(Lead me Lord,) by the restlessness of spiritual longing.
Feeling spiritually restless is not necessarily an indication that you are doing something wrong. It may be that your restlessness is an invitation to go in search of the God who desires to fill your life with good things. Our restlessness sometimes comes in the form of absence. Something is missing and we feel a yearning to find the missing piece whose absence leaves us unfulfilled. In 1999 my mother was writing about her own spiritual awakening and wrote:
“God has been calling and I interpreted it as ‘absence.’ I have been ignoring, denying, until the hurt was so great I dropped everything to find him.”
The restlessness of our spiritual longing can be the discomfort which brings us to the decision to “drop everything to find [God].” St. Augustine writes about how our disproportionate love of things other than God leaves us perpetually longing for a real solution to our dissatisfaction. Augustine calls this habit of loving and and putting our trust in people and things other than God, “concupiscence.” God is the one who can fill our lives with lasting meaning and who can satisfy the longing which is part of the human condition.
Years ago I was applying for a grant to assist me in taking a sabbatical from pastoral ministry. The grantor suggested that in order for me to accurately define how I would use the funds and the time they were offering for a transformative sabbatical - I should ask the question, “What would make my heart sing?” That turned out to be such a helpful way to think about it. In those times when we are experiencing a great sense of spiritual longing and we are wondering what we should do, it might be useful to enter into a season of wondering “what would make my heart sing?”
Daily Collect: Lord, you say, “Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” Help us who seek you to notice our restlessness and to respond to it by bringing our burdens to you, taking your yoke upon ourselves, and learning from you how a life of gentleness and humility leads to restfulness in your grace. In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.