Laura Howe 0:00
Hey there, Laura here for the month of July, the podcast team is going to be taking a summer break. But don't worry, there's still going to be new episodes.
For the next four weeks, we are jumping back to share a few of the most viewed sessions from past church mental health summits and I can't wait to share some of these fantastic talks and resources with you.
And I'm excited to share that the 2023 summit is open for registration. Over 50 speakers from around the world are coming together to equip the local church to support mental health in their churches and communities so check out the four tracks and all of the speakers go to churchmentalhealthsummit.com.
From Hope Made Strong, this is the care ministry podcast, a show about equipping ministry leaders and transforming communities through care. supporting those in your church and community not only changes individuals lives, but it grows and strengthens the church. But we want to do that without burning out. So listen in as we learn about tools, strategies, and resources that will equip your team and strengthen hope.
I'm Laura Howe and welcome to the care ministry podcast. The show today I'm so excited is a flashback to one of the top viewed sessions of our 2021 Church mental health summit with Rebekah Lyons. Now I am pumped for this talk. It was one of my favorites that year. So so excited to share it with you. Rebekah was one of the first Christian speakers I heard talk about their experience with mental health and it was inspirational. It tore down barriers and it made me feel like hey, if she could overcome, so can I and I am so thankful for her transparency, and her courage.
But that's not where Rebekah stops, she just didn't stop telling her story. Through the year she has taken the experience of crippling anxiety that she had, and recovery and has created some incredible practical tools and encouragement trainings, from books, podcasts, and retreats.
Since her appearance in the 2021 summit, where we are going to hear this talk, she's written another book called Building A Resilient Life and this is fantastic on how adversity awakens strength, hope and meaning. But I am excited for you to hear her 21 or 20211 talk where she pulls in information or pulls in ideas from her book Rhythms of Renewal, and is here that she walks through four practical rhythms to establish your life. Now having read her books, listen to her speak prior to the summit. I knew that when she shared she didn't just come across with information that she learned about. But this information and wisdom she care shares comes from real life experience of holding on to the hope of Jesus, just to get through some really dark times. Now I'm sure you're going to love Rebekah just as much as I do after listening to this talk, so I hope you enjoy.
Rebekah Lyons 3:08
It Hey, friends, I'm Rebekah Lyons, and I'm so excited to talk to you today about Hope Made Strong. That's a big topic that a lot of us could use some help in, especially in this last year and a half. And so I know many of you have been looking for hope all over the place, because that's what we need. And I've been doing the same. So I want to jump in, first of all, with my favorite passage on hope, which is Romans 5 and begins here in verse one. Therefore, since we have been declared righteous by faith, we have peace with God, through our Lord Jesus Christ, just right there. We've been righteous by faith. So faith is the substance of things hoped for. The evidence of what we can't see, right? So even just our ability to hope for something makes us righteous. And then because of that, we have peace with God through Christ, not on our own, but through Christ. We have also obtained access through Him by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God.
So we we rejoice in what the hope and not only that, but we also rejoice in our affliction. That's not something we hear very often, right? That's not something we really want to do. But that's what we're going to talk about today. We also rejoice in our affliction, because we know that affliction produces endurance, endurance produces character, and proven character produces hope. This hope will not disappoint us because God's love has been poured out in our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who was given to us. Again, this hope, this hope that comes from affliction, that becomes character that becomes hope is poured out in our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us. So let's talk about this, because faith triumphs, right, because of our afflictions. We've got endurance.
So so many, so many of you in this last year have had some level of affliction, right? Life was interrupted, what you knew as normal was gone. There was loss, there was grief, there was sickness, there was sadness. And that's normal. And before all of that before COVID even began, four out of five of us were already dealing with physical symptoms of stress, according to the American Institute of Stress, racing, heart sleepless nights, a mind that won't quit shallow breathing, and all of a sudden, we've piled on that this massive interruption, a global pandemic, a lot of fear and the unknown future. And yet, what do we do with that? That's an affliction that just comes and springs up as a society all around the world. And then all of a sudden, we're faced with the idea of does that produce? Does that produce endurance? Can we sustain something that's unknown for a very long time? And if so? Can that endurance become character? And can can that character become home?
I know for a lot of us when we were sent home last year, for me, it was like, get back, talking to God every day, this ongoing dialogue in my journal, I've journaled pretty consistently for the last decade. It's one of my survival skills. It's free counseling, I like to say, it's just God and I, every morning just saying God, like the end of Psalm 139, where David says, Search me, O God, know me, test me see what's in me, lead me in the way everlasting. search me and know my heart. And so partly, I have to write it to get it out.
