Refresh: Embracing a Grace-Paced Life in a World of Endless Demands
by Shona and David Murray
It’s hard to know where to begin – I love this book. Shona Murray is a Christian wife, mother and physician who approaches the idea of a grace paced life based on personal experience as well as drawing on her medical expertise.
The first words in the introduction draw me in. Overwhelmed. Exhausted. Depressed. Panicky. Stressed. Burned Out. Broken. Paralyzed. Drowning. Empty. I certainly relate to those words as do many women that I know. And wouldn’t we love to exchange those for peaceful, calm, joyful, content, quiet, rested and refreshed?
This book offers a pathway to finding the peace and rest we all need. Murray lays it out like a gym – in fact it’s called “Refresh Gym”. Using the analogy of different stations in a gym that we go through to get physically from here to there, Murray offers a series of stations that start with a reality check and then move through nine stations to allow us to consider if we want to be healthy again – or maybe for the first time. Her practical advice in each area is warm and helpful.
She helps us identify physical, mental, relational, moral, spiritual and emotional warning signs that tell us we are headed for a crash. Then in the next chapters, she discusses a number of important topics like the importance of rest and sleep – did you know you should even have a theology of sleep? She uses her knowledge of medicine and Scripture to help us understand why we must learn to rest well. That it’s not a sign of weakness but of wisdom and strength to get a good night’s sleep and take regular Sabbath and annual rest times.
I particularly appreciated her discussion of depression and anxiety. Those who suffer from depression and anxiety are too often shamed for not having enough faith or trust in God. Thankfully, she gives us the understanding of God’s grace that allows us to use modern medications if that is what will help us. She also talks about the importance of a good diet and regular, moderate exercise.
Those are just some of the topics in Refresh. As an RN, I appreciate the medical perspective Murray brings. And as a woman who tends to push myself to the limit, this book really helps me think through what a grace-paced life looks like. And it certainly feels better than exhaustion and burn-out.