God invites us a wholeness that isn’t just mind, isn’t just body, and isn’t just spirit. But, it’s the culmination of all those things coming under submission to what God intends for us. Physically, mentally, and emotionally. Restoration brings us back to life. ~ Rebekah Lyons
I’ll give you a full life in the emptiest of places… — Isaiah 58:11
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 not ruled by fear. (2 Timothy 1:7)
I am secure in Him. (1 Peter 1:3-5)
I am loved by God. (1 John 4:10)
Let’s sit with those words for a moment. (Just pause, take a breath, and reread them slowly.)
It’s so easy in this life to forget that Jesus is our foundation and that we are ridiculously, unimaginably, absurdly, undeservedly, unreservedly, inescapably, insanely loved by God. He enjoys us. He looks at us and says “That’s My girl! That’s my boy!” He has tattooed your name and my name on the palms of His hands (Isaiah 49:16). Just like we wait eagerly for a loved one to get off an airplane after a long absence, God waits for us to show us His love and compassion (Isaiah 30:18). His love is sacrificial, selfless, unrelenting, and overflowing (Romans 5:8).
In His staggering love for us, He wants us to be restored in every way. This broken world slams into us, doesn’t it? It leaves bruises, scuffs, wrecks, and scars. It tears and it wearies. It labels us in ways that bring shame and maybe make us want to hide and be fake.
But, Jesus is our safe place. The One we can be completely emotionally, physically, and spiritually open, honest, and even naked in front of and not have an ounce of embarrassment (Genesis 2:25).
We can take our issues to Him and find healing. We can take our hurts and find compassion. Our bad patterns and wanderings get redirected and find a new groove, a new rhythm in Him.
He loves us enough to want to see us find joy, to play, to laugh, to sing, to rejoice, to hope, to find new purpose and meaning. Especially the broken and damaged places. The hidden things. The hurt things.
You don’t discard something once it’s not working. You put restorative rhythms in your life that bring it back to life. That make it liveable again. ~ Rebekah
This isn’t spectator Christianity, my friends. It takes action. Restoration has steps. Physical and literal steps.
When Jesus said “Follow Me” He literally meant “Follow Me.” Walk with Me. Put your actually sandals on and walk next to Me. Every part of being a disciple of Jesus was met in the movement. ~ Rebekah
It includes diet, exercise, play, pushing ourselves, and correcting our thought lives for our mental, emotional, and physical health. It’s not a discipline of punishment, but of therapeutic direction guided by His love.
The truth is God says, “You are Mine. You are my sons and My daughters. You are chosen and beloved. Those [labels] might be something that comes against you, but they don’t define who you are.” ~ Rebekah
Perhaps if we put some rhythms in place, some of those things that have been really hard for us might be a little less hard down the road. ~ Rebekah
As we’ll watch in Session 3 and read this week in Chapters 8-14 of Rhythms of Renewal, there are some new rhythms we can practice to make things a little less hard.
If you are experiencing…
- Emotional unrest – see a counselor, get out of the house and watch the sunset, have coffee with a trusted friend.
- Exhaustion – get away and unwind or get a friend or co-worker to cover for you.
- Spiritual struggle – talk to a pastor or priest or counselor and get in the Word. Seek God. Find someplace beautiful and just sit and talk to the Lord. And listen.
- Feeling sluggish from unhealthy eating or lack of exercise – start regularly walking (I’m joining you!), weed the pantry of easy go-to junk foods, cook real food
- Struggling with addiction – join a group, get real, and start walking the steps of sobriety
- Having trouble coping – see a doctor and find out if medication may help*
Remember what is true: No matter what needs to be restored in my life and yours, if you are a Jesus follower, you belong to Him. You’re His. He loves you. He sings over you (Zephaniah 3:17). He rejoices and smiles over you. Your issue isn’t the issue. But it’s an issue that He wants you to find freedom from. Because of His great love.
You are loved. You can’t even get out of it.
This week in your study:
- Watch the video for session three on our study home page. Take notes in your study guide on pages 53-57 and then please come join the conversation with our OBS community afterward!
- Go through the study questions with your group or on your own on pages 58-63.
- Read Part 2 of Rhythms of Renewal.
- Grab your Bible and enjoy your personal study this week on pages 65-74.
- Join the conversations about the study and get to know fellow participants in the private Facebook group!
Scriptures this Week
2 Corinthians 5:17
1 Thessalonians 1:4
2 Timothy 1:7
Prayer for the Week
Jesus, we love You. Thank You for Your outrageous love. Thank You that our struggles and issues don’t prohibit us from being utterly loved by You. Help us to face what embarrasses us, what humbles us, what stumbles us. Help us to find rhythms in You that will help things be a little less hard down the road. We want to walk with You. We love You, Lord. Amen.
* A word about anti-depressants and anxiety medication: My friends, sometimes our brains do not work the way they should. Believe me, we want them to, but sometimes they don’t. Some people cannot see clearly and so they wear corrective lenses. Some people have irregular heart rhythms and so they take medication to live longer. Some people have chemical irregularities in their brains and so they adjust those problems with medication. Some people, me included, have gone through seasons or even their whole lives (God bless you, warrior friends!) with medical depression and/or anxiety and so they take medication to live. Please, be gentle and loving with those of us who may already feel “less than” because we need a doctor’s help to cope. Praise Jesus for hearing aids, leg braces, orthodontics, and prosthetics… and praise Him that sometimes our imperfections (which don’t define us!) can be helped by those God created to be physicians. That’s a glorious thing any way you look at it. ~LM