I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in Me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from Me you can do nothing.
—Jesus (John 15:3-5)
My response to the restlessness of longing has so often led me to not simply remain. Uncertain or uncomfortable with even a moment's silence or inactivity, I run, run, run to occupy myself, to fill the silence with noise and the inactivity with busyness. The fact that I am surprised when I do not rest is nearly the apex of my foolishness. Nearly. But the pinnacle is this: I am surprised to be fruitless and withering when I choose to do something other than remaining in the vine.
Feeling it is a blessing. I must know my branchness, be aware of my dependency, hurt because of my need. Realizing this, even if only for a quick moment of gracious clarity, moves me toward prayer of a dangerous sort: "Lord, may I be a continual failure apart from Christ. May I know nothing but frustration and powerlessness when I do not simply let myself abide in Him. May my resources never be enough; may my pride be put continually to death."
I am critical to my response to the restlessness of longing, not to the restlessness itself. It is good. The restlessness is what calls me toward rest; the longing is what tells me I was created for more. They are the beckonings of God.
And His exhortation, somehow, is to remain: "Remain a clean man, for I have made you clean. Remain a loved man, for I have loved you and am loving you still. Remain, and know life fed from Me into you. Remain, and see wondrous fruit borne in you, that you may enjoy and nourish others. Remain as close to me as you can ever be, where I Myself have placed you— we shall abide in one another and I shall be your life. Stay here, with Me. Remain."