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Freefall to Fly: A Breathtaking Journey Toward a Life of Meaning
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101 of 103 people found the following review helpful
on April 12, 2013
Format: HardcoverVerified Purchase
There are some good thoughts in this book and for 30-something Christian stay-at-home moms with school age children starting to think about next steps in their individual lives and/or women struggling with depression, it will be helpful. Much of this book reminded me of Sue Monk Kidd's "When the Heart Waits," which was a story of a major transitional period of her life when she learned to let go of the exceedingly high expectations she had set for herself to be the perfect Christian wife/mother/volunteer/part-time worker in a Southern suburb. Both of these author's books are good guides to navigating a period of emotional turmoil.

I do have two reservations about this book. First, it really is for women who have significant means and connections and lots of access to back-up child care and homemaking support and/or a spouse with a very flexible job. I was struck by how much of the book finds the author traveling, working out, drinking coffee, at her book group, on retreat, etc. Second, there's a funny underlying message that comes out of the book, which is that personal achievement (successfully "using your gifts") will bring us fulfillment. If we're not careful, that can just be another layer of busy-ness rather than the surrender to God that the author positions it as. Over time, some women may find that just as tiring as the busy-ness of raising a family.
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56 of 65 people found the following review helpful
Format: Hardcover
I'm not quite sure what to think about this book. While there are many things to appreciate about Rebekah's story, there are more things with which I'm not quite connecting. To be honest, the subtitle to the book, "A Breathtaking Journey Toward a Life of Meaning" is what caught my attention and made me want to read the book. Who doesn't want to live a life of meaning? I'm always interested in knowing what people consider as "a life of meaning"; especially influential people such as Ms Lyons.
Here are some of the things I marked from the book:

"Limitations of the mundane that used to come so easily. This city would push me to get on my knees, to grovel, to fully enter into my weakness. To strike a child's pose. Rest there. In my cries of lament, I heard a word so clearly it almost sounded audible. Stay. What does that even mean? Stay in the freefall. A truth hit me in that moment. All my life. I've been running. Running to the next greatest thing" (pg. 35)
"We aren't depressed because we are getting old; we are depressed in the prime of our lives. During the years when we ought to be making some of our greatest contributions to others and to the world, we are stuck. Caught in a quagmire of confusion, hardly able to put one foot in front of the other. What is going on? And why now? I'm no medical doctor, and I have no degrees in psychology, but I do love to listen to the stories of women. Women who are in the sweet spot of this demographic who are fighting to make sense of their lives. I hear the stories, unpack their pain, and consistently find a common perpetrator. We don't know who we are." (pg. 67)
"Every life path always works this way, crooked and bending with every decision we make. As difficulty presents itself, do we retreat? Do we teeter for a long while? Do we throw in all our chips and blindly jump? Our choice makes all the difference in where we'll end up. The way we respond to this life happening shapes us. It gives way to the trajectory we find ourselves on." (pg. 78-79)

The above quotes give you a good picture of much of the tone of the book. In many places, I feel Ms Lyons paints with too wide a brush in her observations of women and the "state" we are in. I appreciate her raw honesty about her experiences (especially those interactions with her down syndrome child and the tender love between her as a mother and this son) and her transparency in sharing them is commendable and will be a help to many. However, all women, especially all stay-at-home moms, are not depressed, struggling through their days wondering, "Why am I here?"

I guess Chapter Six is the one that left me the most confused as to exactly what Ms Lyons was trying to say. In this chapter, Ms Lyons recounts a trip she and her husband took to "steal away" for a while. Much of her book seems to be about this need to "steal away" and "find yourself"...to escape the mundane for a while. But what concerns me is this: Ms Lyons writes very poetically. Her prose is beautiful. And she asks contemplative questions that make the reader think. But she talks circles around real truth. She asks questions like: "What treasure am I seeking?" "What if eternal treasure is engaging what God uniquely created me to do?" "What is more despairing? That our treasure from God exists and we can't find it?"

I just wanted to scream the whole time I was reading this chapter, "The treasure is Christ! The treasure is knowing Him and making Him known!" I continued reading past chapter six to the end of the book hoping that Ms Lyons would finally get to real truth, but unfortunately she never gets there. Her discourse continues down more of the same. Me, myself, and I and what is my destiny and me and I and so on it goes.

