From Restlessness to Fulfillment

Last week I wrote about what I learned during Lent. And today I wanted to share about something else that I learned during those weeks. Towards the beginning of Lent I was feeling restless. Antsy might be a good way to put it. Sitting still was hard. And all of the normal activities that I enjoy couldn’t hold my attention.

Why am I so restless? I wondered. It wasn’t a pleasant feeling. So I was determined to get to the bottom of it.

Here are some thoughts on why we might have a restless spirit:

Perhaps God wants to tell us something. A couple of years ago I heard a sermon by Dr. Charles Stanley on the radio in which he talked about restlessness. He pointed out a story in the book of Esther. “That night the king had trouble sleeping, so he ordered an attendant to bring the book of the history of his reign so it could be read to him.” (Esther 6:1) Could it be that this sleepless night was divine intervention? When the king read the book, he discovered that a man named Mordecai had exposed a plot to kill the king. Mordecai’s good deed went unnoticed at the time. But now that the king was aware, he planned to reward him. (There is a lot more to the story than that. If you never read the book of Esther, it is a quick read and intriguing as well. You can find it here.) But this story points out that sometimes in our restlessness, God is trying to get our attention.

Maybe we are too distracted. In the Martha and Mary story found in Luke 10, Martha was distracted in preparing dinner. She wanted to make a good impression for Jesus, who was a guest at their house that day. But her distraction caused restlessness, and she missed out on quality time with the Messiah. While this particular scene was a temporary distraction, in our current culture we live in a state of constant distraction. Something is always dinging or pinging on our phones. We cannot remove ourselves from being accessible. I think the constant chaos definitely plays a role on our frayed nerves. Learning to lay down distractions, one by one, can help free us from the agitations we feel.

Sometimes the answer is obvious. It could be that we are worried about something. Often when we have a big issue we are facing, it is hard to think about anything else. We cannot reel our minds in, because we are too busy concocting a variety of “what ifs.” In such cases, the best thing to do is pray. 1 Peter 5:7 tells us to “Cast all your anxiety on [God] because He cares for you.” What a comfort it is to know that we can hand our troubles over to the Lord, because He cares about us and He cares about everything we are going through.

There might be other reasons why we are feeling restless. And it might take some time in prayer to figure it out. I had to pray about my situation and God gave me the answer pretty quickly. He told me that I needed quiet time in my day. When I say “quiet time,” I actually mean it two ways.

One way refers to literal sound. I am an introvert and an HSP. In case you are not familiar, an HSP stands for highly sensitive person. An HSP is easily overwhelmed by a lot of sensory overload. It’s not just noise. It’s all the senses. For example, certain strong smells might give me a headache. Check out this website if you want to see if you might fall into this category.

So this means that usually a person like me thrives on peace and quiet. I realize that some people actually like a lot of noise, those who need to have the TV or radio on all the time.

However, when I say quiet time, I am also referring to time with God. My Bible reading time had been rushed, due to various circumstances. And I wasn’t taking the time to relax in the Lord’s presence. Even when I was exercising, I was multitasking by reading my emails and such while I moved my feet. All of this was causing extra jitters. I learned that in order to find peace, I had to intentionally seek peace. I had to be deliberate about carving quiet time into my day. My solution was to get up earlier in the day, so that I had time before the rest of my household got up. This space in my day and time with God was comforting and helped me to start my day in a better frame of mind.

I have learned that what we feed ourselves first thing in the morning can dramatically change our day. If we reach for social media or email first thing, then our day might feel scattered. But if we reach for things that refresh us, this will help us to face the day with peace and productivity.

Quiet time, especially quiet time with the Lord, can help shape our days and bring peace into our hearts. He fills us like no other. All the other things that we reach for will only give us temporary satisfaction. It’s like eating a piece of candy. It might taste good in the moment, but it will soon leave our stomachs growling for more. But when we reach for Jesus, the bread of life, we will find true satisfaction and fulfillment.

For God alone my soul waits in silence; from him comes my salvation. ~ Psalm 62:1 ESV

You move us to delight in praising You, because You have made us for Yourself, and our hearts are restless until they can find peace in You. ~ St. Augustine

© 2022 Bridget A. Thomas

17 Comments on “From Restlessness to Fulfillment

  1. Loved today’s message Bridget. I agree with the reasons we might feel restless. Like you I am a HSP too, I thrive on peace and quiet. Too many people or too much noise gives me a headache eventually and it just drains me. Sometimes even after I visit my hairdresser I feel heavy headed because of all the noise there.
    I have had some real thinking time on my use of my phone. This has been a challenge for me repeatedly- to set it aside and not reach for it whenever I can. I tend to read books on devices too and then end up spending time on some other app on the device. So to help set the phone or iPad aside, I have been going back to books ( paper). This is just one of the things, being intentional with screen time is something I am aware and cautious of.
    Blessings my friend. The time of some quiet being away from media during lent seems to have taught you some valuable lessons 🤗💙

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes – “drains” is a perfect way to put it. I am the same way. Not everyone understands this, so it can be difficult to navigate the world around us. I really like that you have been reading real books. I do the majority of reading on devices. One good thing is that I have gravitated towards my iPad instead of my iPhone. I definitely feel worse looking at my phone for an extended time, whereas the tablet doesn’t seem to bother me. But it is still “screen time.” (I am torn in this area because I love books, but I also don’t like clutter in my home.) I think it’s important to find small ways to be intentional. Making one small change at a time can add up to big results. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. It’s always wonderful to hear from you. Blessings to you too, my friend! 💜

      Liked by 1 person

    • I love to find fellow friends who feel the same way! At times it can feel like we are alone in this, as the world around us seems to thrive on noise. And recharging our battery (I like the way you put that) is so important for us to be able to keep going in a positive direction!

      Liked by 2 people

  2. I like how you said “to find peace, we must seek peace.” In today’s world it’s not going to come looking for us.

    I am an extroverted HSP. Too much noise, in particular, really ramps up my anxiety. I find I must carve out quiet times in my day—if they are going to happen. Great post, Bridget. Thank you, and God Bless.

    Liked by 1 person

    • And I like what you said – In today’s world, peace is not going to come looking for us. So very true. That really hits home how important it is to find peace.
      Ah, an extroverted HSP! That is probably extra hard to find a balance!
      Thank you for reading and sharing your thoughts, David! God bless you too!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I have to have my quiet time and time with God. The Bible says, He opens his hand and satisfies the desires of every living thing, Psalm 145:16. So that tells us, all we need is in Him. But even knowing this, it can still be a struggle at times to make sure we spend adequate time with Him. I hear Him best during quiet times. Thanks Bridget. ❤️

    Liked by 1 person

    • So beautifully said and I love that verse. I agree, Dawn. The world around us is so noisy, and quiet time with God helps us hear His voice and He also refreshes our souls. Thank you! 💜

      Liked by 1 person

  4. So informative and insightful Bridget. I get overstimulated as well and so depending on how or what is causing it there’s different ways that work to overcome (for me)…at times listening to worship music helps but other times that’s too much and I might need a prayer walk instead or even a glass of water to drink..sometimes reading a chunk of scripture is too much but focusing on just one single verse is just the right amount when I feel restless. I’ve also noticed if I switch to a different room in the house, just the change of scenery/environment can help.
    No matter what God has to remain my focus of fulfillment but it can really be a challenge at times to get through. And like you said, starting the day quietly with Jesus makes such a difference!❤️

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, friend. Those are great tips! Taking a prayer walk sounds so soothing. And I really love what you said about – “God has to remain my focus of fulfillment.” So very true. If we can learn to keep our eyes on Him, He will help restore our souls. Thank you so much for sharing this great advice. 💕

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I agree, Bridget. This is so inspiring, and practical. Time with the Lord is the best cure. We need to remember to “be still and know.” May the Lord help us to seek him!

    Liked by 1 person

    • So true! “Be still and know” is something I long to practice. But I admit that the noise of the world is often pulling me in other directions. May we learn to tune out the world and tune into Him. Thanks for reading and sharing your thoughts!

      Like

  6. During my younger days I would have described myself as an extrovert, but somehow I’ve morphed into an introvert over the years. Crowds and lots of noise tire me. Give me quiet solitude and I’m a happy camper! Along with you, Bridget, and others who’ve commented, I too revel in spending the first hour or more of each day studying God’s Word, journaling a bit, memorizing scripture, and praying. Now that I’m retired, I can enjoy this luxury of extended time–it’s glorious!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Nancy, I am sorry! I don’t know how I missed your comment…. God is so faithful and when we carve out time for Him in our day, He will meet us there. And then we will find ourselves eager for that time, as it becomes the sweetest part of our day.

      Liked by 1 person

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