Dealing with Restlessness
By Steve Hearts
Restlessness is a sensation we all experience at different points in our lives. A common reason for restlessness in the Christian walk is born out of a desire to find God’s highest will in our lives and to discover how to best reach our full potential. I’ve been dealing with this very sensation a lot lately.
There are things I’m certain that God has called me to do, which I’m quite anxious to get started on—such as start a healing ministry and break into writing. But it’s a matter of knowing when God’s perfect timing is and if the conditions are just right in order to avoid jumping ahead of Him.
Then there are my own personal desires. I’d like a companion with whom to share my life. Also, part of me wants to be closer to family members my ministry has kept me away from for years. I want to strengthen ties with them and catch up on lost time. I have questioned if these desires are part of God’s plan for my life and if I will be able to pursue them along with the calling He’s given me.
Although the outreach ministry I’m currently involved in has truly increased in fruitfulness, I’ve felt a growing inkling within me that it’s time to move on to something else, sort of like the way I graduated from one grade to another in school. This raises the question: Is this God’s voice speaking to me or merely my own emotions? Is it truly time to change and move on, or am I meant to remain where I’m at for a while longer?
I went through a period where these questions turned my mind into a spinning vortex, causing confusion and frustration. But recently I became aware that although restlessness of this type is sometimes God’s voice speaking to us about something, He doesn’t want us to live in confusion and frustration. He promises that if we come to Him, we will find rest to our souls.1 My restlessness was increasing to the point of robbing me of my happiness, joy, and peace of mind. God wants us to have peace and a sound state of mind.2 I’m now in the process of reducing this restlessness with the Lord’s help, so that it doesn’t weigh me down.
Here are some of the steps He’s shown me to take in this direction:
The confusion and frustration brought on by my restlessness was largely due to the fact that I kept it all to myself. I bottled it up inside without sharing it with anyone. By nature, I’m not a particularly good communicator. I always look for an excuse to not be totally open, and even hope that people will eventually read my mind. This “hope” has never materialized. I know perfectly well that it’s my own pride that holds me back from being open and honest with others. Although I’m blessed to have a personal connection with the Lord, being honest with others about my restlessness has helped me a lot. God very often speaks to me through their advice and perspective.
It pays to come to the Lord with an open mind and without any will of my own, if I truly want to know what His highest and best will is. The abandoning of my own will is no easy task. This is why, during such times with the Lord when I’m earnestly seeking His will, I repeat Jesus’ words from Gethsemane over and over: “Nevertheless, not my will, but Thine be done.”3 Each time I repeat it, I ask Him to help me truly mean it, so that it’s not merely a “vain repetition.”
I may come to the Lord seeking answers to my restlessness and not receive all the answers I’m hoping for. I may only receive part of what I’m requesting. At one point I felt like I’d run into a stone wall and didn’t know where to go. Why couldn’t the Lord just give me the whole kit and caboodle instead of merely part of the revelation? The answer was found in my devotional reading for that day, which was based on Habakkuk 2:3: “For the vision is yet for an appointed time… Though it tarry, wait for it; because it will surely come, it will not tarry.” The indication could not have been clearer. The answers I was still searching for would come to me at God’s appointed time. All I had to do was wait. Since then I’ve received some answers which arrived just when God knew I needed them. They could not have come any sooner or any later.
For example, at that time I was writing many articles and submitting them to various websites. I found this very fulfilling, but I felt certain that it would soon lead to another step in my pursuit of writing. I just couldn’t quite put my finger on it. I’d always wanted to write a book, but had no idea what it would contain. However, just recently, after several more articles were written, I received the exciting idea, which was like a revelation to me, to take my articles and modify them so they take on the form of chapters, and combine them into one volume. This project is currently underway. This revelation gave me faith to continue waiting on the Lord and believing that my remaining questions would be answered in His perfect time.
Last but not least, I must learn to accept the rest that the Lord wants to give me. This is something I’m still working on mastering. It has proven most effective to tell the Lord over and over, “I accept the rest that You want to give me.” I keep saying this until it becomes part of me. Initially my heart and mind will protest. I’ll feel things creaking inside me as I try to reverse habitual thought patterns and accept God’s thoughts. But the peace I experience in the end makes it worth it all.
If you are looking for rest to your soul, rest assured that it can be found. He longs to give it to us. We just have to willingly accept and receive it.
- Living in God’s Word
- God’s Healing Balm in Times of Grief
- Hurry and Worry
- One Thing Before All Things
- Faith Like Gold
- Learning About God’s Mercy
- Trusting Through the Silence
- A Life Well Lived, Today and for the Future
- How God Gave Me a Home
- Setting Our Affections on Things Above