I live with a fair amount of restlessness coursing through my veins. It feels alive, busy and productive. It keeps my heart and my mind engaged with those around me and it provides a predictable level of control.
Recently I stepped back from my predicable course of engagement. Instead of sitting in a group where all the action is, I was asked to sit with just a few others and to pray. It was difficult to pray as my mind wandered and wondered, “What is going on in those other groups?” I felt full of energy and ramped up with no place to release all that I currently had to bring. Shame began to rear it’s ugly face, as I felt useless and cut-off from rest of the pack. I had difficulty formulating my words during prayer. I didn’t like the sound of my voice. Contempt settled in as I began to compare my prayers with the others in the room. My attempt to cover this shame came with an excuse that said, “I don’t believe my giftedness is in prayer.” There…I took myself out for not measuring up to this task.
Dan Allender says, “Shame points us to where our idols have been shaken.” Well, trust me, my idols had a good “rock and roll” during my prayer time with others. My idols did show-up as…performance, pleasing others and being enough…along with a few other unmentionables. Ironically it was through this time of prayer that I began to settle into where God wanted me to be. It was communion with Him that settled my restless heart.
By the time I got behind the platform for my first presentation, I knew the names of all the attendees and their leaders. You see, each one of them had been prayed for by name. I felt a deep connection with their hearts just by connecting their names with their faces. I could throw my shoulder back, keep my chin-up and look them in the eye. I could give my face freely. There was no worry about performance…I was enough. I love that!
Throughout this past year I have taken a closer look at my idols. So far some of my idols are recognized easily. Those are the ones involving relationships, to illness and to disappointment. They are the ones where I can’t stop obsessing over the rise and fall from relationships to the possibility of an illness being a life changer to the sheer disappointment of where I have failed again. But God… He continues to be the lifter of my head. He makes my path straight. He loves my restless heart and He puts me at ease.
So my friends, where is your restless heart taking you today? What idols are rattling through your soul? What are you obsessing about now? My hope is that you will take your restless heart to God and allow the soothing balm of His love to take all that you are wrestling with just for today. Tomorrow will come and you will be given another opportunity to do this once again. Bless you, all, and your restless heart.
Mary Jane Hamilton has grown to love her sense of style and her peaceful lake living. Mother of 2 and grandmother of 6, she has a wonderful capacity to love and is still active as The Tooth Fairy. She is extremely fond of her dachshunds, who rarely venture from her lap, and enjoys biking with her husband of 44 years. She is rekindling her writing skills and finding it life giving.
i like the connection you make between idols and shame…..hadn’t thought about that specifically, but anything about shame always catches my attention as it has had such a strangle hold on my life in the past………..lighter days recently! 😉 Thank you for your post!
Glad you are experiencing lighter days…me too!
You are welcome!
Oh Mary Jane! I know so well the feeling of restlessness that finds me even in moments of prayer. I loved reading about how you connected names to faces and hearts. There is so much beauty in you “giving your face freely.”
“There was no worry about performance…I was enough.” I love that too! Thank you for reminding us tomorrow is another opportunity to give our idols over to the Lord & let Him fill us as we release our shame! Thank you for blessing our restless hearts. <3
You are so welcome, my dear! Keep praying each day…God loves your heart even on those restless days.
The restlessness rattles around in my heart as well, noisy and distracting. I loved this story and how the choice to pray returned to you with blessings, quieting that noise. A good reminder for me. Thank you.
Love you, my friend and your restless heart as well. My hope is your coming days bring rest to your heart.
Mary Jane, I LOVE this and your voice and your face. I love how you capture the restlessness, the worrying about what is going on in the other groups, the excusing, and the shame. Check. Check. Check. and Check. I love your realness and your excellent questions and your speaking truth about shame as I am in a season of struggle with that very thing. Thank you for your words fitly spoken. They truly are apples of gold in a setting of silver. Blessings!
Blessings to you as well. Yep, our hearts are restless and we are loved. Be still, my dear, you are known and loved!
You preach it, Sister MJ! Love this. It is so hard to recognize idols. You are brave and shining.
Hey, my friend, so good to hear from you and see your face. I’m in need of a good dose of Michelle. Ah, yes, idols! Who knew they were so closely attached to shame? Becoming clearer each day.
I love your candor and your courage to name. And I love the picture of a simply beautiful, living woman. I feel like I’m going to be naming for the rest of my life, and I’m glad I’m in good company:).
Yes, my dear, you and I are in good company. Naming it, disarms it. Let’s continue to simply be honest. Thank you for your words of kindness and encouragement.
“…where is your restless heart taking you today? What idols are rattling through your soul? What are you obsessing about now? Dear Mary Jane, your words are compelling. Your questions cause me to ponder my own answers. Thank you for places for me to look more deeply at the idols that are rattling my soul and the obsessions I’m entertaining. They have stayed way too long and are uninvited. May my restless heart and yours find a place of calm. As always, I love your honest words Mary Jane.
Restlessness…can’t stop obsessing…yep, I see myself here as well. It always brings such a sense of relief to know I’m not alone in that. Thank you!
Your words come with an …ahh this morning. Thank you for laying it all out so clear and real ! I can hear you saying ” so there you have it my friend”! And yes indeed there “it” is and now I will sit and ponder your gift.