Tuesday, September 22, 2009
Are you Restless....or Resting?
Today's post is simply an inspiration from my son who just returned from a weekend retreat with our church's High School youth. He and his older brother (who went as a leader this year) said that it was one of the best retreats ever. The theme of the trip was "Restless"....based on the quote by St. Augustine.
"Our hearts are restless until they find their rest in thee." St. Augustine
I looked up this Saint and found the following quote:
I was greatly disturbed in spirit, angry at myself with a turbulent indignation because I had not entered thy will and covenant, O my God, while all my bones cried out to me to enter, extolling it to the skies. The way therein is not by ships or chariots or feet--indeed it was not as far as I had come from the house to the place where we were seated. For to go along that road and indeed to reach the goal is nothing else but the will to go. But it must be a strong and single will, not staggering and swaying about this way and that--a changeable, twisting, fluctuating will, wrestling with itself while one part falls as another rises. (Confessions, Book VIII.8.19)
How many times do I find myself restless by the end of the day? How many moments occur in my walk each week where I feel that something inside nudging me, "my bones were crying out to me"... but I had not "entered",- had not mustered up the intentional and strong, focused will to follow after that conviction? And there I was, heart restless....at the end of the day? ...very much feeling that pain of my heart crying that I had missed out, wrestled with my inner will and now found myself wanting?...
We fight with our inner selves so often... with that "changeable, twisting, fluctuating will." We turn to other things of this world to be satisfied. We pursue after the things that we think will bring satisfaction and happiness, and we fight with our inner man who whispers to us to enter into the "will and covenant" of God, and to find rest. Our hearts never cease to be restless as long as we struggle....for we "stagger and sway" as we strive too hard and run in the wrong directions, knowing that we are ignoring the inner voice that is telling us the truth.
The following song was one of the musical selections that was played at the retreat.
It is beautifully sung by Chris Sligh, one of the previous finalists from American Idol. The song communicates to all of us what the vital step is in order to follow hard after God. Not after things. Not after fame or success. Not after knowledge and acknowledgement. Most of all...not striving after the things that we would tell ourselves are the answers.
We have to empty ourselves.
"Empty me of ALL of me." In order to be totally filled with God, there can NOT be any of ME left in there to cause even a measure of restlessness. Listen to the song. Be moved to follow after your God with a "strong and single will." Get rid of your restlessness today. Find your rest in the One who desires to see your striving cease as you let His will and covenant fill you up.