It all started with “the crash.” What came after was a transformative examination of a heart burnt out by performance and production and renewed by rest and spiritual formation.
In Learning to Be: Finding Your Center After the Bottom Falls Out, Juanita Campbell Rasmus delves into her own story with wisdom and wit, detailing what led to the major depressive episode that left her bedridden and the steps she took to heal.
I was eager for this book, as I have often navigated the tension of my own perfectionism alongside my ongoing depression diagnosis. I frequently saw my story in the pages of Rasmus’ story as she offered simple, accessible truths from a diverse array of traditions and experiences. A discerning and refreshing approach given her audience, Rasmus does not seek to explain the complex intricacies of mental illness or argue the compatibility of depression, anxiety, and faith, but instead holds out a hand of welcome. ”I was learning to be still, to be calm, to be cared for, and to know God’s love,” she writes. “I (had) created my own rules to live by that would keep me on the perfect path to righteousness. Yet the price of my drivenness was my physical and emotional health.”
In inviting the reader to gently and slowly examine their own self-made “perfect path to righteousness,” Rasmus’ tone is warm and absent of shame. The spiritual practices she introduces are not overwhelming and instead framed as unpretentious, life-giving rhythms for the soul.
This book is a tender gift for those who feel undone by their constant doing, for those who are on the brink of their own crash, and for those struggling to come up for air after the fall. It is for those who love an overachiever who might need permission to know their value as distinct from their contributions. And it is for those who simply need the compassionate and confident reminder that they are beloved. (IVP)