Freefall to Fly: 4 Things I Learned About Meaningful Living.
Last month I went to the fabulous Influence conference in Indianapolis and got an opportunity to be a part of a really cool program with Tyndale House Publishers. In a nutshell: read books and post reviews. Grown-up book reports? Yes, please. Sign me up. I was super pumped to see a book that's been in my Amazon wish list forever: Freefall to Fly by Rebekah Lyons. I remember when I first found out about the book, the tag line is what caught me most: "a breathtaking journey toward a life of meaning."
A life of meaning. That's been my heart song for a while.
The memoir is an account of a tumultuous season in Rebekah's life: when her family uprooted their life in the South to the heart of New York City.
It's not just a story about a move to a new city. It's about feeling, and even craving, a new season, and the fear and doubt that accompany a jump into the unknown. It's about worthiness and the struggle to feel enough. It's about uncovering the gifts God has planted in our hearts and finding our identity first and foremost in Him.
I can identify with so much of this, and I found myself weeping over Rebekah's honesty and raw writing.
She talks about wanting that new season, taking the jump toward a wild adventure, eventually getting past the doubts that inevitably come, only to fall further into shadow and darkness and fear. The confusion that comes when you feel your life lacks meaning and you're missing your calling. The weight of carrying burdens. Of never feeling free.
And I know that place. All too well. Since it hit so close to home, I thought I'd collect the biggest takeaways for you, in hopes that you, too, would be encouraged.
1. Stay in the freefall.
Oh do I get that. It's crazy that I'm reading this book at this very moment because I find myself in a very similar place. So often, I think when go through these really rough seasons, our tendency is to find the fastest escape, the easiest way out.
"I was getting it. Stay. To stay in the free fall meant to stop running. To stop avoiding pain. To embrace the struggle. To settling in with the lament. To get cozy with my nemesis. Because it was working something out in me that was buried deep. Locked down for a number of years. wounds that had been planted long ago were starting to show their ugly heads. But I needed to give them room to surface. To let them out." (Chapter 2, page 37)
When you're in the free fall, when you're out of your comfort zone where it's scary and uncertain and nothing makes sense, that's exactly where you're supposed to be. And what's harder than finding a way out is making yourself stay.
2. Awaken to your God-given gifts.
My biggest mission and my greatest fear. There's a struggle between these two thoughts. Figuring out your own shade of awesome so you can change the world and feeling like you'll never actually be good enough to have any kind of impact. Am I the only one? Full of so much hope and so much doubt, all at once?
"The journey toward meaning begins when we unearth our gifts... Sadly for many, like me our uniqueness was squelched by peer pressure, feelings of inadequacy, or disapproval from a parent. We didn't have the chance to explore and develop our gift. It still hangs inside of us like a half-finsihed piece of part... But if we've lost it, forgetten it, or abandoned it along the way, surely God wants us to reclaim it. To stop filling our days with empty distractions that deter us from using our hearts and our souls. To get off the hamster wheel." (Chapter 5, page 93)
To fully use our hearts and souls. Yes. True soul-work is missing because we aren't giving it the space to unfold. Because we are allowing our mess to keep us from truly stepping into our calling. Which bring me to this:
3. Embrace your burden.
"Meaning awakens when we realize our gifts. Meaning is fulfilled when our story finds purpose." (Chapter 8, Page 160)
I struggle with this one all. the. time. Feeling like I can't be of any use to kingdom until I've cleaned myself up. Feeling like I will never truly and properly steward my gifts because I've got too much baggage and mess and junk.
And these words were so soothing to my soul.
"Our truest calling in life comes where our talents and burdens collide... Once we know what we're good at, we must match those things with a deep need in the world." (Chapter 8, pages 159-160)
I love that. Take the gifts God has given you and the mess that your life produces and just mash them all together. That? That's your purpose.
4. Let go.
Once we understand that we have gifts and struggles and that both are necessary for living out or true calling, I think the absolute next step is to just let go. Of plans. Of expectations. Of fears.
"Will you welcome the life that takes you of course?... Because if you do, you will truly live. You will be fully alive. Awakened to a life of reckless abandon, where you bare your heart and should and you don't look back. Where you run wild and free from the bondage of fear. Where you laugh and delight in the place of freedom. Where you live with courage because you have been rescued." (Chapter 9, page 179)
We have been rescued. And that's the whole story, all that matters.
Friends, I adored this book. If you're struggling with meaning, with purpose, with depression and anxiety, go buy this book and soak it up. If you're a worn-out mama or an exhausted wife, go buy this book. If you're in a season of confusion and chaos and uncertainty, go buy this. It'll be worth it, I promise.
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