Letters to Jesus (Ego, False-self, and Groundhog Day -12
Restlessness is the tendency to be unable to stick to one thing for very long before wanting to move on to something else. I discover it daily in my own life. It may, at first, seem like a bad thing, a thing in opposition to the stability vowed in some religious communities. But there is a certain good dynamic at work in restlessness. That, “our hearts are restless until they rest in You,” may not be as much a curse as it is a blessing. I might even go so far as to say that restlessness may be another way of describing stirrings of the spirit when the comfort of a certain level of spiritual endeavor becomes routine. I find myself, every so often, tuning and tinkering with the ways I seek You. It usually happens that every few years (the time periods vary) I become restless for different approaches because of stagnation from too much comfort with the old habitual routines. This is not unhealthy.
Restlessness is a part of who we are. It’s true, we like some stability because as it endures we feel less vulnerable to risk. Stability is comfortable. Yet we know within us that to linger at one point and never move on fights growth – and so we become restless. It’s a cycle that constantly repeats itself. I think the worst thing we can do is to settle in and ignore it.
You pursue us in many ways. It’s both ironic and fascinating that one of the most powerful of these ways is through the feeling of a restlessness that can be either a source of seeking something that separates us or something that draws us nearer. You offer us restlessness and our response to it is what we offer You.
I tend to think the reason we usually consider restlessness undesirable is because it involves change. Change, especially as we grow older, is something with which we are uncomfortable. As we grow older we become more expert at ignoring and quashing restlessness. This is a mistake. Without the “pain” of change, which we increasingly try to avoid, there can be no gain.