Elder Timothy J. Dyches, General Authority Seventy, spoke on how to develop spiritual resilience during a BYU-Idaho devotional held in the BYU-Idaho Center in Rexburg, Idaho, on May 8.
"Resilience is a process of adapting and recovering in the face of adveristy, bouncing back from difficult experiences," he said.
While every person's future and journey through life will be different, every path through mortality has hazards, risks and perils. "If you have faith in Christ, as you experience life's setbacks you can recover; as conditions change around you, you can adapt; and when adversity and discouragement are present, you can persevere and triumph, for He has said, 'Therefore ... fear not, little flock ... doubt not, fear not'" (Doctrine and Covenants 6:34, 36).
However, many people have found themselves off-center and lacking resiliency. All it takes is complacency, worldly distractions, immorality, the philosophies of men and other pressures from the adversary. They find themselves less able to weather life's storms.
On the other hand, those who are tenacious and resilient have hope, are obedient, attend the temple and worthily partake of the sacrament.
"Hope is a gift from God to those who seek Him and love Him," Elder Dyches said. "The brightness of hope brings a zest for life, a looking forward to what yet may be."
Spiritual courage and willpower are grounded in the obedient. "We express our love to God by obedience to His commandments."
When one experiences pain, suffering, the loss of a loved one or disappointment, the temple can provide comfort and peace and restores spiritual resilience. Renewing covenants by taking the sacrament also boosts resilience as those who do are "filled with hope and joy as we worthily participate in the sacrament," Elder Dyches said.
One of the most successful airplanes produced during World War II was the Grumman Hellcat, which shot down 19 enemy planes for each Hellcat lost. "The key to success was Leo Grumman's motto," Elder Dyches said. "'Keep it simple, build it strong, make it work.'"
This same motto can be a guideline for those wishing to develop their own resiliency in all areas of their lives. Elder Dyches posed these questions: "What can I do to simplify my life? What can I do daily now to strengthen my faith and trust in God?"
He gave five suggestions to develop spiritual resilience.
First, "Develop a core set of foundational doctrines and principles as your personal code of conduct that nothing can shake or replace. This is your testimony." This is developed through consistent study of the scriptures and the teachings of living prophets and apostles.
Second, learn how to adapt and cope with changes. In nature, the species that survive challenges is not the strongest or smartest, but the one that is best able to adapt and adjust to a changing environment.
Third, "Never lose sight of your purpose on earth and your divine destiny."
Fourth, find an exercise regimen. Scientists have found that working muscles helps improve the brain's thinking processes, which increases resilience.
Fifth, choose happiness. Elder Dyches said, "To me, there is nothing more important and life altering than to develop a positive outlook in your life."
In a Christ-centered life, doubt and fear are not an option. "Trust God and believe in good things to come."