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6.09.2014

Restless - Group Read, Part One

I'm reading Restless by Jennie Allen in a group read with Jamie's Rabbits. I've decided to blog about my responses to the discussion questions here. Please feel free to read along.


What was your favorite sentence or passage or idea in Part One?
My favorite part was in Chapter 2, when she writes:
I've wasted a lot of my life. I grew up with a sickening chase to win people's approval that I could not ever catch. And so I have given most of my life to the cause of being liked. God was never enough for me.

I'm a people-pleaser. An oldest child who could easily be disciplined with the idea that I'd somehow disappointed someone. I struggled to find what I wanted to do, because I ran with every idea presented to me in a desperate race to make someone happy. In that chase, I lost who I was, and what God might have done for my life, because I was trying to live up to someone else's idea of what was right for me.

I've done that so long, it's even harder now to figure out what it is that is right for me. Not just what someone else thinks is right for me. (Although there are times I would really like someone to just walk up to me, hand me a packet and say "Here are your answers. Run with it."  


Can you know God's purpose? 
My initial inclination is to say no, because I've never been able to suss it out myself and every time I think I've figured out something, I get the left-field thing that has me second guessing myself. I do think God probably laughs at us for over-thinking things. 

It's like the story of the whole idea about what an author means when they write something. Do the blue curtains symbolize the melancholy of the protagonist? No. It just means the curtains are blue. Maybe God's purpose is as simple as it seems - love each other, be kind to each other, love God. (And stop worrying.)


Do you know people who seem to be walking in God's purpose for their lives? What makes them different?
Oh absolutely. I am probably way more jealous of those people than I should be, because I know they have questions and fears and doubts, even if they are covered up by the image they project of walking absolutely and certainly in God's will for their lives. 


For me, it's the confidence that makes a difference. It's certainty. Knowing that even though they may not understand why they are where they are, or have those common fears, they still are certain of their personal "north star" and are walking confidently in that direction.


Are you surrounded by dreamers in your life? 
I like to think I have a group of realistic dreamers. Chase the dream but pay the power bill. 


When did you stop dreaming?
I don't even know. One day I was imagining this wonderful life, and the next I was in the shower on the way to a job I don't really like, wondering what happened to all those dreams. 


In Chapter 7, Jennie provides the running parable in which she shares four starting places. Where are you in the race?
A. Numb: Busy, surviving, somewhat content.
B. Thirsty: Not satisfied, don't know what to do about it.
C. Running Free: living it, feeling purpose, seeing God move.
D. At The Starting Line: don't really know God or have a personal relationship with him. Start here.

Personally, I'm at B: Thirsty. I'm not satisfied. It's hard to focus on what's around me, because I know in my heart this is not what I'm supposed to be doing. I have moments of satisfaction, but those are not the things I can immerse myself in. I find myself dreading certain things way in advance, and focusing on the things that provide fulfillment while I'm doing chores or even doing the more mindless parts of the proverbial grind. I just want to run, but fear of failing is holding me back. 

This book has been immensely moving for me so far. I cannot even express how it feels to know that someone else feels this way too. I'm not the only one. I'm not the only one out there who thinks "I don't know what God is doing, but he's doing something." That's a little freeing in itself.