half marathon that I would like to run in September.  The training plan is progressive.  You start with running 4.8 km, then after a few weeks, you move up to 6.4 km.  When running 6.4 km is no longer a big challenge, then the training plan asks you to run 8 km.   A few weeks later, when 8 km becomes relatively easy, then you are asked to run 10 km, and so on. There are no shortcuts. This is a 20-week plan and slowly builds capacity up to 21.1 km as you faithfully follow the plan.   Other training plans for half marathons may be shorter, but they all follow the same principle. You run longer and longer distances as your capacity increases over time. I have also been reading the book of James these days and reflecting on… Read the whole post
Training, Teaming

Training to Increase Capacity

Earlier in the year, we featured a number of posts by Philip Jackson, a colleague of mine from Macedonia, on the parallels between running a marathon and the Christian life.   In that same vein, I would like to reflect on my own recent experience of training for a half marathon. This has been a huge learning experience for me. I have never been an athlete or competed in any individual athletic competitions since I was required to participate in kids races at Sunday school picnics in my childhood. I jogged in college and in the first years in the Philippines but never ran a single kilometer all those years in Far East Russia. Then about the time that we began serving with SEND U, I started again, simply for the sake of getting some exercise, running 5 km three times a week. That was hard enough, and even last summer,… Read the whole post
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