1. Acknowledge and explore it.
Why am I distracted? Am I having basic needs met, like sleep, food, exercise, and white space in my day to think? (Consider grabbing a snack or some yummy lotion to spread on your feet to make this time feel more like “you time” rather than checking a “should-do” box. Moms with young kids welded to thy knees–more ideas on that here. If you’re in need of a few minutes to settle your mind, set a timer on your phone and let your thoughts wander aimlessly. It’s…actually healthy.) What’s appealing about the rabbit of my brain’s bunny trails? Is it a fantasy? Is it feeding a need that I wish I had met right now-like comfort, security, approval, or power? Is there anything in my circumstances making me hunger for this…or is it just my natural security blanket? Commit the “holes” you’re feeling to God, and meditate on verses that direct you toward His complete comfort, security, acceptance, and power.
2. If your heart’s troubled, explore your emotional static in place of your next prescribed devotional.
Invite your deepest questions and heart’s cry into the sanctuary. David was famous for this! Are you worried? Anxious or stressed? Angry? Grieving? Bitter? Aimless? Dive in with God, inviting Him into your questions and emotion. Find Scriptures to specifically counter head-on lies or stresses with which you’re dealing.
3. If it’s your to-do list or ideas you can’t stop from coming, keep a list
…in your journal or on a notepad beside you. Come back to them later, now that they’re secure and won’t run away. For the to-do list: Pray peace and wisdom over your tasks–that you’ll let God’s voice and priorities run your day. Commit to operate, as Matt Perman writes, from peace rather than for peace.
And for those creative ideas: I get this. Creativity is how I’m wired, and it naturally flows from my worship and time with God. Life-giver/Ultimate Creator=ideas flowing from the pores. We co-create! So I take a few minutes to indulge that happiness with Him, then steer back so that ideally, my outward pursuits don’t supersede our relationship.
4. Get artsy.
Drawing a verse or Bible story or Scriptural concept, painting while listening to worship music, or adult coloring books (there are tons specifically for Scripture meditation…and even a Bible for artwork in the margins!) sometimes help us focus on a single verse in worship. More ideas for helping kids learn to meditate on Scripture here…that might just translate to adults.
I like going on a run and praying or listening to a podcast or worship music, or even uttering prayers from yoga poses. (At least one reader has had concern about this; feel free to read my non-authoritative response here.)
6. Meditate on one verse to quiet your soul.
Turn it over in your mind with eyes closed, breathing deeply. If you want, jot down observations that apply to your life or open up your understanding of God.
7. Do something different.
You wouldn’t always go on the same date with your spouse; you wouldn’t always try to have great conversations with a child in the same place. This post has 31 ways to jazz up your time with God.
Help us out! How do you deal with spiritual distraction?
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