Restlessness. Is it the plague of our generation?
With travel more accessible than it ever has been, and the Internet and social media opening our eyes to an endless horizon of what we could be missing out on, have we forgotten the art of satisfaction?
Do we somehow feel entitled to more than what we have right in front of us? Does ‘FOMO’ (fear of missing out) stop us from engaging with the simple joys encountered in an ordinary life?
Or is our restlessness simply urging us onwards to explore and learn and grow? Is it the voice telling us we were made for more, inspiring us to discover within ourselves a God-given capacity for changing the world? Or is it something even deeper?
Between a dream and its fulfilment
Having had the opportunity to travel and spend time in different parts of the world over the last several years, one difficulty I now face on a recurring basis is feeling unsettled when I’m ‘back home’. Half the time I find myself daydreaming of the places I’ve been and the people I miss, and devising plans on where I’ll go next.
The restlessness I often feel isn’t just about wanting to travel for the sake of traveling. It’s a deep longing to fulfill my purpose and leave a mark on the world. I have a lot of love for other countries and cultures, and know I wasn’t made to live in the same place forever. The way my heart comes alive when I travel tells me something about God’s purposes for me.
Through my years of university study, ministry school, trips overseas and most recently a missions training school, my goal has been to work in developing countries. I dream of bringing God’s solutions to issues of injustice and poverty, and of showing people how extravagant and transforming the love of the Father is.
Many times in recent years, impatience and restlessness have overwhelmed me. My period of ‘preparation’ seems to be never-ending and my dreams unreachable. My heart desperately wants to be out there, doing what I was born for, changing the world!
So what do I do in the space between a dream and its fulfilment? How do I find satisfaction with where God has me now, while still moving towards everything on my heart to do?
Each of us hold things in our hearts we are eagerly awaiting. Whether it be a spouse, a house or a pet mouse, we cannot afford to lose our peace in the waiting, especially in a world that already holds so much chaos.
Where my heart finds rest
As I look into my restless heart, I recognise a stirring beyond the longing to fulfil my purpose. It’s a dissatisfaction which no amount of ‘doing’, no level of walking in my destiny, no standard of achievement, could ever satisfy.
In this stirring, this longing, this restlessness, I hear God gently speaking, gently calling. And I know, my heart cry is for him.
There are injustices and issues in this world which grab my attention and break my heart, inspiring me to do something to bring change. Yet I know if I come to lay down my life, sacrifice my comfort and work hard for the sake of these causes, I will stay empty, restless and unfulfilled.
It is only when I lay down my life for the sake of Love, for the sake of Jesus himself, that I find life.
Pursuing my purpose is not an end in itself, but an expression of my relationship with God. Knowing Jesus means knowing the things on his heart, and partnering with him to make his heart known to the world.
Our restless hearts are urging us to respond to God’s call to be in intimate, life-giving relationship with him. Only in making him our greatest pursuit, will we find the satisfaction our hearts search for.
In the pursuit of our purpose or the things our hearts desire, we often leave Jesus lonely. May our restless hearts lead us back to the person of Jesus, and into all the purposes he has for us.
Bonnie loves all things old-fashioned, exploring new places, coffee with friends and being with her family. She is passionate about broken hearts and relationships being restored through the power of vulnerability and honesty with God and others. Bonnie has a Bachelor of Humanitarian and Community Studies and a Master of International Public Health, and hopes to work in developing countries one day.
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