My upstairs neighbor has an automatic vacuum. Every day I hear it gliding around their apartment presumably being an efficient worker. Periodically it gets caught, perhaps in a corner or under a couch - somewhere it can’t maneuver itself out of. It pounds repeatedly, hitting hard edges attempting to break free, knocking like a frantic prisoner desperate for escape. And then suddenly all goes quiet. The timer quits and I know it’s struggle is over.

Restlessness works just the same way in our lives. We’re moving, moving, and suddenly we’re stuck. We find ourselves anxious, unsettled and we can’t out maneuver our feelings. Banging up against the same struggle, the same anxiety or sense of lack. We’re restless, wondering what might help us feel like we’ve made it, like we’re complete or we’ve done enough. We presume the answer is doing more. Moving more. Another text to send, one more email to respond to or more scrolling on social media. We scheme, and plot and write out another list that will get us where we think we need to be. We think incessant movement will satisfy our soul and get us unstuck.

But the antidote to restlessness is not more activity. It’s not. Though it feels like we have to do all the things, the answer is actually the complete opposite. Deep rest is the only thing that turns off the timer and allows us peace. It feels counter intuitive. Almost irresponsible. How can we stop when everything is moving around us? How can rest possibly provide relief when it feels like we just need to accomplish one more thing or check off one more task? Rest right now seems foolish, but it’s actually exactly what we need.

In a city that demands we keep moving, resisting restless-living takes intentionality. It takes effort to quit banging our heads against the same tasks and struggles. It takes courage to remember that when we find ourselves in a corner, we don’t need to fight our way out. It takes faith to trust that deep rest actually unlocks doors and accomplishes way more than all our movement ever could.

If you find yourself in a corner today, feeling the urge to keep hustling but know inside you really need a rescue, look up. You’re not alone. Pause. Rest.

Comment