Remedy for a Restless Heart

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I’ve got this restless heart.

There are days when I’m home with my kids and I’m literally wading through the toys in the kitchen floor to get to the fridge. Everyone is falling apart and I’m trying to teach the little folks how to love each other. I’m explaining to the oldest that he doesn’t have to boss his sister and monitor everything she does. And I’m trying to teach the sister to pay attention but she doesn’t hear me because she’s pretending. And I’m encouraging the littlest fella not to whack his siblings over the head with the trains and that he doesn’t have to tear through the kitchen like a maniac, yelling “MINE!” at the top of his lungs because seriously, no one even wants his sippie cup.

When all this is happening, and I’m exhausted from the chaos and the mess, I usually want to go on a trip somewhere. Like, far away to a beach with dolphins jumping in the waves and seashells to collect.  I think I’d surely be happy and content there, with the sun on my cheeks and the sand in my hair and a glass of lemonade.

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But then a few weeks ago, Brent and I did actually go on a trip all by ourselves to Niagara Falls and on the way there, I cried because I missed my children. Then, on the way home, I decided that trips are nice, but I’m still restless wherever I go and I really do like my crazy chaotic world after all.

I wonder if all of us here on this spinning earth are born into the world with a restless heart? Perhaps that’s just part of the human condition. Seems like we’ve all got this ache to be filled. We’ve got these longings to find something to fill us and so we search for something, anything that will surely satisfy us at last.

We try all the doors. We watch movies. We have sex. We make money so we can buy things. We throw parties so we can be with people. We go to restaurants and eat good food. We delve into religion and philosophy and we keep going because there’s just got to be a door that leads to what we’re looking for.

There’s this guy Jesus who comes along and makes an outrageous claim. “I am the Door,” He says. And there’s this other guy, St. Augustine, who understood what Jesus meant when He said that. And so he wrote,

“You have made us for Yourself, oh Lord, and our heart is restless until it rests in You.”

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The times of deepest soul satisfaction for me have come when I’m most in tune to the reality of Jesus. It’s when I come to Him and sit still for a little while that He gives me the present of His Presence. It’s only then that I’m filled up to the full and overflowing.

The rest of life is the discipline of maintaining that awareness of His presence. It doesn’t come naturally. There is a fair amount of effort involved, but as Dallas Willard says,

“Grace is not opposed to effort. It’s opposed to earning.”

The rest of life is learning how to abide in Him while He abides in me.

So, I keep up the rhythm of returning to Him. I do this with my coffee in the morning taking in His Word. He is the Word. He who calls Himself the Bread of Life, is the One that feeds me. Nourishes. Satisfies me. With Himself.

And all day long, I fight for joy. By learning how to keep turning this restless heart back toward Him.

They replied, “You must show us more miracles if you want us to believe you are the Messiah. Give us free bread every day, like our fathers had while they journeyed through the wilderness! As the Scriptures say, ‘Moses gave them bread from heaven.’”

Jesus said, “Moses didn’t give it to them. My Father did. And now he offers you true Bread from heaven. The true Bread is a Person—the one sent by God from heaven, and he gives life to the world.”

 “Sir,” they said, “give us that bread every day of our lives!”

Jesus replied, “I am the Bread of Life. No one coming to me will ever be hungry again. Those believing in me will never thirst.” (John 6:30-35)

3 Comments

  1. by Amanda Cleary Eastep on November 8, 2015  4:16 pm Reply

    Oh, my, I have written about this, too. I'm glad to hear your thoughts and experience with it, and especially the words of St. Augustine and Jesus. Just great words, Maggie.

  2. by Heather MacLaren Johnson on November 10, 2015  9:54 am Reply

    Beautifully written truth. Restless we are until we find Christ in all our moments---until he opens our blind eyes at the tombs of ourselves, calls our names and suddenly, all our yearnings are satisfied. Thank you for writing.

    • by Maggie on November 10, 2015  10:42 am Reply

      Just visited your blog, Heather. It's absolutely beautiful. You're a great writer. Looks like we speak the same language. Seeking God in the ordinary. Bless you!

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