for the restless.

I know it has been too long since I last posted, but can you believe that we’re already halfway through December? Every year, it feels like this wonderful time of celebrating Thanksgiving and Christmas comes and goes all too quickly; I hope each and every one of you are soaking in this joyous time with family and friends!

Besides essentially making Christmas music my life soundtrack and filling my weekends with holiday parties, I’ve also decided to dive into John Piper’s advent study for this year: The Dawning of Indestructible Joy, which has stirred up a lot of misconceptions in my heart and reminded me of the true gift that was given to us when Jesus was born that day. As I’ve alluded to in nearly all of my posts these past few months, I’ve been in a very dull season when it comes to my faith and relationship with the Lord. I’ve been made aware of this day in and day out through various circumstances, but for some reason I have continued to allow my feeling of despair to trump the grace and mercy that I know God provides us.

As a result, this time in my life has driven me to an “anywhere but here” philosophy: if I could just live closer to my family, then I would be happy. If I could become flawless at my job, then life would be better. If I could hone in on this skill, that talent, own that pair of shoes, or develop a “better” daily routine, I wouldn’t feel such a lull in my spiritual life. The irony in this thought process is that in my attempt to fuel a greater fire in my heart for the Lord, I’ve attempted to place my identity in virtually any other aspect of my life except for God Himself.

I don’t think there’s a better word for this than restlessness. In September, the Lord brought me to a new job — a job I begged Him for — and along with that came a new place to live, new people to meet, and a life that looked pretty different from the past four years. I knew it even then, but in retrospect I can see so clearly that God was calling me to trust Him in this new season of life; He was asking me to rest in Him, to look back over the past few years and remember all He has done for me and all that He has carried me through, and to simply rest.

I couldn’t do it. Some days I simply ignored Him, and other days I felt like all I could say when I prayed to Him was, “I know that I’m not doing a very good job trusting You right now, but I don’t see how you expect me to find rest in the midst of so much transition.” This restlessness has weighed down my heart in so many ways, but it has also been my greatest crutch and has disguised itself so well as a solid source of security.

But as many of you already know, the inevitable truth eventually comes to light: the idol outside of God always crumbles. For me, I’ve just become worn out; I can’t be the god of my own life because I wasn’t designed for it. And throughout this time of advent, which I’ve been so grateful for in light of my circumstances, I’ve been reminded that God designed me to be in relationship with Him. He desired a relationship with me so much so that He sent His very own Son to live a life that I couldn’t live and to die a death that He didn’t deserve. Without such a great sacrifice, my life wouldn’t just be null of religion or security — I wouldn’t have a life at all.

I’m sure many of you can relate to this feeling of restlessness in one capacity or another. I think it’s finally becoming real to me that life will present a number of seasons filled with transitions, challenges, and sadness. So when another period of my life feels a lot like this one, I have to be reminded that there is a much, much bigger picture to be seen here — but even then, God hears me. He saw this moment before the beginning of time, and sent Jesus to pay the price for my rebellion.

This post is not my way of saying that after remembering the cross, I’ve suddenly found permanent rest. I know that the process of sanctification is one that will take a lifetime, but God will continue to break and rewire my heart to make me the person He created me to be. Sometimes that means that we’re restless, and He will allow us to see that before He ever brings us out of it. For those of you who may be experiencing a similar feeling right now, I would love for this to serve as a reminder that no sin, doubt, rebellion, or level of ignorance is too far gone for the Lord to redeem. Christmas is such a beautiful reminder for the weary and broken-hearted that no matter how small and insignificant we feel at times, we were so precious to God that He stopped at nothing to save us. Whether that clicks for you on the first time or after countless reminders, I’m confident that we will eventually all find rest in His promises.

 “God’s truthfulness is the constant in a universe of flux. God’s truthfulness is the unwavering absolute. If we forsake God’s truthfulness, the anchor is up, the rudder is loose, the keel is broken, and the ship of life (political life, social life, educational life, scientific life, family life) is simply at the mercy of the wind of human wishes. So I say it with all my heart: demonstrating the truthfulness of God is a great blessing. Say to the next generation again and again: God is truthful; God keeps His word; God does not lie; God can be trusted.”

-John Piper, The Dawning of Indestructible Joy

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