Chapter 5 of the book I
wrote (undergoing revisions) “WAVE Your Way!”- Keys To Success
How Jesus’ example can inspire you to live a resilient life
Since it’s Holy week (in Christian communities), I thought of sharing this because our thought pattern affects behavior and behavior determines results
Observing lent is about learning the pattern set by Jesus so the rest of us can also achieve happiness and mental health. In this article, I will share how Jesus’ purpose, focus, courage, and sacrifice can help us overcome challenges and live a resilient life.
When I was a kid (circa 70s-80s), I disliked lent because radio and TV were off the air (no cable TV or Netflix then) and food was limited to vegan and (dried) fish.
Likewise, it created an impression in my noob mind that during this week, (1) people must be sad (2) staying indoors is a must, especially from Friday 3 PM to Saturday because the grannies said God is “dead” and the risk for an accident is high, and (3) people need to act holy (anyway, I thought people got the rest of the year to live like the devil).
I asked myself then, ‘why God has to die every year?’ As a child, I looked forward to resurrection Sunday because life returns to normal. As I age, I realize that Lent is about what JESUS did for us to have a better life on earth, while heaven bound.
Unfortunately, tradition and to some extent, religion, blurred these truths.
4 lessons from Jesus to help us achieve our goals and gain mental resilience
Step 1: Know your purpose.
The first step to achieve happiness is to know your purpose. You can’t measure success unless you know this. Jesus knew his purpose from a young age. When he was 12 years old, he stayed behind in the temple to learn from the teachers. He told his parents, “Did you not know that I must be about my Father’s business?” (Luke 2:49).
Knowing your purpose gives you direction, motivation, and meaning in life. It helps you to align your actions with your values and vision. To discover your purpose, you need to connect with God and ask him to reveal his plan for your life. You also need to explore your passions, talents, and gifts that God has given you.
Step 2: Be Focused.
The second step to achieve mental resilience is to be focused. Jesus was focused on his mission of bringing salvation to the world. He did not let distractions or temptations derail him from his goal. He said, “I must work the works of him who sent me while it is day; the night is coming when no one can work.” (John 9:4).
Being focused means having a clear and specific goal and sticking to it. It means avoiding distractions and procrastination that can waste your time and energy. It also means resisting temptations and pressures that can lead you astray from your purpose. Take for example this temptation that could have derailed Jesus primary objective:
JESUS is both God and King. In the distant future, after the 2nd coming, he will be the political ruler of Israel (and the world). But his 1st coming is meant to bring salvation first to the Jews, then to the non-Jews. So when the Jewish crowd experienced free food in two large gatherings, they attempted to make JESUS their political leader. But JESUS withdrew (John 6:15).
Step 3: Face your fear.
The third step to achieve mental health is to face your fear. Jesus faced his fear of suffering and death when he prayed in the garden of Gethsemane. He said, “Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will.” (Matthew 26:39). He was so afraid that his sweat became like drops of blood (Luke 22:44).
Facing your fear means acknowledging and confronting the things that scare you or hold you back. It means stepping out of your comfort zone and taking risks. It also means trusting God and his power to help you overcome your fear. To face your fear, you need to identify the root cause of your fear and challenge the negative thoughts that fuel it. You also need to take small steps towards overcoming your fear and celebrate your progress.
Step 4: Accept the cross
The fourth step to achieve fulfillment is to accept the cross.
In JESUS case, the cross meant death because he needed to lay down his life for the forgiveness of our sins and redemption from the curses that go with sin, which include poverty and sickness. He said, “Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends.” (John 15:13). He gave up his life so that we can have a “new beginning”, and such an act is very fulfilling to God.
In our case, the cross meant accepting what JESUS did, and making an informed choice to place JESUS in the driver’s seat of our life.
For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope” – Jeremiah 29:11
By accepting JESUS and the CROSS, we are giving up an old life for a new one. Not perfect or error free, but a better one.
Let me close this article with this story (author unknown), scientists at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute did the following study:
It’s a widely known fact that Barracudas love to eat mullet. Scientists put a barracuda into an aquarium, added a glass partition in the middle, and then put a mullet on the other side. Not believing his good luck the barracuda circled a few times, gathered up speed, and launched directly at his lunch – the poor unsuspecting mullet. Wham! Bam! Full throttle into the glass partition.
Unfazed at this, the barracuda did his preliminary circles and sped off again toward the mullet. Again, Wham! Bang! Into the glass partition. Again and again and again he tried. Some weeks later, the scientists noticed the barracuda quit trying to eat the mullet, so they removed the glass partition. Amazingly, the barracuda remained on his side of the aquarium, silently swimming in circles.
In fact, the hapless barracuda slowly died of starvation while the lucky mullet swam about in safety just a few inches away!
Many of us are like that barracuda – hurt, bruised, and wounded from many previous collisions in life. We’ve given up, and were just run in circles, unaware of our purpose or have given up on our dream.
When all the while, the invisible partition that caused the bruises, pain and losses in our life has been removed by JESUS thru the CROSS. And on the other side, a blessing is waiting to be claimed– a job offer, a new relationship to pursue, an education to attain or wealth to create.
God has done good things, and will continue to do amazing things because of the CROSS. Let’s observe the holy week with thanksgiving, find time to rediscover our destiny and recalibrate our action plans