There’s this thing called contentment, and I still have a series in the back of my mind that includes this subject, but sometimes “contentment” is taken too far.
People cry from hearts bursting with emptiness, “What am I supposed to be doing?” and others say, “You can always pray!” “Do the best with what you have!” “Be content!”
Indeed, prayer and faithfulness are powerful, but too often a glib exhortation kills God-given dreams before they have a chance to take root. It stabs cotton in people’s ears to prevent them from hearing God’s whispers of something more. It convinces them to be content with the emptiness.
Restlessness drives us to find life. The longing for meaning, the ache for relationship, and the cry for answers takes us on a journey into places of which we’ve never dreamed.
What if the Israelites had decided to stay in Egypt and accept their lot (Exodus 12)? What if they had not followed their unrest into the land of promise? This seeking, searching, longing you feel is not meant to be ignored. It is intended to lead you out of Egypt and into your inheritance.
I do advise praying copiously during seasons of unrest. What I do not advise is stopping there, keeping your feet firmly planted in the determination to be content.
Being faithful does not mean being complacent. Pray with the intention of moving beyond what is comfortable into the places where God is calling you, physically or relationally. Pray with a heart open to the work of the Holy Spirit. Follow the trail of unrest into the depth of the goodness of God.
Numerous times, people have sat at our worn dining table and talked about the restlessness in their hearts. I am caught by the beauty of God at work every time. As I’ve written before, I believe that the soul’s search for God is really His search for us, because our longing for Him can only come from Him.
“Thou hast made us for thyself, O Lord, and our heart is restless until it finds its rest in thee.”
― Augustine of Hippo, Confessions
God’s pursuit and plan is a mystery to be revered. Take the risk; don’t be content with slavery. Follow the call into a partnership with God, and a willingness to go where you could never go in your own strength.
Allow the unrest to lead you to the Father, who will walk with you into your promised land.
What feelings of restlessness do you have right now?
2 thoughts on “How unrest leads to life”
Big questions! Contentment can conflict with risk and faith. Your post reminded me of some of my favorite verses in Ps. 107–He satisfies the longing soul, and fills the hungry soul with goodness. Longing and hunger is prerequisite, not condemned. I love that God NEVER scolds us for desire or longing, but shapes them to reflect His own. BUT contentment is a virtue! My motto is to live with holy discontent.
Thanks for the post–it woke up some of my favorite things to think about!
You said it well, Anita! I felt like my post came out clumsy and not quite saying what I wanted to say. But the holy discontent–yes. I want to dream along with God!