Ben Rector is my favorite artist and has been for quite some time. When I’m traveling, his music is often on repeat; it’s my security blanket. Sometimes, you just need the ease of knowing all the words and key changes when you’re feeling anxious about everything going on on the other side of your headphones.
A couple of months ago, while listening to his song Hide Away, I was struck by a familiar line that I’ve heard too many times to count, “I am weary from the restless heart inside of me.” It made me smile as I stared down at Chicago on my flight home from Detroit to Denver. I would describe myself as restless, always eager for more. Bigger. Better. New and improved. I don’t see this as a negative character trait; it’s a quality to which I attribute a lot of my drive and zest for life.
But weariness, that is a side effect of restlessness if I’ve ever heard of one.
Over the past few years, my yearning for more has left me tired and emotionally spent too many times to count. I struggle to be thankful for the day-to-day blessings when my mind is always focused on the next thing to come. I’ve always challenged myself to live in the season I’m in, not to rush forward to the next stage of life. But post-grad, I have a tough time defining what the next stage looks like. I think that’s why my heart has become so fixated on the concept of more; more friends, more success, more pretty photos, more compliments. To break the cycle, I think it’s important for me to define what more really looks like.
Do you ever hear yourself wishing for something and knowing that it’s your own fault you don't have it? I hear myself talking to a friend and saying how I want to be more encouraging to my spouse, and then I snap at him when he gets home from work. I tell my husband I don’t want to be consumed by my day-to-day sales at the studio, yet I fall asleep checking the records on my phone. What I want and what I work towards are out of alignment, and that leaves me weary. Lately, I’m learning over and over that the elusive “more” that I’m chasing is usually found by rejoicing in the things I’ve already been given and holding what I have with an open hand.
I know that’s a very Sunday School answer, and I think that’s why I run away from it. It’s too easy, believing that joy comes from contentment and a grateful heart. Whenever I do get something on my list of “bigger and better” in my life, I feel the rush of infatuation with this newfound possession or state of being. And yet, when I find myself circling back to the elusive “what’s next?”, I know that something is off track.
In difficult seasons, it takes work to live in a place of joy, despite our circumstances. I’m thankful to be driven, but I never want to be so driven that I miss the good gifts in my life. If your restlessness is causing you to be weary, take it one day at a time, and try to notice the positive things. You might be surprised at just how many there are.