If you’ve been hanging out with me for long, you know I grew up in South Florida. What you might not know, sister, is that I don’t love the heat.
But, unlike me, the iguanas down there do. And, last January, when South Florida had a cold snap, the weather was so chilly that these cold-blooded reptiles were immobilized. Stunned by the cold, they froze up, stopped moving, and began falling from their homes in the trees.
Yep, you read that right! Iguanas fell from the trees!
South Floridians not only got a wind chill advisory, but they also got a falling iguana warning. The National Weather Service actually said, “This isn’t something we usually forecast, but don’t be surprised if you see Iguanas falling from the trees tonight as lows drop into the 30s and 40s.”
Stories like this remind you and me of the importance of design and seasons. Just like the iguanas were made for the heat, we are made for seasons, and when we get out of sync, or when our rhythms do, things fall apart.
If you’re feeling out of sync today, this episode of the 4:13 Podcast gives you the practical tools to get refreshed and recalibrated. Author and speaker Rebekah Lyons is with us, and she’s talking about how you’re designed to live in rhythm. She breaks down what that looks like and how you can experience renewal as you live out God’s design.
Rebekah is a national speaker and author of You Are Free and Freefall to Fly. She’s an old soul with a contemporary, honest voice. She shares her battles of overcoming anxiety and depression and invites us to pursue our God-given purpose. Alongside her husband, Gabe, Rebekah finds joy in raising four children, two of whom have Down syndrome. Her work has been featured on Good Morning America, CNN, and Publisher’s Weekly. Today, she’s talking about her newest book, Rhythms of Renewal.
Sister, you’re going to love Rebekah and this conversation! So, open your heart and settle in.
4 Rhythms of Renewal You Can Practice
- Rest. The first rhythm of renewal is rest because it’s counter-intuitive for our fast-paced, stressed-out culture. Rebekah says that rest focuses on the inner life, such as the mind, will, and emotions in a spiritual sense.
From the seasons to the tides, she explains how God designed all of nature to follow rhythms. One of these rhythms is the circadian rhythm—or the mental, physical, or behavioral changes that happen to our bodies daily. For example, our sleep patterns. The sunrise emits a blue light that tells us to wake up, and the sunset emits a red light that serves as natural melatonin. Before the industrial and technological revolution, it was easier for people to live and operate within the rhythms of creation. But, now that we can have smartphones in our hands at midnight, too often, the God-designed daily rhythm of rest is disrupted, and it leaves us feeling anxious, overwhelmed, and stressed.
So, how can you reestablish rhythms of rest in your life? One practical way to get back to rest as God designed it is to put your phone away before bedtime. Keep it out of your bedroom, or at least out of reach. When you do this, you are unplugging, both emotionally and physically.
- Restore. Rebekah explains that restore refers to the physical life or the actual body. God invites us to restore our physical strength every day through the food we eat and how we move our bodies. For example, when we raise our heart rate for fifteen minutes or more, it boosts serotonin—which is the happy hormone—and gives us a greater sense of confidence, well-being, direction, and focus.
One way to restore is to take a brisk daily fifteen-minute walk. The physical exercise heightens your mood, and the natural air and Vitamin D are also good for you. Plus, walking is free. All you need are tennis shoes and access to an outdoor space. You can grab a friend and walk while you talk, which also allows you to get in the next rhythm of connecting.
- Connect. Once you’ve been filled with rest and are restored, Rebekah says you have something to offer someone else. So that’s when you look outward. Connection is all about relational health, and the big chemical it’s related to is oxytocin, which produces feelings of connection and belonging. The connect rhythm is vital for your mental health. God is a communal God, and He made you and me to be communal beings. We can’t live without each other.
A couple of simple ways to connect with friends and family are the five-second hug and eye contact. Rebekah says that when you hold a hug for at least five seconds, it creates oxytocin and helps you feel like you belong. Also, we all need eye contact to help us connect with others. So, look for opportunities to see people face-to-face rather than just connecting with them over your phone or social media. If you struggle with connecting, here are some ideas on how to form friendships.
- Create. Rebekah shares how the rhythm of create is all about vocational health. It focuses on the gifts and talents God established in you while you were still in the womb (Psalm 139:13-16). Often, these “birthright” or natural gifts surface in our adolescent years. And, if we’re encouraged in them, we keep pursuing them. But as adults, many of us lose sight of these gifts in the name of duty or responsibility, and we find ourselves in vocations that suck us dry. We don’t feel the freedom or permission to ask, “Am I in the center of my skillset? Or am I just focusing on my weaknesses and feeling every day like I’m failing?”
You can start living in vocational health by recognizing and living in your natural gifts and talents. And, as you do, determining not to be too hard on yourself. Instead of focusing on your weaknesses, focus on your strengths. We can’t all be great at everything, but we can be great at some things.
Friend, take some time this week to rest, restore, connect, and create! Remember, whatever you face and however you feel, you can do all things through Christ who gives you strength.
Books and Bible Studies by Jennifer Rothschild
More from Rebekah Lyons
- Visit Rebekah’s website
- Rhythms of Renewal: Trading Stress and Anxiety for a Life of Peace and Purpose
- How Well Do You Handle Stress and Anxiety Online Quiz
- Follow Rebekah on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram