Sarah, my four-year-old daughter, and I stopped one afternoon at a copy shop to get business flyers printed for my husband. I found the young woman working the front desk to be efficient, and was pleased that she was extra cordial to my little girl.
Later that evening, Sarah was quiet, not unusual for our pensive daughter. I noticed the puzzled expression on her little face as she counted her fingers, and knew if I waited a few minutes, my child would share what was going through her bright little mind.
“Mommy, I have a problem,” she confided eventually.
“What’s that, Sweetie?” I asked.
“Well, remember, when I grow up, I’m going to be a doctor on Monday, a teacher on Tuesday, a farmer girl on Wednesday, a hair cutter girl on Thursday, a mommy on Friday, a grocery store girl on Saturday, and a Sunday School teacher on Sunday?”
“Yes, I remember.” I found Sarah’s multiple occupational dreams delightful and tried to never squelch her little-girl aspirations with the wet blanket of adult logic.
“Well, there aren’t enough days,” she despaired. “I need another day so I can be a copy lady!”
What a dilemma! Not enough days for all the possibilities!
Before entering college, Sarah had narrowed her focus to Tuesday’s occupation. For over 12 years, she has been a marvelous educator of elementary-aged children. In addition to classrooms full of students, two little ones fulfilled my daughter’s Friday goal of motherhood.
A few years ago, when I was supposedly an all-grown-up woman, my soul became restless. The restlessness caused me to reconsider a journey of spiritual maturity. I began imagining what I wanted to be like if I grew up to become a spiritually mature woman.
Like four-year-old Sarah, I’ve considered multiple possibilities.
I haven’t come to any great conclusions concerning how to grow into a spiritually mature woman, but I have come to believe leaning into a restless soul isn’t bad.
Spiritual restlessness isn’t discontentment. My favorite of the Apostle Paul’s letters is Philippians. In chapter 3, verse 14, Paul talks about “pressing on.” This man, who was a giant of the faith, the most influential—or at least one of the most influential—leaders in early Christianity, was always restlessly seeking more of God. At the same time, he possessed deep contentment as revealed in Philippians 4:11, when he declares, “I have learned to be content in whatever state I find myself.” [my paraphrase]
Do you, like me, feel a certain amount of divine discontentment—a gentle nagging restlessness in your soul?
Could it be the reason for our restlessness is as St. Augustine, a 6th Century Christian theologian, declared?
Blessings to you as you lean into the restlessness of your heart…