These words greeted me as I entered the room: “Rodney! You are late!” Usually, this would be embarrassing. Instead, those were the best words I heard all day. I had been invited to attend the 2013 General Conference Health Expo in Papua New Guinea. There, I met Peter Landless, the General Conference Health Director. After a brief acquaintance, he invited me to attend his lecture on building resilience that afternoon, and this experience happened during the lecture. I was surprised and pleased that he had remembered my name.
Knowing Their Name
Knowing and calling others by their name is one easy way to improve self-worth and build resilience in those we lead. Almost all people adore their name because it is their symbol of identity. God called patriarchs and prophets by their names, showing them during their adversity that He values them as special people. For instance, God called Abraham’s name twice when he was about to kill his son (Genesis 22:11-13), called Jacob’s name twice while assuring him that he would see his son Joseph before his death (Genesis 46:1-4), and called Moses’s name twice to make him the leader of his people (Exodus 3:1-10). This way of developing resilience is still available today for leaders. How many of us take time to know the names of those we lead and address them accordingly?
Show Love in Words and Actions
Kind words and actions are another way to develop resilience in others. Being kind to others is part of our mission as leaders. As Ellen White says, “I should not want to live unless I could live to do some good to others.” When Elijah struggled with discouragement, anxiety, and depression, God showed concern and kindness by feeding Elijah twice before asking about his situation (1 Kings 19:4-10). We have opportunities to connect with those we lead when they suffer through difficult times, and the recent COVID-19 pandemic has left many people struggling, with lives disrupted and family members lost. As leaders, how have we built resilience by showing love and care to those who have experienced loss and disruption?
Anchored in Jesus
As we strive to build resilience in those we lead, we must stay connected with Jesus. Back in my village, we have a tree we call ‘Turave.’ This tree grows in the middle of fast-flowing rivers and has survived numerous floods by striking its roots into rocks in the middle of the river. The Turave tree is nothing compared to the ferocious floods, but the floods are nothing compared to the enormous rocks the Turave clings to. Building resilience in others can become about self-righteousness if we are not attached to God. God invites leaders to abide in him so that His Holy Spirit can strengthen them to live the life they profess as they build resilience in others.