What is restlessness? It’s that anxious feeling that we get that makes us unsatisfied some aspect of our lives. We can become restless in our jobs, our relationships, and in specific situations that are not working out the way we hoped or planned. Restlessness can motivate us to make positive changes if we stop to observe the source of it and then use it to create a new action plan. It is usually our dissatisfied feelings that cause us to seek God or move out of our comfort zone. God can use restlessness to push us toward our purpose and to guide us if we will seek Him. One of the best things we can do when restless feelings arise is turn to our creator and share our feelings with Him. We can offer our restless feelings up to God and ask Him to give us a clear vision and direction to take us from anxiety to peace. We can leave whatever is bothering us at the altar and allow God to take these feelings and transform them into something positive in our lives.
We can also respond to restlessness in ways that will hinder our growth and create fear. When anxious feelings arise, if we focus on the problem instead of the solution (Christ), the restlessness can become quite overwhelming. It can even cause us to react in ways that are detrimental to ourselves and others. For example, in Exodus 32, the Israelites responded to restlessness by creating an idol in the form of a golden calf. Shortly after God had delivered them from Egypt, Moses went up to Mount Zion to abide in the presence of God. It wasn’t too long afterward that the Israelites began to lose their faith and trust in God. They began to complain that Moses had abandoned them and God had forsaken them. Then in order to reduce the anxiety and restlessness that was swelling within them, they held a big party, collected massive amounts of gold, and created a golden calf and began to worship it. As you can imagine, God looked upon the Israelites with disappointment and anger.
Our restless feelings also act as a litmus test for our faith. We may say that we trust God and will wait upon Him, that is, until we are faced with a difficult situation. At that moment, our trust and faith may fly out the window as we attempt to quell our anxious and fearful feelings with worry, food, anger, depression, or other destructive behaviors.
I also struggle with cycles of restlessness. Though nothing apparent appears to be wrong, I just become dissatisfied with my present circumstances and want to change something. Often times I believe that I need to move to a new area or even change careers. If you have ever seen the movie Chocolat, every time the North Wind blew, the main character would pack up her belongs and she and her daughter would move to a new town and start life all over. They were never able to establish any long lasting roots or support. When my restlessness would come, that’s just how I would feel, like I needed to get away from my life as it was. The problem is that I was going to take myself and my restlessness to my new destination.
Recently, when I was going through one of my restlessness episodes and wanted to make a drastic change, the Lord spoke to my heart and gave me a different perspective.
As I wrote in my journal the Lord impressed the following words on my heart…
“You don’t need anything but Me. Come to Me all who are burdened and of a heavy heart and I will give you rest. Changing your circumstance won’t rid you of the restlessness in your heart; you’ll just take that with you. Instead, root out the restlessness and you can find peace in all situations. Root out fear and you can stand in faith. Root out negativity and worry and you shall find peace remaining. For I only give you enough grace for today. Tomorrow is not known, so why concern yourself any further. Are your needs met today? Then all is well and if they are not met, ask me to meet them and then trust me to do so. A little unease, a little hardship will not kill you, but will only make you stronger and more dependent upon me. Therefore rejoice, not in the hardship, but in your ability to endure it, knowing that I will never leave you or forsake you. I will never leave you empty handed for long if your trust is in Me and you turn to Me. I will cause you to see miracles that can only be performed when need meets opportunity. For without need you go about never feeling any discomfort, but when need arises, so does restlessness, but instead of giving into the fear, come to me, seek me, follow after me, and I will sustain you and met the need and you will know that there is a God in the universe who hears your cries, is closer than a brother, and loves you without end. How else will you learn this?”
If you want to live in peace, root out restlessness from your heart. When our hearts are pure and at peace we don’t need anything outside of us to make us feel complete and whole. When we are grounded in Christ, our circumstances don’t need to change in order to feel secure.
Whenever I go through periods of inner turmoil or anxiety, it’s not time to go outer but to go inner. Through being still, quiet contemplation, and Christian meditation, I take time to look inside my heart to see what’s pulling or motivating me away from my center in Christ. Once I discover what it is, I work on getting rid of that culprit instead of changing some external aspect of my life. If you are feeling anything other than God’s peace, joys, and prosperity, find out what’s stealing your serenity, root it out, and throw it away.