Rebekah Lyons is quickly becoming one of my all-time favorite writers. Her first two books, Freefall to Fly and You are Free, chronicle Lyons’ journey through anxiety and panic to a place of peace and purpose. Both are honest and beautiful, and well worth the read, but there wasn’t a lot of guidance on actionable steps to develop a practice of peace.

In comes Rhythms of Renewal. After her experience of facing her anxiety head on, Lyons thought that her anxiety was all in the past. Years later, when she encountered anxiety creeping in once more, Lyons realized that she had not designed her life in such a way for peace to thrive. Overloaded, overscheduled, and overwhelmed, Lyons set off to discover the regular rhythms that would promote peace and purpose in her life.

Photo of the book Rhythms of Renewal

The Four Rhythms

The four Rhythms of Renewal are…

  • Rest: including practices like getting enough sleep, creating a morning routine, and detoxing from technology
  • Restore: including practices like eating healthy food, taking time for play, and going on adventures
  • Connect: including practices like investing in your relationships, the power of physical touch, and creating community
  • Create: including practices like using your imagination, working with your hands, and learning something new

The first two rhythms, Rest and Restore are, as Lyons calls them, “input rhythms”, while Connect and Create are “output rhythms”. These four rhythms occur on all levels of regularity, from daily rhythms like morning routines, all the way to annual rhythms like annual getaways and making time to do an annual “life inventory”. In this book, Lyons explores the four rhythms that, when practiced regularly, help to nourish a life of rest and renewal. I love the way that Lyons has organized this information. The four rhythms are easy to understand and thereby implement. Lyons uses personal stories to illustrate the need for each rhythm, and gives actionable examples and advice for practicing the four rhythms in your own life. The four rhythms can help to alleviate stress before it begins and cultivate an atmosphere of peace in your life.

Photo of Emily typing

Take Care of Something

One of my favorite chapters in this book was chapter 27, “Take Care of Something.” In this chapter, Lyons shares about her daughter’s experience with anxiety and the rhythm that drastically changed her mental state: chickens. When their daughter began to experience abnormal stress, Lyons and her husband realized that their daughter had very little that she was responsible for. They decided to experiment by giving their daughter the responsibility of raising chickens. Having something to care for, something that was relying on her for survival, did wonders for their daughter. It filled her with a sense of purpose.

Lyons writes,

I take on responsibilities that inspire me to get out of bed and out the door, to show up. Whether it’s weekly meetings with my team at work, or lunch dates with one of our kids who needs advice, or agreeing to a book deadline or speaking engagement, I say yes when the right responsibilities present themselves. Having obligations and responsibilities reminds me I’m needed, that I have a critical role to play—and knowing this balances out my mental health. When I have responsibilities, when folks are relying on me, I come alive. I feel purposeful. I feel engaged. I feel needed.

There are many who cannot relate to this idea. It seems that most are struggling with stress and anxiety because they have too many responsibilities, not too few. However, there are some of us (and I know I have experienced this in seasons of my life) who we are responsible for too few things. No one needs us. No one is relying on us. No one is counting on us to come through. It is not good to have a plate that is too full. It is not good to have a plate that is too empty, either. Being responsible for something connects us to something bigger. We’re made for it.

Lyons also released a Rhythms for Life planner/journal to help you plot and record your efforts to weave the rhythms into your life. If you’re interested in learning more about these rhythms, check out the Rhythms of Renewal podcast Rebakah does with her husband, Gabe. The couple interviews writers, pastors, and other thought leaders on their own rhythms. The episode featuring author Bob Goff (author of Dream Big) is my favorite one.

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On Beauty and Motherhood

I put on makeup every day for 30 days. I didn’t wear makeup every day before I had my daughter, so I surely didn’t prioritize it after she was born. One day in January, I realized that I liked how I felt when I wore makeup, so I thought I would conduct a little experiment. I wanted to see how it would make me feel to wear it every day for 30 days. Depending on the results, I may consider making a concerted effort to wear it daily.

My Top 10 Reads from 2023

I read some pretty phenomenal books in 2023— some of which will go on my list of all-time favorites. My top ten is dominated by nonfiction, yet funnily enough, novels hold the top two spots on my list. Five of the ten are memoirs, revealing a particular preference I have for that genre right now. In general, my reading ratios are 1 novel: 1 memoir: 1 additional nonfiction. I want to read more fiction this year.

Project Emily Advent: Day 25

My maternal grandfather, Papa, was a great and wild soul. He was particularly close with my sister, Bailey. He loved all of his grandchildren, and made a particular effort to show up in each of our lives. But Bailey was Papa's best girl. He was totally smitten with her. He was a friendly and warm person, but he could be bristly at times, and Bailey seemed to be the only person undeterred by his bad moods. She was every bit his equal in fortitude and stature of personhood.

Disclosure (Let’s be honest)
This website contains posts with affiliate links, meaning that I receive a small commission if you purchase a book I’ve linked— at no extra cost to you. I’ll always be upfront with you when a post is sponsored or a book is gifted. All books I recommend are books I actually read and enjoyed.
No joke.