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free-to-fallDepression. Anxiety. Lack of purpose. These are some of the issues addressed in Rebekah Lyons book Freefall to Fly: a Breathtaking Journey Toward a Life of Meaning. Lyons is cofounder of Q Ideas, a nonprofit Christian leadership organization. Lyons will be featured as a keynote speaker at the 2015 Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma’s Women’s Retreat. In this vulnerable memoir, Lyons shares her journey involving a move from Atlanta, Ga. to Manhattan, N.Y. where she is faced with a season of crippling depression, anxiety and panic attacks. Coupled with her quest to find meaning and calling in the midst of motherhood, it isn’t until she surrenders that she finds freedom.

Women today face pressures that are taking a heavy toll. Many struggle with depression or deal with the underlying angst of losing sense of purpose and self-identity. The rise of loneliness, depression and anxiety among females in our culture is at an all-time high.

* According to the National Institute of Mental Health women are 70 percent more likely than men to experience depression during the course of their lifetimes.

* The Journal of American Medical Association indicates that in the 20th century, people who lived in each generation were three times more likely to experience depression than those in the generation before them.

* Lyons states that one in four women will suffer some form of depression in her lifetime, and the majority of women wrestling with this are in the 25-to-45 age bracket.

* Lyons also states that 23 percent of women between 40 and 59 take antidepressants regularly.

What is it about modern culture and its expectations that is breaking women down in unprecedented ways? Perhaps it’s stress of modern life, the pace, a lack of community, the pressure to balance work and family. Are our roles and responsibilities contributing to the fact that we are losing sight of what makes us unique? Lyons suggests that in an attempt to support and help husbands and children find their own meaning and purpose, women are sacrificing finding their own.

Freefall to Fly is written in a style that allows readers to watch Lyons think through her journey. The first part of the book describes her intense struggles while the second part describes her journey of healing. She credits several things:

* God’s presence through the difficult journey

* A weekly gathering with like-minded friends

* Penning a gratitude list

* Unearthing her own set of unique gifts and talents which gave way to understanding her calling

Most importantly, she recognizes that God allowed her to go through this season to help her find meaning for her own life.

It wasn’t until Lyons fully surrendered herself to God’s calling that she experienced freedom. She states, “Each of us must find our own path to totter down as we seek to live out our purpose. We must find those God-given gifts that make us uniquely us, and then pair them with a burden that those gifts fit like a key. When we do, rescue will flood into our lives. And in the deluge, we’ll begin to discover meaning.” In Freefall to Fly, she invites all women to take that first step toward freedom. For it is only when we free-fall that we can truly fly.