Several bloggers that I follow shared about this book (You Are Free) by Rebekah Lyons a couple months ago, sharing that it encouraged them in thinking through what it means to walk in freedom. I'll admit, I was skeptical about this book. Sometimes I avoid books if they seem like they might be "fluffy". This book was definitely not fluffy, but it's also not what I expected.
When I see a book labeled You Are Free with a foreword written by Ann Voskamp, I expect the book to be the working out of deep theological truths a la the Book of Romans style. I expected to read a book that seeks to help women understand what it means to walk in the freedom of Christ as described in so many different passages of the Bible. What I found in this book was different from what I expected, but no less helpful.
You Are Free is not a book that takes specific passages and shows their implications to our lives and how the Bible itself can help us to walk in freedom. This book is one woman sharing vulnerably about the areas in her life where she was not walking in freedom in the identity that she has in Jesus Christ, and some of the ways that the Lord worked in out in her heart. This book is primarily an autobiography of what it looked like for one woman to grow in her relationship with Jesus.
I appreciate learning from other women as they live our their faith in their day to day life, but I did not expect this theme to be the main thrust of the book. While I'm sad that there weren't more practicals or Scriptures in the book that might encourage women to see the ways that they are not walking in freedom from sin, I did appreciate Rebekah Lyons prose and sharing specific things that God has been teaching her about living in freedom. Here are some takeaways that I had while reading this book:
Remember the Joy of the Lord
Rebekah takes a chapter to talk about how she realized that she had lost her joy. In doing, doing, and doing, she no longer felt the joy of the Lord in her life, and her children saw it in their mother's smile. Reading this chapter was like an alarm, and I found myself thinking and praying through, "Am I intentional in remembering the joy that I have in Jesus?" The answer is that I often do not take the time to remember the joy of my salvation and the joy that I have in Jesus.
This chapter made me think through and evaluate whether I make intentional space in my life for thanksgiving and offering prayers of thankfulness to God. It made me think through the ways in which I can enjoy Jesus more. It made me think through whether my prayer focus for May should be thinking through the things that rob me from my joy in the Lord.
As an added bonus, when my joy is in Jesus, it is easier for me to walk in freedom from sin, because when I give into sin, I believe the lie that it will satisfy me or bring me more joy than Jesus. And it never does. Thinking through what it looks like to put my joy in the Lord is immensely helpful in terms of living free and remembering who I am in Jesus.
Short Prayers Can Be Powerful
Rebekah shared a number of prayers that she wrote in her journal as she was working through walking in freedom from anxiety and depression and panic attacks. I really appreciated her sharing these short prayers. Something as simple as Lord, please show up in my sleep has a lot of power. It made me realize how often I forget to pray or talk to the Lord and I can simply talk to Him, even if it's a short prayer like Lord, please help me to remember who I am in Jesus.
The Lord Sets Us Free So That We Can Help Others Walk In Freedom
Something I appreciated about Rebekah Lyons' testimony in this book is how the Lord setting her free from anxiety and panic attacks has actually allowed her to love and care for others and point them towards the freedom that they can have in Jesus. She shared a story in which she was on a plane and a woman started having a panic attack. God used that as an opportunity for her to love and care for that woman and walk her through the panic attack and then even share about Jesus with her. She is now able to use her freedom as a means to help others to walk in freedom as well.
When it comes to recommending this book, I would recommend this book to women that enjoy reading about someone else's walk of faith. I gleaned a lot of nuggets from Rebekah Lyons and her relationship with Jesus, and there is much that we can learn and be encouraged by from other followers of Jesus. However, I would not recommend this as the first book someone should read if they want to walk in freedom from sin or want to know what it means to be made free by Jesus Christ.
For someone that wants to walk in freedom and know what it means to be free, I would recommend reading Romans 6 or Colossians 3 or both of those books of Scripture in their entirety.
If you want to learn more about the book or even read the first chapter, you can do so here: You Are Free.
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