Thursday, October 6, 2011

Get off the burner!

8 People who won't settle down, wandering hither and yon,
   are like restless birds, flitting to and fro. 
(Proverbs 27:8)

We might call this person who absolutely refuses to "settle down" a "restless" individual.  Restless people have a tendency to drive us nuts just because of their constant activity.  We find it unsettling to constantly be in a state of "flux", so we avoid these individuals.  Restless people are in a position of missing the "good stuff" in life because their activity of heart, mind, and body keeps them so busy that they miss the "stuff" that comes by being settled, relaxed, and available.

There are several characteristics of a restless individual - the first being that they just don't enjoy any "ease" in their spirit or heart.  In other words, they are in a position of constantly "redoing" their decisions - reworking the plan.  Do you know that feeling that comes when you finally "settle into" a plan and you begin to see it start working for you?  The peace that produces is quite remarkable.  Unfortunately, restless individuals just never get to that place of "peace" or "ease" in their lives.

Second, the restless individual is in a state of perpetual agitation.  Think of this as being in a pot of boiling water - the higher the temperature rises, the more the "stuff" in the water is agitated.  The same is true of those with a restless character - they just keep "feeling" the heat rising, so they respond with continual activity and agitation.  Agitation is really a state of struggle and inner conflict.  There is much stress created by this agitation - personally and for those around this individual.

Third, the restless spirit actually finds that they cannot rest.  They have an aversion to inactivity.  There is a little "alarm" that sounds when they find their lives coming to a place of rest and the immediate response is to increase the activity!  It is like a hamster on a wheel - as long as it is moving, they are happy, but slow down the wheel and they just don't know what to do with themselves.  The problem here is that God speaks best to us in the quiet times of our lives.  If we are not comfortable being "still", God has little opportunity to speak into our lives!

For a restless soul, there is actually a point where they feel "deprived" when the activity ceases!  It is like they are being starved!  The restless soul actually "feeds" off the activity.  The problem is that their "diet" is unable to bring the nourishment of spirit they earnestly need.  

God reminds us of the benefits of "inactivity" or "peacefulness" in our lives when he allows words to be penned like:

Be still and know that I am God.  (Ps. 46:9)

In peace I will lie down and sleep, for you alone, LORD, make me dwell in safety.  (Ps. 4:7-8)

Great peace have those who love your law, and nothing can make them stumble.  (Ps. 119:165)

27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.  
(John 14:27)

It is only when we recognize the "agitation" of our restlessness that we can fully appreciate the "comfort" of resting in the grace of our Lord.  In the stillness of his care we are enveloped in his rest, freed from our anxiety, settled in our agitation.  Flitting to and fro becomes a thing of the past.  

If we find ourselves so caught up in the activity of the "heat" of life, it might just be time to take the pot off the stove!  Maybe we feel like we lack the ability to do this ourselves - don't worry, Jesus knows!  Maybe we feel like we cannot live without the constant "heat" of life - don't fret, Jesus gives us more than we need to fill our days.  

Be still!  And KNOW - really get to know - your God!  You will be amazed at what you hear and learn in the peacefulness of rest!

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