The Gift of Restlessness

A Spirituality for Unsettled Seasons

The Gift of Restlessness

A Spirituality for Unsettled Seasons

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No one asks for restless moments. No one wants to feel irritated, unsettled, or stuck. When pressed into restless seasons in our relationships, work, or faith, we feel the hum: You can't go back, but you can't stay here. But what if restlessness is normal, healthy, and even holy? What if spiritual questions are not problems to be solved but invitations of the soul? And what if spiritual maturity inspires restlessness rather than inoculating us against it?

Spiritual director Casey Tygrett upends the notion that restlessness is a sign that we must move up, move on, or move out. Working within the prayerful tradition of writers like Henri Nouwen and Barbara Brown Taylor, Tygrett turns over our innermost questions and holds them up to the light. Where do I belong? What am I here for? Is there enough? And he finds a surprising alignment of these restless questions with the prayer that Jesus taught us to pray. In that ancient prayer's pleas for belonging, purpose, sustenance, mending, protection, and rescue, we find freedom to ask basic human questions and permission to befriend our longings. Each chapter offers profoundly spiritual practices that, when taken together, create a spirituality sturdy enough for our unsettled seasons.

In a culture that values happiness and self-actualization, we often race toward the pat resolution or the quick fix. But in doing so, we miss the subtle gifts of unsettled times. Remaining in restlessness, rather than rushing toward the next job, vacation, or partner, moves us deeper into the life of the Spirit and our own belovedness.


"As the author writes about 'the little graces hidden' in the seasons of our lives, I found myself encountering hidden graces on nearly every page. This book is honest and raw and real, unafraid to wade into the waters of restlessness, to help us understand that it is not a pain to be avoided but a gift to be received. And because the writer was unafraid, I felt myself becoming less afraid and more welcoming of something I once feared, but now see as an ally in my formation."

James Bryan Smith, author of The Good and Beautiful God

"Perhaps you, too, need a reset for the restlessness of your soul; a new way of noting and noticing what God is up to in your life. If so, The Gift of Restlessness is the balm you've been looking for, and Casey is just the right guide."

Sean Palmer, pastor, speaker, and author of Speaking by the Numbers, Unarmed Empire, and Forty Days on Being a Three

"How can restlessness serve as a 'skilled leader' for my spiritual journey? What can I learn from the Lord's Prayer if I approach it as a 'prayer of the restless nomad'? Tygrett delves into these transformative questions with honesty, rigor, and grace. Drawing on both his own life experience and the richness of Scripture, Tygrett reimagines each line of the Lord's Prayer as a holy container, revealing the surprising ways in which restlessness, unsettledness, and even irritation can open us up to deep and lasting spiritual maturity. Rather than resisting restlessness, or judging it as unholy, Tygrett invites us to listen to our dissatisfactions with curiosity, patience, and wonder."

Debie Thomas, columnist for The Christian Century and author of Into the Mess and Other Jesus Stories

"What Casey Tygrett does with this book provides language for a vital and deeply human aspect of spiritual practice. The Gift of Restlessness sets readers free to be fully human in our pursuit of God, rather than feel like we have to transcend our humanity in order to be spiritual."

Justin McRoberts, author of Sacred Strides

"Are seasons of wilderness and restlessness gifts or curses? Are they something to be avoided, overcome, or embraced as a path toward authentic growth and wholeness? In The Gift of Restlessness, Casey Tygrett turns the standard answer I've encountered in Christian teaching on its head and suggests--no, demonstrates, through his own life--that restlessness is not only a common and persistent spiritual state but it's also a gift. Tygrett meets us at the trailheads of six common restless-adjacent questions arising in our lives and walks with us as we live in a now-and-not-yet state with hope, joy, and curiosity."

Jeff Crosby, author of The Language of the Soul

"In The Gift of Restlessness, Casey Tygrett comes alongside us as a refreshing 'non-anxious presence,' a companion amid a tension-filled journey. Tygrett offers us wisdom and comfort out of a deep well. He helps us gently 'interrogate what is' in places of restlessness and anxiety, and shows us how it is possible to live, and even flourish 'between wild beasts and angels.' I, for one, need wise ones like Tygrett to help anchor me in a world full of cacophonous voices inside and outside of the church--voices that lead me away from the good, true, and beautiful toward the counterfeit. This is a beautiful book, born of hard-won insight, and written in such a way that clearly demonstrates Tygrett is a seasoned spiritual director."

Marlena Graves, author of the Way Up Is Down and Forty Days on Being a Nine

"Like a contemporary Augustine, Casey Tygrett confesses his way through restlessness in his spiritual life and physical life. He makes us feel a little less alone in our moments of desperation or boredom, or even the absence of both. He asks us to pay attention to the absence of what we want or the absence of what we think we need, and to trust that in that liminal space, God is there still."

Lore Ferguson Wilbert, author of A Curious Faith and Handle with Care


"It is a good thing, to be restless--and to embrace that feeling with energy and drive."


"Christians seeking an extra push on their spiritual quests should take a look."

Publishers Weekly

Product Info

  • Publisher Broadleaf Books
  • Format Paperback
  • ISBN 9781506483566
  • eBook ISBN 9781506483573
  • Dimensions 5.5 x 8.5
  • Pages 163
  • Publication Date April 25, 2023