What is anxious in me, what is wicked in me, show me and so part of that, for me got real loud and COVID. Again, because I had more time to really just dig and plunge the depths to say, God, what do you want me to learn in this season, this is the season that none of us saw coming. We kind of had a trajectory that we thought things were going to look like, and you interrupted that you allow that to happen. We don't know why. But we trust you. We trust that you hold all things together. And so that was my posture before God.
And not long into the season of quarantine, I remember having an ugly cry with the Lord in the woods. And I just remember the Lord saying, You don't have to make things happen. And there was this exhale this release that like, oh, had I been functioning and operating like I have to help hold things together. Because like, I got this for you, especially in the time where you feel like things are spiraling out of control. Maybe you just hand it all back to me. And so that's what it looked like for me. But for a lot of us, that affliction, that became endurance was only because I was able to hand it over, I was able to have more endurance in the unknown, knowing that God was at the helm. And then that endurance produces character because I was asking the Lord the hard questions.
Show me the places, Lord, that I have sin, show me the idols, show me the coping mechanisms showed me the self reliance. When I'm going and running really fast, I don't even have time to consider those things. I kind of think everything's okay. But then I realized in the in the, like the overreactions or the under reactions, that maybe I'm either numbing out, or I'm trying to control out of fear. And God just was showing me this in the nuclear family of our home under the four walls of our home and the roof of our home. And a lot of us saw that happen and come to come to the front and center in this last season. But God in His mercy also gave hope, he gives hope, as a promise, as faith, right. And I just remember a decade ago, when I walked out of panic disorder, and began a healing journey, what hope looks like for me every day was the healing rhythms of renewal. Yes, God rescues us from a pit. Yes, he's a god of deliverance. He's a god of healing. But not only that is he's a god of equipping. He's a God of discipleship. He's a God of, of nurture, and training us up. And so the Rhythms of Renewal I really came to discover, just fighting my way back to a healing journey. Knowing that God goes before me that he brings people around that while there might be a trauma, grooved muscle memory in my brain, from you know, having panic attacks and claustrophobia and feeling helpless.
God's going Hey, neuroplasticity means your brain can actually be reshaped, re healed, those, those neural pathways can actually be made new. And so that's what I've been doing. And that's what I want to talk about today. This is our hope, that God in the way he lives the way he walked the way Christ himself became flesh and dwelt among us, invites us to join him. So I'm going to explain it here for a few minutes, the rhythms that brought renewal for me, and then I'm going to unpack those for the next little bit.
Through study and experience. I've come to understand four rhythms that help us replace stress and anxiety. With life giving peace and purpose, they help us nurture and sustain lasting emotional health. They're not complicated, rest, restore, connect and create words I first wrote under the Rhythms of Renewal that summer so long ago that I found my freedom. However, they do take practice practical acts like fasting from social media, which is arrest rhythm, exercising, restore rhythm, sharing a laugh, connect rhythm, or recovering an old talent, create rhythm can help us break the anxiety inducing cycles of the world and bring balance to our otherwise hectic lives.
They help us cultivate the spiritual and mental space, we need to allow God to bring us through complacency and fear and into freedom. When you consider it, these four rhythms make sense the first to rest and restore our input rhythms that allow the peace of Christ to fill us the latter two rhythms connect and create our output rhythms that pull us out of our own heads and help us engage the world around us is the input of Christ piece that allows me to pour out that piece. And when I abide in that input and output flow, I don't struggle as much with anxiety. In fact, I begin to find healing and wholeness. My hope is that a decade from now, you'll look back on your season of stress or defeat and see how God brought you back to center through the rhythms outlined in this book. My prayer is that you'll see how these rhythms enable you to live a life of peace and passion and purpose. So let's start with rest.
Rest is the foundation we are restless when we rest less we were not created for this nonstop pace. We were designed in God's image and fact when God created, He rested on the seventh day and rest and then he blessed that day, which means that rest precedes blessing. We don't run to earn rest, we run fueled from a posture of rest. And when you think about rest, it's it's not optional to God. It's something that he did and he wants us to embody even Christ himself when he minister would retreat to the mountain and pray he would get away with from the crowds with his father, he would be fortified he would be filled up.
And so some of the areas of rest look very much just like taking a tech detox, taking inventory of your life, having a good morning routine have routines for deep sleep. Just having that soul care. The scripture is so clear about , are you tired burnout on religion and Matthew 28: 11 it get a come get away with me and you'll recover your life and you'll have rest for your soul. That's what we're talking about here soul rest. Psalm 23. He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters, He restores my soul. It's all about that inner life. Am I okay? Are God and I okay?
That soul care comes from a deep well of rest. It's not rushed. It's not forced. It doesn't happen overnight. It's not a silver bullet or magic pill. It's just this abiding place of that God is at the helm. God holds things together.
