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Restlessness and Discontent Aren’t All Bad

April 27, 2010

By Sister Sheila S.

Sometimes it is good to feel restless or discontent in our lives.  Have you ever had that feeling yourself?  Lately I have had that growing, restless feeling deep within myself.

I have come to know that when the feeling does not go away I have to begin to pay attention to it.  Prayer helps, reflection goes a long way and talking with a spiritual director and/or friends enables me to see what the root cause of my discontent might be.  Usually no one thing helps but in combination they help to form a whole picture.  Once the cause is determined, I can usually figure out a plan to come back to balance within my life.  But discontentment or restlessness is not always a bad thing.  Often it is the place where growth can occur with careful attention.  It moves us along toward something new.

In the past few months I have been attentive to my own restlessness and after prayerful reflection, conversations and soul searching I have concluded that it is time for me to move from the local community I am living in to another, yet to be named, living community.  There is nothing wrong with where and with whom I am living now, in fact, it is quite nice and comfortable and a good place to be but I have had this growing sense that it is time to move on, to start again, to be challenged in a new situation.

I don’t know where I am going or with whom I will end up; it is quite the “leap of faith.”  But that is where the restlessness  and faith are leading me at this moment.  I love living in community and it gives me great joy so I know I will be with other Sisters of Mercy.  I also know that each community experience I have had over the years has contributed to my gowth as a person and as a woman religious and has supported my growth in ministry.  So now that the decision to move has been made I am going about the process of looking for the “next right move.”

In our style of negotiating this process, I have spoken to our Local Leader about my desire and she has shared with me some community living options that might be available.  I have met with two local communities and we shared wonderful conversations about our desires for living community.  We have talked openly about our needs in community and how each may contribute to the life of that particular group.  There is a a level of trust and definitely a “sisterhood” among us as we share.  It is a good process where each feels affirmed and each is heard.

Now the process continues with each community determining if I will fit into that group.  I, too, am considering how I see myself fitting with each of these communities.  Hopefully we will agree and one local community will emerge as the right place for me at this time.  Openness, listening, prayer, deep conversation, honesty and genuine care are the hallmarks of this process.  Is it easy??  Not so much…but well worth the effort if I find myself in the place of most potential for my personal growth and our communal growth together.

Yes, sometimes in the midst of our contentment little nudgings of the Spirit disrupt our tranquil lives and unsettle us enough to move us in new directions so that we might be challenged to new growth and new possibilities.  Be open to the possibilities…where is the Spirit leading you in this moment of your life?  Take time to seek the blessing that might be before you and see where it leads.

God bless us all on the journey!

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