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Resilience in lockdown

Debbie Hawker, co-author of BRF’s Resilience in Life and Faith: Finding your strength in God, writes about how to strengthen our resilience in lockdown.

How to strengthen our resilience in lockdown

When Resilience in Life and Faith was published last year, the blurb on the back cover indicated that this book would ‘encourage us to develop our resilience and to prepare ourselves for the challenges that life throws at us in an increasingly difficult world’.

Little did we know of the challenges which would present themselves in 2020.

‘I have been encouraged by people who have told me how the book is helping them during this crisis’

Preparing for the challenges life throws at us

After the floods at the start of the year came Covid-19. Lockdown, loss of income and home-schooling have become part of life for many of us. Some people have been told not to go out at all.

Many have been ill, and many have been bereaved. Weddings have been postponed, and funerals limited to a minimal number of mourners. NHS workers, care-home staff and other key workers perform difficult and sometimes life-threatening jobs.

Can anything from our book on resilience help at a time like this? I have been encouraged by people who have told me how the book is helping them during this crisis.

I have found three aspects especially helpful during the crisis: gratitude, creativity and spiritual disciplines.

‘Realising how much I have to be thankful for helps me through each day’


Realising how much I have to be thankful for helps me through each day. We have a garden to sit in. We have enjoyed some lovely weather. Despite my speaking engagements and face-to-face work being cancelled, there is plenty to do and we are not bored. We have enough food. We have got to know neighbours better as we have clapped, sung and played instruments in the street. We have access to the internet and can join online church services. We have books to read. We are thankful.

‘Creativity comes in many forms’


In Resilience in Life and Faith, we mention Joseph’s creative dreams, and researchers are reporting that many people are describing creative lockdown dreams. Judging by the lack of flour and yeast in the shops, many people are also creatively baking the lockdown away. I just managed to burn something which I was meant to be warming up for one minute in the microwave, so I had better stay away from any baking.

No, my venture into creativity has come with trying to help my son cope with some of the frustrations of the lockdown. For example, his birthday party had to be cancelled, and presents which had been ordered by post did not arrive for weeks. He had especially been looking forward to a DVD.

‘Just think about the stories you will tell your grandchildren,’ I said, to try to cheer him up. Together, we concocted the tale of the time the prime minister came round in a bus and personally locked us into our house. The birthday DVD was misdirected and sent to the moon and back, arriving on his 30th birthday. By then the only DVD player in the country was in a museum, so he hid in the museum at night to watch it, and… the story went on until we were crying with laughter instead of with sorrow.

Creativity comes in many forms, and it can indeed help.

‘We can often see how God has shaped things for our good’

Spiritual disciplines

Here I have been greatly helped by my co-author, Tony Horsfall. In Resilience in Life and Faith, we briefly mentioned the story of Ruth. During the lockdown, Tony has been writing daily blogs going deeper into the story of Ruth. He is in the unusual position of spending this lockdown in a care home, not because he needs it, but to be with his wife (as visitors are not currently allowed, but residents can be together).

His experience of leaving home to accompany the person he loves to a ‘foreign place’, depending on the kindness of strangers, has brought the story of Ruth to life.

The story of Ruth

The story of Ruth, like the story of Joseph, teaches us about God’s providence. In Resilience in Life and Faith, Tony writes:

Providence is the belief that God is guiding human affairs, both good and bad, to bring about his ultimate good purposes. We may not always understand what he is doing at the time, but eventually we can often see how God has shaped things for our good. Providence is best seen with hindsight, and requires the eye of faith – it is a way of interpreting the events of our lives, the ups and the downs. (p. 97)

I am thankful that we worship a good and creative God, who brings good out of difficulties. I pray that you will know God’s strength at this time.

Photo of Bingley Boxing Day floods by Chris Gallagher on Unsplash

Shelter: Reflections on Ruth

Tony’s friend, David Tanner, writes in his introduction to Shelter:

Shortly before the lockdown began, my good friend Tony Horsfall took the decision to accompany his wife Evelyn into a care home in Barnsley not far from where they live. Evelyn is in the later stages of terminal cancer and could no longer be cared for at home. After a brief spell in a hospice she was transferred to the care home and Tony also decided to leave his home and become a resident there. During the time since then Tony has been regularly posting on Facebook about his experiences in the care home and how God has been faithfully meeting their needs. Over a period of 15 days Tony has posted these reflections on the Old Testament book of Ruth.

Resilience in Life and Faith cover

Resilience in Life and Faith

Discover effective ministry through faith-filled resilience

Tony Horsfall and Debbie Hawker encourage us to develop our resilience and to prepare ourselves for the challenges that life throws at us in an increasingly difficult world.

Debbie Hawker

Dr Debbie Hawker is a psychologist based in Nottingham with a global reputation as a specialist in debriefing and trauma counselling.

Tony Horsfall

Tony Horsfall is a retreat leader and author based in Yorkshire. He is actively involved in his local church and tries to keep active by playing walking football and spending time with his grandchildren. He has written a number of books for BRF and is a regular contributor to our Bible reading notes, including New Daylight and Bible Reflections for Older People.