Book Report: Rhythms of Renewal

Rhythms of Renewal: Trading Stress and Anxiety for a Life of Peace and Purpose by Rebekah Lyons

In a world constantly bombarding us with competing messages to push everything aside for “me time” and to hustle harder, Rebekah’s approach to self care is a breath of fresh air. She argues that there are four major cadences we all need to cultivate: the input rhythms of rest and restoration, and the output rhythms of connection and creation. Such a well-rounded perspective allows us to thrive while relying on the Lord and His design. Readers will discover simple ways of incorporating each category (like how to sleep better, the importance of play, initiating friendship, and learning something new). In a slow, methodical mood? Add a single practice to faithfully implement during this season. Because the twenty-eight chapters are short and actionable, though, it would be fun to work through one habit a day for a self care challenge month. No matter how you come at it, you need these rhythms of renewal in your life!

Some of the quotes that impacted me most were:

Bravery is moving scared.

Take heart. God gently beckons, never coerces, and offers the grace to fall into rhythms that will fill you with confidence and courage, confirm your calling, and give you strength to carry out His purposes.

We cannot run if we cannot rest.

Taking a risk may be the hardest thing you’ll ever do, but it’s the only way we can partner with God in creating good and beautiful things.

It doesn’t matter what the outside reveals if the inside is starved of strength.

My morning routine starts with prayer because it leads me to comfort and shields me from the world’s spin cycle of striving, stress, and anxiety. It roots my day in fullness instead of scarcity.

You cannot heal what is hidden … Secrets lose power when they exit the dark.

The concept that has stayed with me is how vulnerability can be community’s superpower. I’ve struggled with letting others see my flaws because of a misbelief that anything less than perfection would bring them down. (And, on a more self-protective note, because I would rather wrongly suspect that people love me solely for my strengths than to reveal a weakness and remove all doubt.) Obviously the whole world can only handle my best. This *slightly melodramatic* mentality shuts off connection: depending on the day, I’m either in a “good place” where I engage relationally from a posture of pride, or I’m in a “bad place” where my view pressures me to wallow in isolation. I’m essentially forcing myself to choose between presenting “perfect Kassie” or “absent Kassie,” never “real Kassie.” But Rebekah talks about how to build friendships through responding to the thin spots of others and sharing our own needs in return. “When we’re alone and vulnerable, we feel afraid. When we’re together and vulnerable, we become brave. A brave group of vulnerable people acting together in faith is not easily overcome by anxiety and stress.” What a beautiful, terrifying new way of thinking about community. Vulnerability is a gift I can offer to those around me, one that unlocks doors and topples barriers.

My journaling questions from this book include:

  • Is the life I lead the life that longs to live in me?
  • Where do my thoughts wander when given room for reflection?
  • How do I imagine a life of purpose when there seems to be so little time?
  • Where do I need a pause in order to release and reset?
  • What responsibilities motivate me?
  • Is the way I rest freeing me from the typical anxieties of the bustling world?
  • Can I name the places in life I’m trying to control or manage? How could I play instead?
  • What is chilling my passionate work, the place where my creative energy was meant to go?
  • Where do I need to push myself physically? mentally? spiritually? creatively?
  • Which input rhythms and output rhythms should I prioritize this week?

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