We all face moments, weeks, months, or even years when anxiety and panic come crashing into our lives. Thankfully, God has provided simple rhythms to help us navigate these times and come through with greater health, peace, and even joy. The rhythms of renewal help sustain us emotionally, spiritually, relationally, and even vocationally.
The group leader, read the introduction to the group before showing the video for this session.
Lin was always an energetic, passionate, joyful girl. All through grade school she made friends easily, excelled in her classes, and even had time for sports and fun activities. At the core of her life was a deep and authentic love for Jesus and the people in her life. You might say that things just came easily for Lin.
That is why her parents were surprised and confused when her transition to high school was so difficult. Fear seemed to move into her heart overnight and confidence evaporated. Where she had been peaceful, anxiety took hold. Within a few weeks, this was impacting her physical well-being, her sleep patterns, and the condition of her skin. In addition, her relationships changed as she pulled into herself and began avoiding friends.
Lin and her parents talked and prayed about all she was experiencing. There did not seem to be any major event that caused these problems. It just all descended unannounced and uninvited. Lin’s parents assured her that God was with her and Jesus was ready and able to help her through this confusing and painful time.
God is in the business of pushing back the darkness.
Cynthia had been married for more than a decade and loved being a wife, and mom, and using her many gifts to serve others. She had always struggled with anxiety, worry, and fears. She had learned to press down these feelings, hold them back, stay busy, and manage them. She figured this was just the way life worked. Her mom, in some honest conversations, had told Cynthia that the women in their family “all dealt with this kind of thing.” So, she pressed on, tried not to complain, and lived with her pain.
Then, the dam broke. Throughout a busy and intense December, with lots of family responsibilities, infrequent sunshine, and stress over finances, Cynthia realized she could not hold back the fears and anxiety. Like a wave, for the first time, all these feelings came to the surface and it was almost paralyzing. All she could do was look up and cry out to Jesus, “Help me, I can’t handle my own life.”
TALK ABOUT IT
What are some of the things in our world that are causing anxiety and worry in the hearts of people?
Tell about a person you love and care about who knows Jesus but has still dealt with anxiety. How did their anxiety impact their life and those around them?
The rhythms of renewal help sustain us emotionally, spiritually, relationally, and even vocationally.
Watch Session One: Rhythms of Renewal
As you watch the teaching segment for this session, use the following outline to record anything that stands out to you.
Concepts modeled in Scripture… Rest, Restore, Connect, Create
Input Rhythms… Fill me, Lord
Output Rhythms… Use me, Lord
God Created with Rhythm… Evening, morning, and another day
From the beginning God followed a pattern of rhythm: Day and night, land and sea, earth and sky, sun and moon, light and dark.
Examples of Rhythm
1 Corinthians 10:13
The Example of Jesus… A life of rhythm
Connect… The one whom Jesus loved, Lazarus
Parables… The Sower, Prodigal Son
When we follow God’s rhythm, it leads to more rhythm.
- Tell about a time when anxiety, worry, or fear came crashing into your life uninvited and unexpected. How did this impact your life?
- How does rhythm bring peace and calm in a world that can feel out of control and haphazard? Tell about one rhythm (of any kind) in your life that gives birth to peace and calm.
God created rhythm.
- Look up and read aloud the following passage:1 Corinthians 10:13
Temptations, stress, hard times, and anxiety are part of life. They can throw us out of rhythm. Tell about a time when you got out of rhythm due to a stressful or difficult situation. What did it take to get your rhythm back and find peaceagain?
When we face anxiety and stress, these are not shocking exceptions, they are just part of life.
- Look up and read aloud the following passages: Luke 6:12-13 and Exodus 20:8-11
Why do you think God takes rest and refreshment so seriously? What is one step you can take to make regular rest a consistent part of your life?
God pours into us in the still and silent places so He can pour us out into the world He loves.
- Look up and read the following passage: 1 Corinthians 6:19-20
It is easy to become overextended and forget to care for our bodies. Why do you think God is concerned that we are careful to restore our bodies and tend to our physical health? What is one step you could take toward physical restoration in your life?
- We live in a radically connected world where many people feel less connected than ever. How did Jesus reveal the importance of connecting when He walked on this earth? What can you do to connect in more regular and meaningful ways with the people God places in your life?
- God spoke and all things came into existence. Jesus spoke with creativity and unleashed fresh vision and heavenly truth. What are ways we can be more creative with our words, our time, and our God-given abilities?
Learn to say these words from the depths of your soul: “Jesus, I come under your covering of peace.”
Spend time in your group praying together. The group leader may pray over the group or ask for volunteers. Below are some suggested prayer prompts:
- *Thank God for calling you to rest, being an example of rest, and making rest part of the rhythm of life.
- *Ask God to give you discipline to follow his rhythm of restoration as you seek to honor him with how you care for your body.
- *Invite the Holy Spirit to take you to deeper places of connecting with the people God has placed in your life.
- *Ask Jesus to unleash the creative potential he has placed in you in fresh, new, beautiful ways.
- *Pray for the members of your group to step fully and joyfully into these rhythms over the coming weeks as you meet together.
In times of anxiety and worry, try saying this, “Jesus… Jesus… Jesus… Jesus!”
Group leader, read the following wrap-up as you close your group.
What a joy to learn about how God created the whole universe with rhythm built into the very fabric of our world and lives. Let’s all do our best to make time, before we meet again, to engage in some of the exercises provided here in our study guide. Also, as we prepare for the next time we gather, seek to notice how well you rest, or what keeps you from resting.
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How about those rhythms? We can bear fruit we never thought possible when we observe the four major rhythms Rebekah introduces to us. Is there a Rhythm you are eager to adopt in your life? What did you think of session one? Come share your thoughts!