Rhythms of Renewal by Rebekah Lyons is a great read heading into a season where you might have some flexibility in your schedule. I had the privilege of reading this late in the COVID-19 season of Spring 2020. It was at the point where we had been in quarantine for several weeks and things were starting to reopen and return to “normal” life. I am praying that the Lord would clearly show me and my family what doesn’t need to return to “normal”. Normal for us…like so many…had become this spiral of frenzy that made it seem like we were always rushing from thing to thing. If you lined up what all the things were, they were good things.
We are grateful for this season to evaluate what are the “best” things. Luke 10:38-42 tells the story of Mary and Martha. Martha was busy doing so many important things, but Mary was choosing the best thing by spending time with the Lord. My husband and I talk constantly about the fact that our time with our kids is so fleeting. They are already 11 and 7 and we know that we will be packing them up for college in the blink of an eye. We don’t want to miss what the Lord has for us in this season.
Rhythms of Renewal reminds us to be intentional with our time and relationships. What choices am I making in advance to maximize these things in light of eternity? I don’t want to have to give an account for my relationships and ministry opportunities and wonder why I squandered them all. Busy seems to be a badge of honor in our culture, but I have a feeling that isn’t the case in heaven. I don’t want to miss what God has for me. I’m grateful for this great work by Rebekah Lyons to help keep me focus on Christ and His best for me, my family, and our ministry.
I highlighted several things while reading and have posted those notes below…
- In his mercy, God gently whispered a response: You can focus on the fact that fear came knocking, or you can focus on the fact that I always make a way of escape. Location: 468
- With a little intention and a lot of perseverance, stress and anxiety can be transformed into peace and purpose. Boredom and depression can become excitement and engagement. Location: 502
- Practical acts like fasting from media (Rest), exercising (Restore), sharing a laugh (Connect), or recovering an old talent (Create) can help us break the anxiety-inducing cycles of the world around us and bring balance to our otherwise hectic lives. They can help us cultivate the spiritual and mental space needed to allow God to bring us through complacency and fear and into freedom. Location: 508
- The first two—Rest and Restore—are “input rhythms,” rhythms that allow the peace of Jesus to fill us. The latter two rhythms—Connect and Create—are “output rhythms,” rhythms that pull us out of our own heads and help us engage with the world around us. Location: 512
- We are restless when we rest less. Location: 525
- Rest precedes blessing. We don’t have to run to earn rest; we run fueled by a posture of rest. Location: 529
- The unexamined life is not worth living. —SOCRATES Location: 554
- The first question, What’s Right? keeps me aware of and grateful for the gifts in my life. Grounding ourselves in recognition of the good sets a positive tone for the rest of the inventory. Location: 601
- Asking What’s Wrong? allows me to see where things have veered off course. By answering this question, I assess and name the challenges I’m facing. I take time to name those things that feel off or out of order. In naming what’s wrong, I take the first step in solving my problems. Location: 603
- The third question, What’s Confused? helps me isolate the rabbit trails I seem to chase to no end. Am I teaching our children respect and responsibility? Am I making friendships a priority? Is our time together as a family quality time? I could spend an endless amount of mental energy considering these questions over the course of my day, but when I carve out time to process it on the page, the answers become clear. Writing it down, I find the anxiety associated with these questions dissipates. Location: 606
- The last question, What’s Missing? requires a hard look at areas of life I may be too close to, areas I can’t evaluate alone. To answer this question, I need help and insight from Gabe and a few trusted friends. This community question helps me identify blind spots or talk through my desires to ensure they are rooted in the story God has called me to live. Location: 610
- It’s never too late to re-establish what you want your life to be about. Location: 624
- We are continually being nudged by our devices toward a set of choices. The question is whether those choices are leading us to the life we actually want. —ANDY CROUCH Location: 646
- Without great solitude, no serious work is possible. —PABLO PICASSO Location: 735
- Here are three questions to ask yourself to kick-start the heart work. They will walk you through confession and toward change (which is the path of true repentance).
- 1. What do I need to confess? Heart work begins with awakening, like what happened to me the afternoon I explored my photo library. When my awareness of moments I’d missed brought deep shame and guilt, I confessed my tendency to allow work time to spill over into family time.
