“Thou hast made us for Thyself, O Lord, and our heart is restless until it finds its rest in Thee.” -Augustine of Hippo, Confessions
Wow. How often am I completely restless! I think sometimes it’s easy for me to forget who I’m made for; it’s easy for me to think I can manage my own peace. Maybe you do this too: I’ll get caught up by the idea that somehow I’ll find this perfect feng shui. I’ll make the time to exercise, and do yoga, and have my quiet time, and plan enough dates, and get the kids into the perfect bedtime routine, and the house cleaned up, and… and… and…
You get the idea. I somehow convince myself that if I plan my life out enough, I can achieve the perfect zen. The trouble with that is, of course, my plans never pan out the way I intend. Life gets busy and messy, and the commitments and needs around me pile up. Things can only stay calm for so long, and then life just happens.
I can’t dictate a perfect peace, a perfect rest. That’s a lot to admit. I don’t fully hold that power. Yes, I can work on self control and creating margin in my life for rest, but ultimately I can only do so much. If I’m always counting on myself to bring the calm and stability I crave, I will come to a flat-line sooner than I’d care to admit. A life lived fully for the Lord realizes that independence is not the answer, but rather dependence upon our Creator. Augustine of Hippo got this perfectly right… “our heart is restless until it finds its rest in Thee.” In reference to the Christian walk of faith, dependence is in fact what Christ is asking of us; He wants us to depend upon Him! God is wise enough to know that we will be utterly unsettled until we stop striving in and of ourselves, and instead ask Him to bring us His reassuring guidance and presence.
Our dependence upon the Lord doesn’t lead to only calm waters. You don’t have to live a lot of life as Christian to know that. But, when we choose to hinge our lives upon the Creator of all, He proves His presence consistently reliable. I need that. I need a God who always shows up. In the midst of my busyness, my anxiety, my sickness, my juggling twenty-different-things-at-the-same-time moments… I need Him in the midst of it all. In fact, I even need Him in my moments of calm. I want Him to be there, because that’s when I really, truly find rest.
When we stop searching for that “inner-strength” and instead set our minds on the things above, we will find a greater, more fulfilling strength than we could ever muster up on our own! Let’s pray for that:
We thank You that you meet us in every moment. We know You care about all the facets of our lives, and that nothing goes beyond Your notice. You are caring and attentive and strong. We need those attributes in our life; we need them from You. Help us to remember when we are searching for peace and rest, that what we’re really searching for are more moments with You. We pray we would invite You into every part of our lives, and that we wouldn’t try to do this life stuff of our own abilities. We want to be dependent on You and not ourselves.
We love you, Lord. Amen.
This time of year creates a lot of reasons for us to be restless, especially if God is kinda the last priority on our list (totally talking to myself here). I’ve got to make more time for God. I get crabby with myself, snappy with my kids and husband, and just plain unpleasant to be around when I don’t take time to find God. I’ll pull up social media, or talk to a friend, or read a book, but none of it offers me what I’m looking for: rest. In fact, all that usually does the opposite for me. For the rest we so desperately seek the answer is clear: In. Christ.
Let us find our rest there, friends.
Be Thou My Vision Hymn:
- Be Thou my Vision, O Lord of my heart;
Naught be all else to me, save that Thou art;
Thou my best Thought, by day or by night,
Waking or sleeping, Thy presence my light.
- Be Thou my Wisdom, and Thou my true Word;
I ever with Thee and Thou with me, Lord;
Thou my great Father, I Thy true son;
Thou in me dwelling, and I with Thee one.
- Be Thou my battle Shield, Sword for the fight;
Be Thou my Dignity, Thou my Delight;
Thou my soul’s Shelter, Thou my high Tow’r:
Raise Thou me heav’nward, O Pow’r of my pow’r.
- Riches I heed not, nor man’s empty praise,
Thou mine Inheritance, now and always:
Thou and Thou only, first in my heart,
High King of Heaven, my Treasure Thou art.
- High King of Heaven, my victory won,
May I reach Heaven’s joys, O bright Heav’n’s Sun!
Heart of my own heart, whatever befall,
Still be my Vision, O Ruler of all.
Merry Christmas, friends!