Is there a need for balance in your life? Feeling drained from running around from one thing to another, tending to one need after the other? Do you see connections with your loved ones slipping away but really no time to think about it because you feel like (and probably literally have) a thousand things to do? Maybe this is all just me. Or was me. I haven’t figured this all out yet but I know something has got to change. Scroll to the end to read my “official” 300 word review but first allow me to share a little bit about how I got here to write this review in the first place!
I’ve been fortunate enough to be invited to a book launch opportunity for “Rhythms of Renewal: Trading stress and anxiety for a life of peace and purpose” new book release by Rebekah Lyons. What’s a book launch? It means we get to read the book before it goes on sale (1 October at all major bookstores) in order to write and share our honest reviews.
I want to share a bit with you about the season I was in when I first came across this book. First, the word RENEWAL in the title really spoke to me. I serve everywhere in our military chapel and its organizations (that’s what it seems like anyway) as well as in off-post venues here in Daegu, South Korea. I love what I do but in the back of my mind I could see that I was doing all these good things at the expense of my family. I tried to do the best that I could to NOT have that happen. I mean, I still made our homemade meals for dinner and got up early before school everyday to make breakfast and send everyone off with a fully belly, eye contact and meaningful life-giving conversation. Each one of them, first my daughter to elementary school, then my son off to middle school, and finally my husband who has his own needs too was lovingly sent to work and then I would go around doing all the things I needed to do as a volunteer, then mom, then wife, and then all the stay-at-home duties like cleaning (which…. well let’s not talk about that. Okay, I confess, THIS is still a struggle and has been for years.).
Even though I started off meaning well in everything, doing great things at home as a wife and a mom and also with my volunteer roles, over time, something just had to give. First was my sleep, then it was my health and my family. Things just got out of wack slowly over time and my outside-the-home roles became bigger and bigger (or maybe I did more and more in them) and then I took on a very large complicated role at the start of the summer. When that was over, I desperately needed a break and fled the country. (Remember, I’m in South Korea hee hee.) I thought it would be for a week and a half tops but it ended up being three weeks of unexpected time away. That WAS NOT the plan but God knew what my kids and I needed. Stuck in Japan, then Hawaii and then Guam, because we were flying Space A and tropical storms were affecting every island we visited, my children and I spent LOTS of time together which turns out was what we all needed. (They did not know that but I did.) Now, several weeks later, I feel good about them starting up another public school year because our relationship has been reset. I am so very thankful for this.
This invitation to read the Rhythms of Renewal book came at just the right time. It is amazing, really, that I noticed it in my email because I probably would have just overlooked it. (I have an embarrassingly high number of emails in both of my email accounts.) God was already showing me that my priorities needed to realign back to His priorities regarding my time and my focus. However, I didn’t exactly know what else to do except to be weary about saying yes to doing anything but knowing that eventually I would wade back into things because there were some ministries I knew I would continue to serve in. These are the things I pondered during my time away because I knew I would have to come back to my normal life soon.
Specifically, two things became evident before I started reading this book, but were included by Rebekah as ideas to consider. First I knew that getting back into reading God’s Word on a regular basis, a source of strength and support for me in my past before I became swamped, needed to get back on track. I was slowly working that back in that rhythm on my own (I’m so proud of myself here). I also knew that friendships were lacking in my year of living here but then again, I also knew why. I was way too busy for anything else besides serving last year. This year, however, I wanted to do things differently. I needed some space in my schedule to make room for connections to happen. This is probably why several chapters under the “Connect” Rhythm (1 of 4 Rhythms identified in the book) really resonated with me in Rhythms of Renewal. Chapters titled, “Be the friend you wish to have: Initiate Friendships,” “Lead with vulnerability: Better together,” and “Hugs all around” really spoke directly to this season. There were quite a few other chapters too that I asterisked to go back to and to be intentional about trying to implement the ideas that came up for me when I read them. I recognized this was a God thing for me to be exploring this material right now.
I recommend this book for those who want balance and a resource for those who help others achieve it.
I am happy to recommend this book to all of you. I really believe this is a useful resource to examine these different Rhythms in your life. Even better if you can implement what you discover into the rhythms of your life. In case you didn’t know, Rebekah Lyons is a Christian and this is her third book although I hadn’t read any others yet. How I found out about Rebekah was I heard her speak during the #ifgathering 2017 simulcast and I LOVED what she had to say about “the food people.” From that point, I’d kept an eye on her ever since. She openly shares about how she chooses Jesus even through her longtime struggles with anxiety and in raising a family including a teenager son with down syndrome. This book, combined with their free podcast that just came out called “Rhythms for Life” together with her husband, Gabe, are excellent resources to bring hope and life to loved ones around us who also struggle with balancing healthy rhythms that renew every aspect of their life.
Here is my “official” 300 word count review for “Rhythms of Renewal” by Rebekah Lyons! 😉
Organized into 4 categories of Rhythms: Rest, Restore, Connect, and Create, each rhythm consists of 7 easy-to-read chapters highlighting different aspects of that rhythm. Each chapter starts with a related inspiring quote and a short personal or family “real life” story. Scientific research (bibliography includes references), ideas to try (Rebekah has been on this journey for several years now), and three reflection questions close each chapter (less than 10 pages long) with an opportunity to journal responses within the book, if desired.
One could go through this book alone but a lot is gained by reading this book with a partner or group for accountability and encouragement because these 4 Rhythms touch of every aspect of our lives. I’ve already started using this book with a friend who struggles with anxiety and sleep issues. Our discussions as we go along in the book bring up areas that she had never considered, such as taking a life inventory (suggested in Chapter 1) and why that would be of value. I did add more scripture references to this book in our time together because although written by a Christian author, this book didn’t have that traditional religious feel to me. Learning that Rebekah struggled through anxiety and severe panic attacks herself despite having a strong faith and a successful professional life gave us both hope in seeing that we too can discover new rhythms of renewal in our whole life just like she has.
Check out the new free podcast called “Rhythms for Life” hosted by Rebekah and her husband Gabe. People from different walks of life share how they achieve renewal through the framework of the four Rhythms discussed in this book. These are both great practical resources for anyone desiring renewal.
“Rhythms For Life” free podcast hosted by Rebekah and Gabe Lyons https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/rhythms-for-life/id1477541494 “Are you managing stress or is your stress managing you? What practical steps can you take each day for sustained emotional, spiritual and relational health? In the Rhythms for Life podcast, authors, speakers, and founders of Q Ideas, Gabe Lyons and Rebekah Lyons, invite listeners to journey with them and expert guests into transparent conversations brimming with practical advice. From artists, nutritionists and psychologists to thought leaders, advocates and entrepreneurs, listeners will meet expert guides that will help them keep stress and anxiety at bay and pursue everyday moments of abundance by establishing four life-giving rhythms: rest, restore, connect, and create.”
Rebekah Lyons website https://rebekahlyons.com/ YOU CAN BE RESCUED DAILY FROM WORRY, STRESS, AND ANXIETY
“Rhythms of Renewal” book, study guide, and DVD! (link on Amazon) https://www.amazon.com/s?k=rhythms+of+renewal&i=stripbooks&ref=nb_sb_noss_2 WHAT?!?! I’m thinking about buying the study guide and DVD folks and doing a local study! Who’s with me!?! (Using just the book like I am now is good, but I am curious as to if the study guide inserts what I am adding with my friend simply by following the promptings of the Holy Spirit. I am writing the passages down of course as I go. I wonder, could I publish a study guide one day?? That is really the question here. I think I can! Exciting!!)
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Once you receive you copy, let me know how you end up using the ideas that come up for you when going through this book. Thanks!