Do you have spiritual ADD? Spiritual Attention Deficit Disorder?
Distractions often keep us from focusing on God. Our minds wander. We wonder why our relationship with God feels distant.
For so long, I thought time with God had to be a certain way with a specific time and formula. It had to be quiet, with everything else stopped and put away. Too often, that quiet didn’t come.
- And I felt guilty.
- I felt lacking and displeasing to God.
- I felt like a spiritual failure, as if God was depending on me to do everything just so.
I teach Sunday school for teens. Most of them read the Bible on their phones. Nothing wrong with that, but it’s so easy to begin with a good intention of focusing on God. And then just a quick look at texts, email, or FB messages. It is not only teens that struggle to develop spiritual concentration.
Quite possibly, we are the most distracted generation with all of our instant news, technology, gadgets, schedules, and activities. And it is even worse for our children who have cut their teeth on texting and social media.
Distractions hinder our ability to relate to God.
How about when we are reading our Bible? Times of prayer and listening to God through attentive Bible reading are vital to our spiritual health and maturity. To our relationship with God.
How many times have we sat down to pray and read Scripture only to have the duties of the day barge in with “Don’t forget to do this…and that… oh and this—better stop and do this one right now.” What if we begin to understand that prayer is part of being present with Christ?
Maybe we try to get up early to spend time with God and find ourselves drifting back to sleep. Can you relate?
I can’t hear you, Lord.
Listening to God is an area where we often struggle with distraction and lack of spiritual attention.
In addition to busy schedules and heavy work loads, distractions come in many forms. Some distractions are external to our environment and lifestyle. Others are internal, rooted in our thinking and emotions.
- Cluttered mind
- Other priorities
- Lack of time
- Critical thought
- Unresolved conflict or resentment
- Negative self-talk
- Over busy
- Talking too much
- Unconfessed sin
- Runaway emotions
- Lack of concentration
The first step to increasing spiritual attention is identifying our main distractors. Take time to consider what keeps you from spiritual focus and intimacy in your relationship with God. Loving God and spiritual focus go together. We give our attention to what we value.
“But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you” (Matthew 6:33).
Identify your greatest distraction to spiritual focus.
Ask God to reveal your greatest challenge in spiritual attention, one area to let Him work on. Identify your greatest distraction and pray about it. Let God show you any issues that are at the root of your distracted mind. Seek His wisdom and help.
“I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever; that is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it does not see Him or know Him, but you know Him because He abides with you and will be in you” (John 14:16-17).
Intimacy with God grows as we come to know His heart and cherish His presence in all the comings and goings of our days. Listening to God transforms us—bringing us to willing obedience and forward motion.
“If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our abode with him…” (John 14:23).
Begin with asking God to show you one thing to focus on when you spend time in His word. Ask Him to open your ears and awaken your attention. He may draw your attention to one of these things: (Print this list to use as a resource when reading your Bible).
God develops spiritual focus and intimacy as He opens our ears, wakens our attention, and we respond…one day at a time.
What helps you increase your spiritual focus? Leave a comment, for I’d love to hear from you!
More posts on overcoming spiritual distractions.
Are You Busy, Worried, and Bothered?
From Frantic to Settled: Inner Room Living in a Busy Life
Simple Ways to Meditate on God’s Word
Overcome Three Problems of Careless Listening
Ah, the distractions. They are real and derailing. I like the idea of focusing on one thing at a time.Thanks for the list, Ginger. So helpful!
Hello there! I’m so glad to have you join me today. I’m glad you found the list to be helpful. It has been a mainstay for me for a long time. May Jesus give you an increasing ability to focus on him with depth and great heart.
Great post! Spiritual ADD, such a wonderful description of the common malady of today’s Christians. Thanks so much. Blessings to you!
I’m glad you enjoyed this post. We all struggle with this at least some of the time. Thanks for joining the conversation today.
I have Spiritual ADD! I think it is the hardest when I keep pushing myself to draw near to God. It is really cool though when I feel His grace covering me when I struggle. visiting from coffee for your heart #89
I have really been letting go of the self pressure to “do it all right.” Seeking God more intimately rather than seeking good spiritual habits. I am finding that my consistency is better when I focus more on practicing the presence of God. Thanks for joining me today!
Ginger, this is such a good post. I appreciate so much your thoughtful treatment of such an important topic for us today (with all the social media and instant news distraction.) Also you have so many practical tips on here! Stellar post friend, pinning, sharing, and tweeting today.
Thank you so much for sharing this content! You have lots of great posts on really getting into the Bible. This is the nutshell of a speaking engagement from last week. The women really enjoyed the content. Blessings, Betsy!
All such spot on thoughts… we are so distracted as a people. I know I am often led astray by my to do and should do lists- I have to habitually have a brain dump so I can remain focused in my prayer time! Thanks for such timely thoughts to help me snap to spiritual attention ♥
Heather, I’m so glad you stopped by. I love the vintage theme of your blog. What a good idea to do a brain dump to help you focus in prayer. May God bless your attention as you seek him. Blessings today!
Ginger, Ginger, Ginger…I too suffer from spiritual ADD when I have set apart that quiet time and it’s interrupted by remembering I need to do this or add something to my to do list for today, etc. One thing that definitely helps me is putting my phone on silent. It allows me to not only hear myself pray but to hear Him as I read God’s word. I love your list of “one simple thing” I have no doubt He will reveal so much more when we commit to truly hearing from Him each day! Thank you for sharing such a fantastic and thought provoking post. Have a wonderful weekend and blessings to you and yours!
Thank you. I’m so very glad this post has been helpful. What a great idea to put your phone on silent to aid your concentration. We often give others this courtesy, but neglect to honor our own need for quiet phones. I used to write my journal entries on the computer. This didn’t last too long as it was too easy to get distracted by email and social media. I’m back to pen and paper, which helps me stay focused. Have a good weekend as well!
I have brain cancer and it is so hard to focus sometimes. But God has been so good to me. I write scripture down a lot and read over it constantly to try to maintain it to memory. I love your list and will copy that down also. Thank you
Gina, my heart goes out to you that you are facing such a challenging health issue. I’m so glad that in the midst of the challenges you face that you see God’s goodness. I’m praying for healing and that you continue to experience God’s presence in tangible ways.