Developing Spiritual Resilience

A farmer hired a man to chop down some trees on his property.

On the first day, the woodchopper chopped down five trees, and the farmer was pleased. The next day, the woodchopper chopped only four trees. And the following day, just three trees were chopped down.

The farmer approached the woodchopper and said, “The first day you chopped five trees, now you are only chopping three. What has happened?”

The woodchopper replied, “I could still chop down five trees a day, but my ax has become dull, and I’m so busy that I don’t have time to sharpen it.”

How are you keeping your ax sharp? It is easy during these days of the pandemic to get distracted; in fact, one of the results of being in lockdown is a distracted mind that had trouble focusing on the task at hand. So, if this is happening to you, you are not alone.

Without maintaining our spirituality and keeping it healthy, we risk compromising our performance and well-being. Just as the woodchopper needed time to maintain his tools to keep his production up, we need to make time to tend to our spirituality and work at it to keep it resilient.

As part of the United States Army, “Total Force Readiness Plan,” teaching spiritual resiliency is an essential part of overall soldier health. As part of the plan, these activities, if practiced regularly, can help develop and strengthen your spiritual resilience.

Establish a regular time for meditation, reflection, or prayer. I heard that while we are under the lockdown, keep to a schedule is essential. So, try, as best as you can, to maintain a schedule as if you were going about a typical day, and that should include a scheduled time for prayer and meditation.

Find a quiet, peaceful place for your prayer or meditation. I am not sure how easy this one will be but, now that the weather is getting better, perhaps a place in your garden or maybe you have a quiet room in your home. If you live with others, let them know of your scheduled time and ask them not to interrupt you if possible.

Perhaps you find yourself with more time on your hands, so this might be an excellent time to develop a habit of reading. Reading anything is good, stay about from the news for a while, but focus on some sound spiritual reading or try reading a few verses a day from Scripture. It is not about the amount that you might read; it is about the quality of what you read.

Focus on your relationships with family and friends, and do not forget God. Reach out to folks that you have not spoken with in a while, email is ok, but an actual phone call might be better. Maybe you can set up a family Zoom time or something similar. Do not forget about God. Perhaps you and God have not spoken in some time, and that is fine, God understands. Reach out and re-establish a connection.

Find happiness in everyday occurrences and be thankful. In other words, stop and smell the roses. I know it can be depressing to not come into physical contact with people, but there is still a lot to be thankful for. Try and focus on those positive things happening right now in the world.

Write in a journal about your daily life, your feelings, and your thoughts. Historians have been urging people to write about their experiences during this pandemic, so generations from now people will be able to look back on how we survived. But writing also helps you transfer your thoughts and helps you to release those thoughts. If you are new to journaling, it might take some time to get used to doing it.

The goal of all of this is to help us get through difficult times. Although I mentioned limiting the use of the internet, there are some tremendous resources available for bible study as well as yoga and other meditative practices. Take some time each day to keep your ax sharp, and you will be able to keep cutting down those trees.