Dogs can be hilarious and even annoying with their ability to get distracted. Often cats get pegged as the curious ones, but I have seen more dogs get into trouble being curious and lacking caution. After Evie and I got married, we got a labrador retriever named Callie. Overall she was a great dog, but she was easily distracted by just about everything. She was so curious and full of energy as a puppy, and training was difficult because she was always drawn away by every little thing that came by. Squirrels were the worst, she could spend hours tormenting and being tormented by squirrels. As Christians, I am afraid many of us lack discipline in our devotional life, and we allow dis.... OH SQUIRREL.... distractions to pull us away from focused attention on the Word. How do you eliminate Distractions?
Before we really talk about eliminating distractions; we need to identify them. It is an extremely helpful exercise to ask questions to try to unearth problems in our life. I am going to ask a series of questions, and I want you to answer them honestly:
Eliminating the Distraction of Technology
"The moment of drifting into thought has been so clipped by modern technology. Our lives are filled with distraction with smartphones and all the rest. People are so locked into not being present." - Glen Hansard
Technology is all around us, and is one of the greatest blessings and toughest struggles of our generation. People blame "young people", but I seldom go to a public place where 90% of people of every age aren't glued to their phones. The average American feels the urge to pick up their phone and look at it every 8-12 minutes! Our devotions are important, and the time we invest in reading the Word, and deep thinking about the Word is necessary for every Christian. If you are a person who has your phone on you at all times, how do you eliminate that distraction?
If notifications, dings, alarms, screens lighting up, and more are pulling you from God's Word... get drastic about your actions. Personally, I would get a hard copy of the Scriptures (like actual paper between two covers... a real book) and put all technology away during my quite time. If you cannot be disciplined to not look, then you need to remove that distraction. I love reading my Bible on my iPad, and I love the ability to remove all notifications while I am reading... it has never really been a problem for me. If it is a problem for you, and you identified tech as your major distraction, maybe it is time to remove electronics from the picture during your devotions.
Eliminating the Distraction of Others
While in Bible College, I enjoyed living in the dormitory. Every year I had great roommates, and God blessed our fellowship and camaraderie. With that being said, a small dorm room with multiple roommates can make private devotional time difficult. My freshman year, I found myself waking up around 4:30 just so I could have an hour alone with my Lord. I understand the difficulty of others creating unwanted distractions. Actually, as I am writing this my 8 month old daughter is being quite the little distraction with her attempts to put things in her mouth she is not supposed to...
For you, It maybe that when you try to have your devotions your spouse wants to talk, turns on the TV, or starts talking on the phone. Maybe your young kids wake up super early or keep waking up while you are trying to meet with the Lord. You might have a roommate who doesn't respect your time with the Lord. Could it be parents or a sibling who disturb your quite time with the Lord? Whatever the distraction, here are a few steps to try:
Eliminating the Distraction of YOU
"Sometimes my greatest distraction is me."
If we are honest, we distract ourselves far more than anything else distracts us. We allow our mind to wander, day dreaming, worrying, or even just going brain dead for a time. I cannot tell you how many times I have caught myself reading my Bible, all the while my mind is elsewhere. I have to reset, refocus, and backup in my Bible reading when this happens. Waking up early to do devotions and present the problem of fatigue and tiredness too. Ashamedly, I have to admit I have fallen asleep praying more than once. How do you resolve these problems... the problems of you?
If sleep is a problem for you, and you find yourself nodding off during your devotions. Try this: