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Monday, January 16, 2012

That Restless Feeling

Lately I've noticed a pattern in my moods at the end of the day.  Maybe you've had days when it seems that, no matter when you get up, or what you do all day, you feel like you haven't done enough when night comes.  You get restless.  At first you try to distract yourself with some interesting activity such as browsing the Internet, watching some random tv show, or reading a book.  You still feel restless.  If you get desperate, this is the point where you go and speed clean something, or some other activity you don't care for all that much.  You figure if you haven't done enough, chores might fill that void.

It doesn't.

I had gone through several nights of this in a row when I finally noticed the antidote to that restless I-need-to-feel-productive mood.  Get alone with God for awhile!  It really works.

Nothing under heaven can really fulfill the need to be needed, although some things seem to, for awhile (like relationships, or parenthood, or a promotion at work).  What we really desire is for someone to really notice our efforts and give approval.  Until then, we may find ourselves chasing that approval and feeling restless when silence greets us at the end of the day--and scented candles, positive quotations, and a clean bathroom aren't going to fill the void.

Spending time with God means, to me, spending time reading the Bible and really analyzing what it says and how it applies to me, and praying accordingly.  It helps me realign my priorities with God's, and see where I am falling behind in obedience.  I don't feel so restless because I'm reminded again of where I stand with God, and what He wants from me.  I feel like I really did something worthwhile with my time.  I'm so blessed to be able to actually draw near to God and get my instructions from the source (Deuteronomy 4: 7)!

This, I believe, is essential for feeling contentment.  Rather than wasting precious minutes on things to fill up that restlessness and dissatisfaction I am feeling, I'd rather offer up my life and my free time to God (although cleaning that bathroom has to be done from time to time).  It's what I was made to do (Ecclesiastes 12: 13-14), and what I feel the most useful doing.  Besides that, it is pleasing to God, and that's the approval I've been looking for.
Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. (Romans 12: 1, 2 NIV)