Through study and experience, I’ve come to understand four rhythms that help me replace stress and anxiety with life-giving peace and purpose. They help me nurture and sustain lasting emotional health. These rhythms aren’t complicated—Rest, Restore, Connect, and Create—and they’re words I first wrote under the heading “Rhythms of Renewal” the summer I found freedom. However, these rhythms took practice. Practical acts like fasting from media (Rest), exercising (Restore), sharing a laugh (Connect), or recovering an old talent (Create) can help us break the anxiety-inducing cycles of the world around us and bring balance to our otherwise hectic lives. They can help us cultivate the spiritual and mental space needed to allow God to bring us through complacency and fear and into freedom.
When you consider it, these four rhythms make some sense. The first two—Rest and Restore—are “input rhythms,” rhythms that allow the peace of Jesus to fill us. The latter two rhythms—Connect and Create—are “output rhythms,” rhythms that pull us out of our own heads and help us engage with the world around us. It’s the input of Christ’s peace that allowed me to pour out that peace, and when I abide in that input-and-output flow, I don’t struggle so much with anxiety. In fact, I find healing and wholeness. (A word of caution: the practices contained in this book aren’t meant to replace professional treatment for those who need it. That said, they can be used in conjunction with therapy to bring renewal and peace.)
My hope is that that ten years from now, you’ll look back on your own season of stress or defeat and see how God brought you back to center through the rhythms of renewal outlined in this book. My prayer is that you’ll see how these spiritual rhythms enabled you to live a life of peace, passion, and purpose.