Rev. Margaret Minnicks is an ordained Bible teacher. She writes many articles that are Bible lessons.
Sometimes you feel restless and you don't know why. Sometimes you know why you are restless, but you don't know what to do about it. Then there are other times when you feel uneasy and have a restless spirit even when things are going great.
You might cry out like the psalmist.
"Why are you discouraged, my soul? Why are you so restless? Put your hope in God, because I will still praise him. He is my savior and my God." (Psalm 42:5)
To be restless is to be unable to relax. The reason you are restless might be because you are bored or worried about something. Being restless can also mean you are being unsatisfied about the way something is going. In fact, you feel helpless because you want a change, and you can't do anything about the situation that is pressing on your mind.
There are many different things people do when they are restless.
- They can't stay still.
- They pace back and forth.
- They tap their feet.
- They sleep.
- Some can't sleep. Instead, they toss and turn.
- They overeat.
- Some can't eat.
- They drink alcoholic beverages.
- Some people shop.
- Some go for a walk.
- Some go for a drive.
What you do when you are restless says a lot about you. Let's see what four people in the Bible did when they were restless.
1. King David
One of the biggest stories about David started when he was restless. According to 2 Samuel 11:1-27, David was not out with his army. Instead, he was on the rooftop in Jerusalem. He saw a beautiful woman bathing on a rooftop across from his. He investigated and found out her name was Bathsheba, the wife of Uriah who was fighting in the army. David sent for Bathsheba and they had an adulterous affair. She became pregnant with David's child.
In an attempt to cover up his sin, David sent for Uriah to come home. He hoped he would sleep with his wife so he would think he was the father of the baby. Uriah did come back to Jerusalem, but he thought it was selfish to enjoy the pleasures of home while the other soldiers were in battle. Therefore, he refused to go home to his wife.
When Uriah returned to the battlefield he carried with him a letter from David to Joab with instructions for him to put on the front line when the fighting was the worst. Uriah was killed just as David wanted. David was free to marry Bathsheba, and their baby died on the seventh day. All of this started with David's misplaced restlessness.
2. King Xerxes
According to Esther 6, one night King Xerxes became restless and couldn't sleep. He got out of his bed and began to read the chronicles. He came across a section that indicated that Esther's uncle Mordecai had not been recognized for having done a good deed for him.
The king's restlessness was the beginning of a plan that honored Mordecai and resulted in the saving of the entire Jewish nation. King Xerxes' restlessness had positive results, unlike King David's restlessness.
Pharaoh's recurring dreams kept him from getting a good night's sleep. In the mornings, his mind was troubled because of the dreams he had the night before. Pharaoh's magicians could not tell him what the dreams meant. That's when the chief cupbearer remembered Joseph who was in prison at the time. He told Pharaoh about Joseph's gift of interpreting dreams.
After Joseph interpreted Pharaoh's dreams, he was released from prison and was made the second in command of Egypt (Genesis 41). No one knows what would have happened if Pharaoh hadn't had a restless night.
Like the others mentioned, Nebuchadnezzar had restless nights filled with bad dreams during the second year of his reign. His spirit was troubled and he couldn't sleep. When Daniel interpreted the king's dream, it was evident why his spirit was restless.
Nebuchadnezzar's dreams were fulfilled and he was stricken at the height of his power because of pride. He was eventually driven out of office and lived with the beasts of the field and ate grass like an ox (Daniel 4).
Positive and Negative Results
Of these four examples of restlessness, all of them had different results. Our restlessness could be God's way of getting our attention to do something.
Our restlessness serves a purpose. What we do with our restlessness depends on our relationship with God.
Best Solutions for Restlessness
It is usually tempting to call family members or friends when you are restless. You can talk to them, and you might forget that you are restless for a short period of time. However, only God knows the root of your restless feelings. Therefore, it is better to turn to Him.
God is the best solution for restlessness. He can give you the reason for your restless spirit and also tell you what to do about it. When you are restless, the best thing you can do is pray and immerse yourself in God's word.
Most of the time when we experience restlessness, it is because God is trying to get our attention for us to do something just as He did for King Xerxes.
There are many scriptures that will help you when you are restless, but here are two in particular.
"Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus." (Philippians 4:6-7)
Book About Restlessness
Restless: Because You Were Made For More is a book published by Jennie Allen. She explains that the feeling could be a longing for more of God. It could be the thing that makes us move forward to live a better life.
Allen emphasizes that her book is about listening to God and following His directions. Feeling restless could be a good thing if it causes us to meet God in the dark places of our lives.