Thank you Julie with Handlebar Central for sending me the book in exchange for this review!
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61 of 77 people found the following review helpful
on April 27, 2013
Format: Hardcover
The whole time I read this disappointing book I kept wondering where the adults were. The personal anxiety of one woman, shallow by her own admission, who perceives that her panic attacks must mean God wants her to become a writer may seem like an epiphany to her but shouldn't to anyone else. Her story is very familiar to thousands of (mostly) women who for a variety of reasons find their lives paling in comparison to those around them. But the voice calling one to a career/call of fame and fortune is rarely misconstrued as God and certainly shouldn't be promoted in print. Common sense and a grasp of basic theology brings into question whether the author understands what the bible means when the word "call" is used.

Also, the mental health angle falls flat. The author makes it clear she has a temporary form of mental disease so it's not clear why she deems herself an authority on the subject when talking to the 1/4 of women with mental illness. Those women often have a more permanent form of mental health issues and this book is patronizing and dismissive towards them. For example, she speaks lovingly about her father who has been battling chronic mental health issues for years but in the next breath tells women that their anxiety and depression is due to their resistance to following God's call. Is the same true for her father? Is the chapter devoted to him a thinly veiled admonition that he isn't close enough to God and should follow her much more Godly example? The story in which she relates her father-in-law agreeing with his impertinent grandchild that he "buried" his artistic gift by not accepting a scholarship years ago made me cringe, both for the disrespect of the child and to the man. Did it not occur to anyone involved that perhaps this man's sacrifice was a far greater gift than a life of art on the walls? It's telling that the author didn't even consider that perhaps her father-in-law may have been following his own call, just one that wouldn't make him rich or famous, like, say, writing might.

With a confusing argument on mental health, a simplistic and naive assessment of the lessons learned upon moving to New York City, and a very incomplete understanding of God's definition of "call," the book makes this reviewer wonder where the adults--be they friends, family, pastors, or editor--were when pen went to paper.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on June 21, 2013
Format: Hardcover
Rebekah Lyons' new book, "Freefall to Fly: A Breathtaking Journey Toward a Life Of Meaning" is a memoir based on her life as she and her family make a big move from Atlanta to New York. It's filled with authentic glimpses into her battle with depression, anxiety, control, and the search for true meaning. It says, "But life looked radically different when her family relocated to the heart of Mew York City. She was forced to navigate a new normal with three kids, two toy poodles, and a minivan. Blindsided by crippling despair, Rebekah wrestled with bigger questions women often ask, Why am I here? Does life matter?"

I enjoyed most of this book. It was fairly slow in some parts and the language is a little flowery, but overall I liked it! I think it would be a great book to read through with a friend or small group for a laid-back discussion. I think most young, stay at home moms like myself struggle with the questions about life that Rebekah brings to light. Talking about social media, she says, "These worlds are fun to create. They allow us to imagine a world that's a little brighter, fuller, shinier, fancier, and more fashionable than the ones we actually live in...These alternate realities fill our waking hours and give the impression that we are contributing to the world when deep down we feel unremarkable."

I was also struck by something one of her friend's said. It was, "Many people discover their calling, but sometimes you still have to wait for it, and that can be quite difficult. But God taught us to wait and learn during that time. He helped me commit to joy and being present. He strengthened me to embrace the now." I think it can be overwhelming to know that you want to do something "great" for God and feel like you are "just" living life with little ones. This book gave me encouragement to be content with the now, but not to stop dreaming about what else the Lord has in store for me and my family once the hard, but amazing time of raising my little ones is over.

I recommend this book to anywoman struggling with anxiety or the feeling of not truly grasping what it means to live life to the fullest. It's not just for moms or young people. I think it's a book for anyone wanting more of God and what He wants for their life.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on April 23, 2013
Format: Hardcover
What is it about? This is a memoir in which Rebekah Lyons candidly shares her journey. When Lyons and her husband feel compelled to trade their life in the South for a new adventure in NYC, it brings on a fear, depression and anxiety. While struggling with these foreign & debilitating feelings, she also has 3 children and 2 dogs to tend to. Not only did she survive the darkest moments, but she learned how to thrive. She didn't go on this journey alone though. She had her husband and children, many friends, and powerful experiences at retreats and events. She also relied a lot on God. The big question Rebekah Lyons is asking & answering here is "What is my purpose?".

What did I think? I liked this book. In parts, I almost felt like it was my story. I moved from a comfortable life in the South (though, I moved to a more rural locale in Wisconsin... not exactly the bustling metropolis that is NYC). I fell into depression. I have struggled with identity and purpose. It is nice to know there is a light at the end of the tunnel. I also found it interesting that, towards the end, it is suggested that our "bliss" is covering up, or distracting us from, our "fears" and it's our fears that we should delve into because, out of that, we are more likely to find our "purpose".

