Restlessness

 

“You have made us for Yourself, and our hearts are restless till they find their rest in You.”

St. Augustine of Hippo

I have a lot of chili recipes. I have ones that call for hamburger, round steak, or chicken. The type of beans also vary in the recipes. It’s as if I’m on the lookout for the ideal chili recipe. Life can be like that: we’re always searching for the perfect whatever in life that will fulfill us. And until we find contentment, we will always be restless. In fact, restlessness stems from a heart that is not satisfied.

Restlessness motivates us to want a change, something more, something different. We think maybe there, we’ll find peace and contentment. Maybe there, our longings will be satisfied. Maybe there, it will be enough and we will find rest. But we will never be at rest until we find our rest in God. We will never be satisfied until we find our satisfaction in God. We will never be fully content until our contentment makes its home in God. Until we grasp this, we will be in a continual state of striving, like me having several chili recipes, always in search of a better one.

The Apostle Paul in Philippians 4:11-12 says he learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether he possessed a lot or had very little. It didn’t matter what circumstance-trial or triumph-Paul was in; he was still content. Paul had mined one of the greatest treasures, contentment no matter what. He had discovered that “God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.” (II Corinthians 9:8)

King David also understood the premise that contentment is found in God alone. In Psalm 34:8-10 he shares that the Lord is good, that we lack nothing when we fear Him, and when we seek God, we will lack no good thing.

Before I got engaged, I told my college roommate, I’ll be happy when I’m married. I went into marriage seeking what I could get from John, not what I could give to him. Another insight into contentment, is to look not at what we can get out of a situation or relationship, but instead focus on what we can give, to God and others. When our purpose is to give and not to get, then restlessness flees and contentment alights itself within our hearts. We need to discern if our purpose in life is all about us or all about Him. Fulfillment comes when our life revolves around God.

Stop searching. Stop seeking. Stop striving. We will find our destination of peace, rest, and contentment when we arrive at the cul-de-sac called God. That’s where life really begins!

“No soul can have rest until it finds created things are empty. When the soul gives up all for love, so that it can have Him that is all, then it finds true rest.

Julian of Norwich

Relevant Reflections:

1. Where are you trying to find contentment?

2. What are you restless about which causes you to strive?

3. What steps can you take to find your satisfaction in God alone?

 

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