When You've Just Got To Do Something
Life without all the normal activities we are used to has a way of bringing hidden restlessness to the surface. Like that feeling you get in the elevator, waiting impatiently for the doors to close while repeatedly punching the door-close button. Then, when the doors finally close, time slows even more as you wait forever for your floor (and often awkwardly with strangers). Many of us grab our phones and find something to scroll.
I read something recently that stepped on my toes (actually it was my thumbs). Referring to the method of scrolling news or social media on our smartphones, Justin Earley writes, “[Be] wary of the flicking thumb motion. The restless thumb often correlates to the restless heart.” Have you noticed this restlessness in yourself lately? Normally, when the stir-crazy feelings come, we go to the movies, or go shopping, or go to the gym, etc. But now, without all those options, we may find ourselves flicking our thumbs more (or something like it), searching for something to do with that inner restlessness.
Did you know that most of the door-close buttons in elevators don’t work at all? In some states, the law requires that such buttons work, but (on behalf of those with disabilities) they are on such a delay that they are pretty well useless—except for momentarily appeasing a person’s impatient, hurried, restless heart. Our phone screens are similar. Our world is full of activity and noise and stuff that we’re repeatedly convinced will settle that inner restlessness.
Psalm 127:2 says, “It is vain that you rise up early and go late to rest, eating the bread of anxious toil; for he gives to his beloved sleep.” The psalm reveals the futility and frustration of human activities and endeavors that don’t involve God. There is a hurried and busy way of living and working that never satisfies. And then there is God—who gives rest to those he loves. So, when you feel the urge to do something, anything to relieve those restless and unsettled feelings, don’t just find something to scroll. Truly, it’s a button that doesn’t work. Instead, turn to the time-tested habits that orient you to God: meditating on God’s word, praying, singing praises, counting blessings, pondering promises, etc. These activities are never “useless buttons.”