HER OWN STRUGGLE
Rebekah, 43, is very transparent about her own battles with anxiety, fear, and depression at challenging times in her life.
Her first child, Cade, was born with Down Syndrome, as was her last, Joy. Her family has moved several times, requiring her to leave friends and make new ones.
And while she loves her speaking and writing career, it also demands tremendous time and energy. As she’s sought the Lord in these seasons of life, Rebekah’s learned to overcome these negative emotions through four rhythms she commends to all.
Rebekah shares seven habits to prioritize getting rest in our busy lives and why it matters so much: reflecting on our lives, silencing the tech/media noise, being quiet, examining what hasn’t worked, getting deep sleep, time with God, and keeping a Sabbath.
An example of something that wasn’t working in her own life came when she was looking at pictures of a family picnic years before that her husband had taken.
They captured the gorgeous day when the kids were much younger, full of life, and taken up with various activities.
Then she saw a photo that took her off guard: It was of her on that day, face buried in her laptop, headphones on, writing her first book …. and missing all of those sweet moments with her little ones.
Rebekah dropped to her knees in tears over being too busy with her own agenda, and wondered how many other times she’d missed priceless moments.
She knew it didn’t do any good to beat herself up, so she asked God’s forgiveness and for guidance on how to change.
As Rebekah wryly puts it, “We can’t head over to Amazon and buy a new body, mind, or spirit. We have to restore the gifts God’s given us, the gifts of our bodies, minds, and souls.”
The methods she recommends for doing so: taking time to play, eating brain food, knowing our true identity, clearing brain fog, seeking adventure, breaking a sweat, and going beyond our comfort zones.
Rebekah remembers when her son, Pierce, came off the school bus with a tear in his eye because kids had been teasing his older brother, Cade.
He asked what Down Syndrome was. Rebekah knew it was time to explain not just Cade’s diagnosis, but his true identity as God’s creation, with a unique personality, abilities, and gifts.
It was a powerful moment of teaching her kids that labels do not equal identity.
“We were created for connection, and when we are closely knit within our community, we are at our best, flourishing and full of life,” Rebekah writes. Some ways she says we can establish connection: initiate friendship, lead with vulnerability, practice hospitality, bear others’ burdens, give hugs, love your mate, and apologize first. When her family moved from NYC to TN, she realized how tired she was of having to make new friends again.
She knew she needed them, but had little time with her travel schedule.
So Rebekah took fewer engagements, and made more margin in her schedule to have time for others.
She also took a friend’s advice and tried to be the friend to others that she wanted, and she found these steps made a huge difference.
Rebekah says we all need to exercise our God-given gifts, and can do so by learning to dream again, recovering our passion, working with our hands, learning something new, making a memory, taking care of something, and taking a risk.
The Lyons family has made memories by saying yes to many of their kids’ grand ideas.
For instance, they made three, short movies with everyone in the family playing a part, and they watch and enjoy them again every year. Another time they simulated the Braves’ baseball stadium in their back yard and had fun cheering each other on.
Rebekah states that 77 percent of Americans experience physical symptoms of stress, 33 percent live with extreme stress, and 48 percent say stress has a negative impact on their personal and professional lives.
In addition, 18 percent of American adults live with an anxiety disorder and 7 percent struggle with depression. Her goal in writing this book is to offer hope and practical steps to achieve lasting renewal.
The 700 Club