Lent 2020 – Day 35

I’ve been feeling a bit restless lately. Couldn’t fall asleep last night. Couldn’t wake up this morning. Couldn’t relax during my manipedi. Couldn’t focus on reading my books. Couldn’t enjoy my luxurious latte at my favourite cafe. Couldn’t pick a new book to buy at the bookstore.

Restlessness usually is a sign of hurry and if that’s the case for you, breathe and slow down. And restlessness gets a bad reputation in the Christian world because we ought to be still and rest.

I agree with both of those root causes of restlessness, but this round of restlessness didn’t feel like the usual stressors of hurry and impatience. So as I meditated on my restlessness in between bouts of being restless, God begun to give me small breadcrumbs of what this restlessness indicates.

Firstly, He reassured me that my restlessness was good. I was a little taken aback honestly, because I’ve always assumed it to be a sign that I wasn’t making progress in terms of my relationship with God, as if I could never wait on Him. But this time, I felt His Spirit tell me that it’s because He’s about to do something, and so as His Spirit is restless to do something, so will my spirit mirror His.

Next, as I continued the conversation with Him, I realised that this mirroring of restlessness is a sign that I ought to do something. Well, that’s a vague directive because God didn’t exactly tell me what He was about to do, nor will He.

But that’s the mind-blowing beauty of free will and being created as creative in His image. God trusts us (I still don’t know why He would do that, I don’t even trust humans or myself!), and God trusts us to create even though He could’ve created everything Himself. Obviously we’re not perfect and sometimes we choose to create ugliness and schism, but the hope, the God-level crazy hope, is that we would choose to create beauty, goodness, and wonder.

So as the fragments of meditations fell into today’s prayer, I encourage you to join me to channel your restlessness into continuing the doing of something.

Continue praying, interceding for this broken world, our loved ones who need our faith. Continue writing, using our words to exhort and build. Continue singing and playing music, filling the emptiness with comfort. Continue giving, our excess money to those who genuinely need, our time to listen, our art that brings colour into the drab of existence. Continue talking, to God freely and honestly, to each other with tears and smiles.

The world needs creativity more than ever. May we be disciplined in our service and our creativity, to channel our restlessness, our holy discontent, into something beautiful, something that God trusted us to create on behalf and in honour of His name.

But to serve any discipline of art, be it to chip a David out of an unwieldy piece of marble, to take oils and put a clown on canvas, to write a drama about a young man who kills his father and marries his mother and suffers for these actions, to hear a melody and set the notes down for a string quartet, is to affirm meaning, despite all the ambiguities and tragedies and misunderstanding which surround us.

Madeleine L’Engle, “Walking On Water: Reflections on Faith and Art”

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