“Come to me all you who are weary and burdened and I will give you rest.”Matthew 11:28 NIV
RESTLESSNESS, a reality in a busy world.
What is restlessness? Is it just depravity of sleep? Is it running the rat race until total exhaustion is reached and the gas tank reveals a big E (EMPTY)?
I think we all experience physical restlessness and can relate to it often in our busy lives. But what about spiritual restlessness?
A website on the internet defined spiritual restlessness as “the unsatisfied longing of a man for God”.
Let that sink in for a moment.
What does it look like to be restless in our spiritual lives?
- Tossing and turning in the spirit. Battling our will versus God’s will.
- Deprivation in our prayer life. Wanting God’s help and friendship but not reaching out for it.
- Longing for His presence but not sensing it in the things surrounding our life.
- Being in darkness and feeling hopeless that His light is nowhere to be found.
I’m certain the list is a more exhaustive list. These are some I personally experience.
Throughout my spiritual journey I weave in and out of spiritual restlessness, just like I do physically. I long and desire deeply for God’s presence and sometimes I don’t feel it.
Frustration sets in when I fight with my will versus His. Sometimes His doesn’t make sense or I don’t sense direction that seems satisfying to me. It doesn’t fit in the box, called MY life.
In my mind, I know when I pray, I’m calmer and life tends to be more in line, I still don’t do it as I should. I don’t allow God to walk with me as my guide and friend. In fact, I begin to rely more on the physical friend than the one who knows me inside and out and will bring goodness in every detail of my life.
Life’s circumstances! The outside world! There are things in my life that constantly afflict me and darkness surrounds me. This often feels like an endless tunnel where no light exists, the exit sign will never be visible.
All of these things exhaust my spirit and no matter how much my soul longs for God, desires Him, it runs on EMPTY. When it runs on E, my life seems to be out of whack. All I want is to rest, to rest in God.
Several weeks ago, I heard this song Restless by Audrey Assad (link is below). I resonated so much with this song. At first, I didn’t realize the true meaning as it pertained to my life. The more I listened, the more I sang it to the top of my lungs and the more the song sunk into my soul. The light bulb in my brain finally went off. I suffered from “spiritual restlessness”. I’ve been longing for God immensely lately and my spirit has been empty.
How do we fill the tank up?
The simple answer – REST IN GOD!
How do we find rest in God?
Sit with God
Depending on what your prayer life typically is, take half of your typical time and just sit. Don’t speak any words, no petitions for all your friends and family. Just sit. Allow God to speak to you, to your heart. Or just let Him sit beside you. Maybe even make space for Him to sit with you. If not, know He’s there waiting for you to lay your head in His hands.
Ask God His Will
After you have sat in stillness with God, ask Him about your day, the circumstances you are battling with. Ask Him to allow you to see, hear and know His will throughout your day. Trust that He will guide you in it. Trust that He will bring light in the dark crevices surrounding you because He is painting His canvas in the darkness (a message I heard this weekend from speaker Natalie Mott).
I recently found myself very restless. My prayer life was deprived, I haven’t physically stepped into my church and I wanted to isolate myself from my community. My life circumstances seem endless and that particular tunnel really doesn’t seem to have an exit. Although I may not feel God in these moments, I long for Him deeply. Until I realize I need to rest in Him, my spirit remains on empty.
Filling the spiritual tank is extremely important because I think if we don’t, we tend to stay in the tunnel, curled up in a corner.
Methods that work for me to help fill the tank
- Going to the chapel and sitting with Jesus.
- Reading something from scripture daily.
- Taking a walk outside and asking God to reveal Himself to me in what lies before my eyes or through the air I breathe.
- Saying a quick prayer before I’m about to engage in something that I know is generally tough for me.
- Reaching out to my community in love and fellowship – receiving and giving.