7 Keys to Overcome Restlessness and Bloom Where You Are Planted

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19/06/2024

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19/06/2024

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7 Keys to Overcome Restlessness and Bloom Where You're Planted

We’ve all been there – that nagging feeling of restlessness and discontentment with our current circumstances. The grass always seems greener in other jobs, relationships, churches or life situations. Before we know it, our minds have already mentally checked out of our present reality, dreaming about and pursuing greener pastures.

This restless, discontented spirit is what ancient thinkers called “acedia.” But rather than surrendering to it, Scripture calls us to cultivate patience – the ability to remain faithfully invested and blooming right where God has planted us for a season. When we do, we get to experience profound levels of meaning, purpose and contentment.

So how can we overcome the malaise of restlessness? Here are 7 keys to rooting yourselves and flourishing in your God-given callings:

1. Recognize the Signs of Restlessness in Your Life

The first step to overcoming restlessness is identifying it in your own life. Are you fantasizing about other jobs while half-heartedly completing your current tasks? This often looks like browsing job listings or daydreaming about different career paths during work hours. Instead of focusing on your current role, you find yourself imagining how much better things would be elsewhere.

In relationships, restlessness can manifest as constantly wondering if the grass is greener with other friends or partners. You might find yourself withdrawing emotionally, always thinking about how other relationships could offer more excitement or understanding. At church, this could mean being a chronic “church hopper,” moving from one congregation to another in search of the perfect community instead of committing to grow and serve where you are.

2. Understand the Root Cause

Restlessness is more than just dissatisfaction; it reveals a deeper issue: an ungrateful, discontented heart. This attitude betrays a lack of trust in God’s purposes and timing. When we constantly yearn for different circumstances, we fail to see our present situation as perfectly designed by God for our spiritual growth in this season.

For instance, if you’re always longing for a different job, you might be overlooking the ways your current position is helping you develop patience and resilience. Recognizing this restlessness as a sign of ungratefulness helps us shift our perspective. Instead of seeing your job, relationships, or church as inadequate, you begin to see them as tools used by God to shape you according to His divine purposes.

3. Choose Patience by Embracing Your Current Circumstances

Choosing patience means accepting your current circumstances as God’s assignment for this season. It’s about trusting that He has you right where He wants you, even if it’s not where you imagined yourself to be. Patience is not passive resignation but active engagement, believing that God is at work in your present situation.

Embracing your current role allows you to grow and learn from it. For example, staying in a challenging job might teach you invaluable lessons about perseverance and humility. By choosing patience, you can start to see the hidden blessings in your current circumstances, understanding that every season has a purpose in God’s grand design.

4. Use the Gifts, Talents, and Opportunities God Has Already Given You

Instead of coveting what you don’t have, focus on stewarding the gifts, talents, and opportunities God has already given you. This shift in focus can transform your outlook and help you find contentment. Your current job, relationships, and community are all platforms where you can use your unique skills to make a difference.

For example, rather than dreaming about a more glamorous job, look for ways to excel in your current position. Perhaps you can mentor a colleague, improve a process, or contribute to a new project. By using your gifts where you are, you honor God and open yourself to further growth and opportunities.

5. Stay Rooted and Engaged to Grow in Christlike Character

Staying rooted and engaged in your present circumstances is crucial for spiritual growth. This commitment helps cultivate Christlike character traits such as love, commitment, and contentment. When you remain faithful to your current roles, you allow God to work in and through you, shaping you into His likeness.

Engagement means being fully present and giving your best effort, whether in your job, relationships, or community. It involves building deep connections and contributing positively, rather than merely going through the motions. This active participation helps you grow spiritually and emotionally, as you experience the fulfillment that comes from serving God and others wholeheartedly.

6. Bloom by Joyfully Meeting the World’s Needs Through Your Unique Gifting and Callings

Blooming where you are planted means joyfully using your unique gifts and callings to meet the world’s needs. When you align your passions with the opportunities around you, you find a deep sense of purpose and satisfaction. This might mean mentoring a young colleague, volunteering in your community, or leading a small group at church.

By focusing on how you can serve others with your unique skills, you shift from a mindset of lack to one of abundance. You start to see the ways God can use you right where you are, and this realization brings joy and fulfillment. Your contributions, no matter how small they seem, are significant in God’s kingdom.

7. Repent of Discontented Grumblings and Re-engage Wholeheartedly with Your Present Roles and Responsibilities

Finally, overcoming restlessness requires repentance of discontented grumblings. This means acknowledging where you have allowed discontentment to take root and asking God for forgiveness. Repentance is not just feeling sorry but making a conscious decision to re-engage wholeheartedly with your present roles and responsibilities.

Re-engagement means approaching your job, relationships, and community with renewed energy and commitment. It involves looking for ways to contribute positively and finding joy in the process. As you re-engage, you’ll discover that your attitude changes, and what once seemed mundane or frustrating becomes meaningful and fulfilling.

By putting these 7 keys into practice, you can overcome acedia and experience deeper roots of meaning, settledness, and even surprising gladness, as you bloom with patient faithfulness right where the Gardener has planted you.

For More Resources

This is adapted from a sermon I preached on the topic of restlessness: The Cure to Our Restlessness – Finding Contentment in a Restless World.

You can also check out the book that inspired this article:

Taking Your Soul to Work: Overcoming the Nine Deadly Sins of the Workplace, by  R. Paul Stevens and Alvin Ung

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