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!