By Rev. Rebekah Simon-Peter
1.How would you define resilience? Some psychologists define resilience as a lack of depression or lack of weakness during times of struggle. Do you agree or disagree and why?
I disagree. Rather than being the absence of weakness, I see resilience as the presence of both emotional and spiritual strength. A person is resilient when they are able to envision a future beyond their current circumstances. I see resilience as a positive quality that includes both imagination and tenacity.
2.What advice would you give to people who do not feel resilient right now because they are afraid, struggling, or angry?
Acknowledge that you are afraid, struggling or angry. Self-acceptance is the first step to building resilience. Next, begin to soothe yourself. I find that positive self-talk is a simple way to build an inner sense of well-being. The key to soothing yourself is to find the hidden blessings around you. And don’t forget to turn off the TV and put your phone down. Do things that don’t involve screens. In fact, I find that being out in nature soothes my spirit. When I’m having a hard time, I open up the front door and get outside. I find that going for a walk, gazing at trees, looking up at the stars at night—all of that really helps me. Being in nature keeps us in touch with the transcendent, the ineffable. Hey, even being around your houseplants, or petting your dog or cat can make a big difference. My dog, Beau, who is a puppy, is a wonderful source of laughter, and distraction.
3. Tell us a little bit about your work as a coach. What sort of coaching do you do and how did you get interested in that?
As a spiritual and leadership coach, I love empowering people to step into their greatness. I get jazzed by helping people identify and remove the obstacles that are in their way. It thrills me to see people realize they are capable of far more than they ever expected.
My interest in this comes from my own personal story. Thirty-one years ago, I was just beginning my journey out of addiction to food, drugs, and alcohol. I found spiritual recovery groups that reoriented my life. With the help of these groups I found that instead of turning to donuts, dope and booze to soothe myself, I started turning within to a power greater than myself. As part of that I had a profound, unexpected encounter with Jesus. I left the Orthodox Jewish community and became a United Methodist minister. I pastored churches for almost a dozen years before moving into leadership development. My personal journey showed me that the age of miracles is not over. My major life shifts have provided the basis for my teaching, coaching and consulting. I know without a shadow of a doubt that things can change, that God is real and that God is love. This deep knowledge informs everything I do.
People who want to recover from addiction can see from my life story that it is possible. People who want to deepen their spiritual journey and become someone or something new find that they can.
4. You are the author of DREAM LIKE JESUS: Deepen Your Faith and Bring the Impossible to Life. What is that about and what does that mean to Dream Like Jesus?
I learned the Lord’s Prayer when I was getting into recovery. But it wasn’t until I got into the church, a few years later, that I discovered the real power of that prayer. The Lord’s Prayer contains Jesus’ big dream for all of us: that earth would be a reflection of heaven. At the same time, I saw people’s hesitance to claim the great authority that Jesus granted them to live big lives. I wanted to shake that up and show people that God trusts them.
My book, “Dream Like Jesus: Deepen Your Faith and Bring the Impossible to Life” is an invitation to co-create miracles with God. It all starts by embracing God-sized dreams that compel you, inspire you and get you out of bed in the morning.
5. You are the creator of the award-winning program, Creating a Culture of Renewal,® and passionate about reconnecting spiritual leaders with the God-given powers to co-create miracles with the divine. How can non-spiritual leaders or ordinary folks co-create with the divine?
Yes, Creating a Culture of Renewal® is designed to empower faith-based leaders to bring new vibrancy and aliveness to their congregations and communities. These leaders expand their emotional intelligence, deepen their leadership smarts, and learn best practices for shifting cultures. All so that congregations can be agents of change and make a positive difference in their communities.
But this work isn’t limited to just official leaders. It’s for everyone. Let me share a four-part process called DARE from Dream Like Jesus that will get you there. First, embrace your dreams for a better world. Your dreams may show up as persistent ideas or inner promptings. Pay special attention to the ideas that intrigue you or make you feel really good. Second, align others to your dreams by sharing them out loud with the people you know. This is how you get buy-in and build a “dream team.” Third, realize your dream by implementing it together with your dream team. Fourth, watch the dream expand as still others catch the vision and want to get on board. Anyone can do this. The process really works.
6. Anything else?
Our thoughts shape our reality. So, as we continue to live with COVID-19 and recover from its affects, use your powers of imagination for good. This is how you co-create with the Divine. In fact, it’s not only a divine right, it’s a responsibility. I encourage you to envision a positive future for yourself, your family, your community and even the planet. Each one of us has the ability to contribute good things to life. You have no idea how much your words, your smile, your kindness can make a difference. Don’t doubt yourself.
Rebekah Simon-Peter is passionate about reconnecting spiritual leaders with the God-given powers to co-create miracles with the divine. Her award-winning program, Creating a Culture of Renewal®, has energized church leaders across the country to reclaim their calling and to grow their ministries. She is also the author of DREAM LIKE JESUS: Deepen Your Faith and Bring the Impossible to Life, The Jew Named Jesus, Green Church, and 7 Simple Steps to Green Your Church.