When Mom’s voice came on the phone, my tearful words tumbled out. “Mom, I’m so restless I think I’m about to explode. I don’t know what to do.” Her voice was steady. “What do you WANT to do? “I want to know how to overcome restlessness. I want to run away from responsibilities, demands, meetings, commitments. I want to walk in the woods, hear the leaves crunch under my feet; smell the dampness of the earth after a rain, and think quiet thoughts.” Without hesitation, her voice gently came across the phone line, “Then I suggest you do just that!”
How To Overcome Restlessness
That conversation took place more than 40 years ago when I was a young pastor’s wife, teaching school full-time, mothering my own little children, and trying desperately to meet unrealistic self-expectations which I perceived as being “the right way to do things.” Her advice has served me well through the years.
Today I know me better. I understand that I am the way I am by Gods design and choice. He created me with a need for solitude and the time for contemplative quiet time.
I don’t know you, but YOU need to know you. Whatever it is in your make-up, your God-design; that special something that brings you refreshment, make sure to take the time for that restorative activity.
ENJOY THE MOMENT…
VENTURE INTO THE COUNTRYSIDE, PAUSE, LISTEN
Listen as the wind moves among the trees and the grasses. Try to identify the bird and his location as he flits from tree to tree. Let those long-ago memorized verses from Matthew 5 remind you that God cares for the fowl of the air, though they neither reap nor gather into the barns, God feeds them. He’ll take care of my needs too.
WATCH WITH JOY AS THE ANIMALS PLAY AND GO ABOUT THEIR LIVES
BEWARE OF A GOAT WHO APPROACHES AT A FAST PACE
…and then enjoy talking to him once you establish the fence is standing securely between you and him. Talk to him? Sound foolish? Why not? If he gets bored, he’ll just wonder off and he’s not going to repeat anything you tell him, so enjoy the moment.
LAUGH AS YOU WATCH THE PLAYFUL ANTICS OF THE GEESE
Laughter…joy…oh how good it feels. “The joy of the Lord is my strength.” “A merry heart does good like a medicine.” That ol’ restless spirit is melting away. I’m feeling energized.
I’ve never seen a cow sitting on top of his bale of hay, eating the hay from beneath himself. It was curious, new, unusual. Of course when I took out my camera and approached, he immediately stood up. Was he challenging me, or posing for this picture? I guess I’ll never know. The whole experience brought me joy in just being in that moment.
EXPERIMENT WITH YOUR CAMERA
My family bought me a new camera for Christmas. When I saw this gurgling creek, I immediately knew I’d try to slow down my shutter speed and capture a velvety smooth picture.
Now that was fun! Maybe I’ll figure out new ways to take pictures in the future, but for today, this brought me joy.
As I came to the end of my adventure, my heart was resting in God’s abundance, His love, His provision. Sitting beside this historic White Bridge I recalled the words, “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart and lean not to thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge Him and He SHALL direct thy paths” (Proverbs 3:5-6). “Commit thy works unto the Lord, and thy thoughts shall be established” (Proverbs 16:3).
Though my mother died twenty-three years ago, the advice she gave me when I was a young inexperienced, overtired mother, has been a guiding beacon throughout my life.
When you are feeling overwhelmed with responsibility, overcommitted, and just plumb “give out”, how about listening to the words of Jesus, “come away by yourselves to a solitary place and rest for a while. ”
I’d love to see pictures of some of your places of restoration.