The next rhythm on top of that soul care is physical movement and our bodies the embodiment of following Jesus and using our actual legs and laying hands when we pray and, and what the disciples did, you know, walking with Jesus every day they interacted with him and they, they ate foods that nourish their body and they broke bread and they had communion and they broke the loaves and the fishes in that that multiply. There's very much of a physicality to their faith, their discipleship along with Jesus, that rhythm restore rhythm is strictly about physical health, building up your body for muscles, strong bones talks about in Isaiah 58, like a well watered garden.
We want to live for God from a place of soul rest but we need the energy to do that. We need the energy and the equipping from a God who created us who made us in our mother's womb, who calls his works wonderful, and says all our days are written in plan before one of them began. What an incredible gift that God not only calls out destiny over us, but equips us with able bodies to fulfill everything that he has appointed for us. May we steward that well, maybe not just eat junk and, and be on screens all the time and, and squander a healthy body for muscles and strong bones. This is to me just an area of stewardship. Just like parenting. We haven't been entrusted with a body forever. We've got this season of time to honor it, to honor it and give thanks for any gift. Be kind to our bodies. Say thank you for how strong you are, how resilient you are. And even as its aging, right, have grace for it. Just still be be thankful for the fact that God's given us bodies to live out the calling that He's given us.
And finally the last two rhythms are connecting create. The Connect rhythm is all about friendship, vulnerability, hospitality, bearing one another's burdens, hugs, covenant relationships and apologizing first I'm gonna start with friendship, right? Christ came to reconcile us to the Father and reconcile us to one another. He's all about restoring relationship. Everything that Jesus did was about restoring relationship that's been broken.
So who are we withholding forgiveness from? Who do we need to be honest with? Who do we need to extend grace? Who do we need to encourage? Who do we need to build up? It's not just about us, it's about the freedom we've been given to serve one another and love when you're sick, you only look inward. But when a healing journey begins, you begin to see everyone else and that is what the life of faith looks like. Just looking out for the other, extending ourselves to the other, not out of striving, not out of people pleasing, but out of the overflow of our identity, as grounded and beloved sons and daughters of God. That is the connector them. May we hold these relationships so dearly, because we are a communal people, made by a communal God, and He wants us to enjoy one another. He wants us to be in relationship and fellowship. Because just like trauma can happen in relationship. Healing can happen in relationship, exponential healing can happen in relationship. So let's pursue those relationships with our whole heart being mutually mutually vulnerable, not one person fixing the other person, but both bringing our whole selves. And when we're seen and known and love, in the absence of shame, like my great friend Kirk Thompson said, we can create beautiful things.
Which finally leads me to the last rhythm create. It's a stepping stone of the four rhythms, rest, restore, connect, create, if we have soul rest, and for muscles and strong bones, and healthy relationships that we can collaborate with. Then we finally get to do the vocational rhythm, which is Create, Create, it's just all about dreaming again, and recovering our passions, working with our hands, learning new things, taking care of things, taking risks, taking risks and saying yes, man, when you think about the Create rhythm, it's that we would walk worthy of the calling we've received. God created us with just so much vision and destiny over our lives. But that vision and destiny requires all of him, he's not going to give us an assignment that doesn't need him. He's going to give us the assignments that make us depend utterly on him, which is why sometimes our callings are so much tied with suffering. It sounds like oh, yes, there's joyful seasons 100%. But a lot of times, some of the genesis of our passion comes from a road of suffering as well. I didn't pick to have panic attacks or anxiety or depression. I'd never imagined even being a special needs mama when I was young, but God use those things to allow my pain to become purpose for me to have empathy for the other going, Hey, you're not alone. And this is not the end of your story. Just keep going. That's what create rhythm is all about, is that because we suffer, that's the root word of passion to suffer. We now are so passionate about people walking in abundance and freedom with it, whatever trial they've endured, whatever trial you've endured directly relates to the measure of hope you offer the world.
So take that vocation seriously, thank God, that even in the affliction, he's producing endurance, and character and hope because that hope that hope ignites a calling that hope ignites passion, and ignites purpose. And the beautiful thing is that when you awaken to all of that, you've got the soul care covered, you've got the strong body covered, you've got the community of support and encouragement covered so that you can run with full, just like arms abandoned to God, on the path and the journey that He has for you. Hope is made strong.
Laura Howe 18:52
Hey, thanks for listening. I hope you were encouraged by this session. I love how Rebekah presents such hope, despite facing hardship, but friend, I realized that this can be hard when you're in the middle of that dark season. But I encourage you, hold on God is faithful and I am praying that your hope is made strong. And if you liked the session, and you found it encouraging, you're gonna want to check out the church mental health summit that goes live this October 10. Registration is free, and it gives you access to all of the 50 plus talks on World Mental Health Day so just go to churchmentalhealthsummit.com to check it out. Thanks for connecting take care
Transcribed by https://otter.ai