While I don't know that I agree completely with Lyons's position on anti-depressants (she is staunchly opposed), I can respect that, just like the rest of Freefall to Fly, it is her opinion. While anti-depressants weren't her solution, others might not have the spontaneous religious experience that she had and medical assistance may be necessary for them. Having tried anti-depressants myself, I do think they served a purpose for me for a short period of time, but I never saw them as a long-term solution.

Bottom line: I liked Rebekah Lyons's voice and her overall message.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on April 9, 2013
Format: Hardcover
Are you stuck in a rut, feel like life is meaningless? Rebekah takes us on a personal leap of faith with Freefall to Fly. I think we all have these huge dreams as teenagers, that we'll get married to the perfect husband, have 2.5 kids, and of course, have that cozy home with the white picket fence. Hello? It's time to emerge from your dream world!

Reality can seem harsh at times and make some resentful. We all have our struggles whether it be trying to keep up with the Ideal woman, which doesn't exist and/or suffer from anxiety and depression. Life isn't easy. However, there is hope and a shoulder to lean on with God! We need NOT to be fixated on our disappointments but pick ourselves up, brush ourselves off and continue walking in another direction.

You will relate to many issues Rebekah, herself faced. It is truly inspiring to read her journey to tranquility. Embrace your calling and listen to what God has to say. You may just be in awe of what is offered!

Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book in order to facilitate my review. No other compensation was received. The opinions expressed above are my own.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
Format: Hardcover
I loved this book so very much! It was an easy read and she touched on so much of what women struggle with today in a fast paced world. We're all fighting for purpose and not to be put into any box made by someone else. She brought humor and real life examples of what life looks like even when you trust God and you have to learn how to work it out in every area of your life.
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11 of 14 people found the following review helpful
Format: Hardcover
As a former housebound agoraphobic due to chronic anxiety attacks and concurrent depression it was difficult for me to read Rebekah Lyons Freefall to Fly A Breathtaking Journey. Her book covers her struggles with anxiety and depression but she does not seek professional help and discourages anyone who uses antidepressants. Instead of being uplifting I felt this book proposed it was wrong to get the appropriate treatment which is available. Unfortunately there is a lot about mental illness she does not know and should not be making unfounded suggestions. Its sad because this just contributes to the ignorance that is already associated with depression. I am a Christian who believes that God blesses doctors with the knowledge they have to treat them, Depression is a chemical imbalance in the brain, therefore medication is given to stabilize it's victims just as a person who is diabetes needs insulin. Once I got the appropriate treatment which was a combination of therapy, medication and prayers I overcame the agoraphobia. Mine is such a success story that it ended up in The Detroit News. To discourage anyone who is suffering from depression from seeking treatment is just wrong.
This is one of the few books I highly do not recommend.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on March 19, 2014
Format: HardcoverVerified Purchase
I was excited to read this after hearing the author speak. What a disappointment to read. The book mainly focused on her anxiety and depression. Which is a part of her story, but I didn't feel she told how Jesus helped her during this time. It was more anxiety stories and her feeling to find her calling. She has three kids, one w special needs. How about the calling of your family??? Also felt it was another bash on always looking for more in life, rather than counting our current blessings and season of life.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on April 11, 2013
Format: Hardcover
I "so needed" this book! To know that I'm not the only one going through these thoughts and emotions.
I found it interesting that Rebekah talks about our Pinterest fantasies. The feelings of inadequacy that women get because their homes may not be as neat or as organized as those on Pinterest. Or the fantasy that all women are exercising and thin. When in reality we all struggle in some way.
We miss the fact that we live in a "fake" world. Electronics can be a curse because we tend to forget about "real" people and only see the fake. Yeah! That family Christmas card looks perfect after it's been photoshopped.
This is a great book to help us women, especially, to see the reality of life.
On page 157, Rebekah mentions what her friend Shannon tells her, "Perhaps your anxiety comes from fear of not knowing your purpose."
Isn't that good for us all? Do women overall fear because of face book, photoshopped pics and Pinterest that we're not quite up to snuff? That one question by Shannon made me really think! Also, Rebekah writes about trusting God when you're alone with three kids, your husband is miles away on a business trip and your oldest begins to gasp for breathe and you need to get to ER now. God is with you no matter where you are in life. This is great read that will encourage you, as a woman of God, to seek Him and He will give you the courage to surrender to His will.
*This book was provided by Handlebar Publishing*
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