I recently conducted a survey evaluating people’s “Time with God” that revealed three main ways we get distracted in this all-important pursuit.
For today’s post, I’ll be focusing primarily on the top way we’re distracted since it’s probably the most obvious offender. I bet you could even guess what it is since you likely struggle with it yourself.
The results reveal that 45% of you are distracted by “the TV or phone,” with the options of “kids need my help” and “work schedule” tying for second at 27.5% each. No big surprise there either!
I believe that the distraction of TV and phones might be worse than normal due to the quarantines that have kept us safely distancing ourselves from others. What better way to stay entertained and connected virtually than by our TVs and/or phones, right?
My husband and I have certainly given our streaming services a workout over the past almost 12 months!
I’d much rather go on a double date with some of our “couple” friends. But until it gets a lot warmer, vaccines become more plentiful, and cases go downward, we will spend many of our free evenings enjoying a favorite TV program together.
Often it’s not the TV that distracts us as much as our phones when we sit down to spend time with God. It’s so very tempting to look and respond when we hear our phones pinging, telling us that someone wants to say something to us.
Instead, we must remember that God wants to say something to us!
And He’s the most important person in our lives, deserving of our full, undivided attention each day.
The reason I want to talk about how to avoid being distracted from our time with God is because we need time with Him for encouragement and guidance in marriage. This is especially true when we’re struggling in our marriages.
Anytime we go through a challenge, we need to find lots of healthy supports to bear the weight. And God and His word are the greatest source of load-bearing support in our lives (Ps. 119:50; Is. 41:10; Mt. 4:1-4; James 1:5; II Tim. 3:16-17)!
So, how can you avoid being distracted by your phone/TV, kids, and/or the demands of your job during your time with God?
7 Ways to Avoid Being Distracted from Your Time with God
1. Make a verbal commitment to God of your desire to meet with Him daily.
You might want to pray this every day before you start to form this habit. However, praying this each day will also kickstart your effort to make it a daily habit. He loves to hear that you want to meet with Him. It’s endearing to Him and He always answers a prayer like this!
This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears us—whatever we ask—we know that we have what we asked of him. —1 Jn. 5:14-15
Besides, it’s helpful for you to verbalize this commitment (Ps. 56:12). We tend to try harder to keep any promises we verbalize, especially when we say them to the Lord.
2. Choose an optimum and consistent time, setting it on your calendar.
Benjamin Franklin once wisely said, “If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail.”
Putting this commitment on your calendar helps to integrate it into your schedule, not to mention reminding you of it each day.
If you have a crazy schedule that doesn’t allow for consistency, be like Jesus and get up a bit earlier each day so that you create this essential consistency.
Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed. —Mark 1:35
3. Pick a place that’s private and free of distractions.
I used to meet with God in our loft near a big, bright window. Though this was a relatively quiet and distraction-free spot, my boys and husband often walked by or interrupted me.
So, at some point, I moved to my bedroom and closed the door during my time with God. Eventually, I was able to turn an empty bedroom into my office and retreat.
If you have children who are constantly around, you’ll need to find a time before they get up, are napping, or otherwise consumed with an activity of their own.
When my boys were tots, making time with God during their naptimes worked very well for me most days. I even found time for a quick 20-minute nap most days after spending time with God at the start.
4. Silence or don’t bring your phone to your private spot.
You can also go into your phone’s settings and choose “Do Not Disturb” to keep people from bugging you during your time.
The hardcore option is to leave your phone in another room for 15, 30, or 60 minutes (or more, if you like) while you meet with God. This will certainly keep you focused as you sit at Jesus’ feet.
He will be honored by your devotion and won’t let it be taken from you (Lk. 10:41-42).
5. Ask God to guard your time and keep your attention.
Don’t try to do these important tips in your own strength! You need God’s help and power to do them successfully.
On the occasions when your phone, kids, or job interrupt, asking for God’s help ahead of time will help you to recover more quickly as well.
For it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose. —Phil. 2:13
6. Play soft music in the background.
This is obviously an option, but I’ve found it to be really helpful for creating a worshipful, pleasant, and less distracting atmosphere. You might also want to use earbuds or sound-canceling headphones to really shut out the world for a brief time!
I love playing instrumental music since songs with words tend to distract me. If you have an Amazon Prime account and use the app, click on the link to find my “Study Music” playlist to use during your own quiet time.
7. Write out your notes.
You can do this either in a notebook or on your computer. But if you use your computer, be sure to close any Facebook or other social media tabs that might distract you.
Writing out your notes keeps you more engaged with Scripture. It helps to improve concentration, blocks distractions, not to mention reminding you of where you left off if you do get distracted.
I will delight in your decrees and not forget your word. —Psalm 119:16(NLT)
This is an updated edition of a post originally published on Messy Marriage