- 2. What do I need to release? Nursing guilt shows a fundamental distrust of God’s forgiveness, healing, and restorative power. Once we confess, we release our guilt to God, and trust that he will work through our failures to bring about his purposes.2
- 3. What do I need to change? Confession and release paves the way for how we can walk forward in new, more connected and present ways. Keep asking God, “What can I do now?” His plans and purposes will continue to unfold. Location: 866
- The first hour of the morning is the rudder of the day. —HENRY WARD BEECHER Location: 986
- WE CANNOT RUN IF WE CANNOT REST. Location: 1,099
- When our identity is found in who God says we are rather than in our highs and lows, our successes and failures, or our desires, affections, or shortcomings, we experience the freedom we were meant to enjoy. When I need to be reminded of this, I read this list of phrases that tell me the truth about who God says I am, and it always helps: I am a child of God. (John 1:12) I am a new creation. (2 Corinthians 5:17) I am a friend of Jesus. (John 15:15) I am created by God to do good. (Ephesians 2:10) I am free in Christ. (Galatians 5:1) I am chosen and loved. (1 Thessalonians 1:4) I am the light of the world. (Matthew 5:14) I am not ruled by fear. (2 Timothy 1:7) I am forgiven. (Colossians 2:13) I am God’s possession. (Titus 2:14) I am free from the desires of the flesh. (Galatians 5:24) I am a light in the world. (Matthew 5:14–15) I am secure in him. (1 Peter 1:3–5) I am loved by God. (1 John 4:10) Location: 1,473
- Every day God invites us on the same kind of adventure. It’s not a trip where He sends us a rigid itinerary, He simply invites us. God asks what it is He’s made us to love, what it is that captures our attention, what feeds that deep indescribable need of our souls to experience the richness of the world He made. And then, leaning over us, He whispers, “Let’s go do that together.” —BOB GOFF Location: 1,614
- Gregory Berns, a leading neuroscientist, writes in his book Iconoclast: “Although fear is the great inhibitor of action, its location in the brain is well known . . . rather than people needing to avoid the situations that cause fear or the circumstances that make them stress out, neuroscience is showing how the rational part of the brain can regain control over such toxic emotions like fear.”1 Location: 1,670
- Berns says, “To see things differently than other people, the most effective solution is to bombard the brain with things it has never encountered before. Novelty releases the perceptual process from the shackles of past experience and forces the brain to make new judgments.” Location: 1,681
- Do you have difficulty making friends? Do you lack meaningful connection in your life? Are your friendships shallow? Are they based in utility or exchange or convenience? Reach out. Be intentional. Be the friend you wish to have. See if it doesn’t cultivate the kind of friendships you want, friendships of love, blessing, mutual support, and freedom. Location: 2,004
- As the beloved social worker Brené Brown writes, “Vulnerability is the birthplace of love, belonging, joy, courage, empathy, and creativity. It is the source of hope, empathy, accountability, and authenticity. If we want greater clarity in our purpose or deeper and more meaningful spiritual lives, vulnerability is the path.” Location: 2,034
- The primary impulse of hospitality is to create a safe and welcoming place where a stranger can be converted into a friend. —JOSHUA W. JIP Location: 2,117
- Jon Tyson, our pastor from New York, says, “Biblical hospitality is an environment of welcome where a person’s identity goes from an outsider to an insider so they can belong. It’s turning the other into ‘one another.’” Location: 2,188
- His love motivates her respect; her respect motivates his love. —EMERSON EGGERICHS Location: 2,399
- By offering honest dialogue and hearing with humility, we learn to keep bitterness and resentment at bay. Location: 2,485
- I inhaled Man’s Search for Meaning five years ago as we traveled through the Irish countryside, through forests and castles and sheep. As I read, I stumbled across Viktor Frankl’s words about himself: “The meaning of life is to help others find the meaning of theirs.” Location: 2,606
- Using our hands, employing our God-given creativity to make something new, is good medicine for the soul. It helps us to focus on something other than ourselves and use our strategic problem-solving skills to create something that brings beauty and builds our confidence as creators. It fills us with a sense of accomplishment and often allows us to offer the world a gift. Location: 2,872
- Memories aren’t made from to-do lists. —AEDRIEL MOXLEY Location: 2,971
- Saying yes became the way we engaged with our children. Location: 2,998
- When we make memories, we cultivate our imaginations and create memories that outlive us. Location: 3,024