Distractions From God (and How to Avoid Them)

This article is an excerpt from the Shortform book guide to "Get Out of Your Head" by Jennie Allen. Shortform has the world's best summaries and analyses of books you should be reading.

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What are some common distractions from God? How do distractions from God stop you from reaching your full potential?

Distractions from God include things like procrastination, going on your phone too much, and not making time with God a priority. This can lead to a feeling of stagnation, impacting your relationship with God negatively. 

Find out common distractions from God and how to deal with them below. 

Distractions From God

The issue we’ll discuss in this article is distractions from God, which keep you from seeking God’s help to quiet the chaos in your mind.

Some typical thoughts associated with distraction from God include the following. Look for these in your own mind:

  • My schedule’s too full. I don’t have time for prayer and meditation.
  • I’m the active type. I’m not one for silence and solitude.
  • God has better things to do than help me with my little problems.

Your weapon against distraction from God is stillness, a state of silent rest in God’s presence from which you can recognize and combat your negative spirals. The enemy’s basic lie in this battle is that you’ll feel better if you remain distracted from God.

The distraction in question is a perpetual inability—or rather a decision not—to spend time in silence and solitude with God. There are many ways to keep yourself distracted from God, including (but certainly not limited to):

  • Social media
  • Busyness, packing your schedule
  • Playing music constantly
  • Juggling jobs, committees, and too many friends
  • “Doing things” for God but not taking time to actually meet with him

The enemy’s lie is fueled by our fear of facing ourselves and being “found out” by him. There’s an irony here, because God actually wants to be with you in your fear and shame, but these are the very things that make you run from him.

This fear of facing ourselves and God breaks down into three different sub-fears:

  • Fear of working: Quiet time with God brings up responsibilities that you need to fulfill, such as interpersonal reconciliations and job commitments.
  • Fear of having to change: Quiet time brings up an awareness of sin, bad habits, and your need for repentance.
  • Fear of being all alone: Quiet time potentially brings up the fear that you’ll find God isn’t really there.

The author gives many real-life examples of distraction from God, and of its seductive gravitational pull:

  • A friend sought the author’s counsel over frantic and exhausting troubles with her marriage, children, friends, and a hectic life. The author recommended that she spend half an hour in solitude with God. A day later, the friend gave multiple excuses for not doing it.
  • The author describes her own tendency during her 18-month crisis to shy away from quiet time with God. She didn’t even know why she acted that way.
  • The author gives an account of a day when she compulsively socialized at her church and spent too much time on social media when she really wanted to spend some deep time alone with God.

The fundamental danger of distraction is that you’re never actually “in neutral.” You’re always moving toward or away from something—if not toward God, then away from him.

The Solution: Stillness With God

The truth that explodes the lie of distraction is that God specifically built us for silent communion with him. As in the example of Paul regaining his sight after the light of Christ had blinded him and then spending an extended time fasting in silence and solitude, stillness with God enables you to see reality as it truly is. 

The way you defeat your enemy of distraction is by learning to practice stillness deliberately. Such communion with God really is available to you. Remember the master interrupting thought: “I have a choice.” You can choose to be still with God.

Distractions From God (and How to Avoid Them)

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Like what you just read? Read the rest of the world's best book summary and analysis of Jennie Allen's "Get Out of Your Head" at Shortform.

Here's what you'll find in our full Get Out of Your Head summary:

  • Satan’s master plan for poisoning your mind with toxic thoughts
  • How to replace ungodly lies with scriptural truths
  • How to “put on the mind of Christ” and fulfill God’s plan for you

Elizabeth Shaw

Elizabeth graduated from Newcastle University with a degree in English Literature. Growing up, she enjoyed reading fairy tales, Beatrix Potter stories, and The Wind in the Willows. As of today, her all-time favorite book is Wuthering Heights, with Jane Eyre as a close second. Elizabeth has branched out to non-fiction since graduating and particularly enjoys books relating to mindfulness, self-improvement, history, and philosophy.

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