Weather permitting, my best mornings begin like this:
My coffee and I walk out to the deck. I turn on the stone fountain and let caffeine percolate in my brain. I place my Bible, journal, and coffee mug on the table, then raise the umbrella.
Seated in my outdoor sanctuary, I pray and study God’s Word—unless distracting thoughts and unwise choices obstruct my view.
Did you notice I said, “my best mornings?” True confession: They don’t all start that way. Even when the weather and my decisions allow deck time, stray thoughts surface. What time is that appointment? What should I cook for dinner? The shrubbery needs trimming.
To minimize distractions, I pull my chair closer to the table, start a conversation with God, and read Scripture. Time spent with my heavenly Father opens my spiritual eyes to see Him at work and my ears to hear His instruction throughout each day.
When I look upward from my Bible and journal, I see only the brown and white floral pattern of the umbrella’s lining and a sliver of the sky. The umbrella blocks further view, so I either close it, or walk in the yard for a few minutes to enjoy a panoramic view of God’s creation.
This morning, after removing the visual hindrance, I gazed at a vibrant blue sky filled with jumbo-sized cotton ball clouds. If I’d remained hidden in the umbrella’s shadow, I would have missed signs of God’s glory and majesty.
Our thought patterns can obscure our view of God like the deck umbrella limits my view of the sky. The enemy of our souls is a master deceiver. He devises a mental umbrella and weaves onto its lining a design of distractions, fear, worry, and doubt that can block our view of God’s peace, love, and hope.
My morning view of God can be hindered by late bedtimes, cell phone dings, and misplaced priorities.
People who find an evening time with God more suitable for their lives may discover fatigue, frustration, or the lure of technology sways them to postpone or even miss evening visits with God.
Whatever our situation or stage in life, our thoughts and choices can thwart the full biblical view of God we need to learn more about His character, to enjoy fellowship with Him, and to discern how He guides our steps.
Whatever our situation or stage in life, our thoughts and choices can thwart the full biblical view of God we need to learn more about His character, to enjoy fellowship with Him, and to discern how He guides our steps. Click To Tweet
Three Ways to Close the Umbrellas that Block Our View of God
1.Trust God and His Word, not our own thoughts.
For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.Isaiah 55:8-9 ESV
Our preconceived interpretation of truth can skew our comprehension of actual truth. (Truth is what God says about an issue.)
As a teenage driver, I once transported my friends for a downtown shopping spree. I ignored the speed limit sign on a bridge that read “15 mph” because I believed my speed of 45 mph speed was safe. Imagine my surprise when all four tires left the pavement after hitting a hump in the pavement. Five girls screamed as the Chevy station wagon became airborne and thudded down on the opposite side of the bridge.
My decision to trust my own opinion instead of the speed limit sign could have ended in disaster. When we cling to our own stubborn beliefs about the Bible instead of adopting a teachable spirit, we can restrict God’s work in our hearts and land in disobedience.
God illuminates the signs we need to heed on the road ahead. Our responsibility is to close the umbrella of stubborn pride and insistence on our own beliefs and accept God’s teaching.
Some people embrace the verses that prove God is love but ignore the passages that teach He is also a just judge. Some teach that “good people” will go to heaven, while God’s Word teaches us Jesus is the only way to eternal salvation.
Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.John 14:6 ESV
2. Set a high priority on prayer and Bible study by choosing a consistent daily time.
Close the umbrella of procrastination and beliefs that other activities are more important than spending time with God. Erase the thought that someday you’ll study the Bible when you aren’t so busy. As a friend once said, “There’s no day of the week called Someday.”
Determine to go to bed earlier, forego a television show, or limit social media engagement to allow time for prayer and study. You might track the way you spend time for a week to reveal pockets of times you hadn’t considered.
Listen to podcasts or praise music while you complete other tasks, and set aside another daily time to read the Bible.
If we devote ourselves to reading and studying the Bible, we’ll be rewarded with marvelous Truths few ever witness because most aren’t willing to gaze long and deep into the Scriptures.Jean Wilund, “It Takes a Whole Bible to Make a Whole Christian” post and video, March 10, 2021, www.jeanwilund.com
For Jean’s complete post and video: https://jeanwilund.com/it-takes-the-whole-bible-to-make-a-whole-christian/
3. Pray for guidance as you study God’s Word daily.
Close the umbrella of self-dependence when studying God’s Word. The Holy Spirit teaches us and applies scriptural truths to our hearts (John 15:26, 1 John 2:27).
Pray with the psalmist:
Open my eyes, that I may see wondrous things from Your law.Psalm 119:18 ESV
The psalmist doesn’t depend on his own ability to see with spiritual eyes. Rather, he asks God to open his eyes. Only the Holy Spirit can provide an accurate lens for seeing truth.
Our heavenly Father will show us wondrous things from His Word we may not have considered before. Instead of rereading the same familiar passages and books, why not read from different sections or study books of the Bible you haven’t read before.
Lori Hatcher’s devotional, Refresh Your Faith: Uncommon Devotions from Every Book of the Bible, offers memorable stories and wise perspectives on passages you may not have considered before. Here’s the link:
Refresh Your Faith: Uncommon Devotions from Every Book of the Bible
22 thoughts on “What Blocks Your View of God?”
“God time”, as I call it, is my favorite part of the day Ms. Jeannie. Like you, I wish I could tell you that it’s always distraction-free, but Satan (and sometimes our worldly selves) just won’t leave us alone. When those distractions come, and they do more often than I would like, I often recite a poem called “Your Silent Strength”. I view it as a form or prayer; and in it I find God’s peace re-enters my soul. Thank you for this beautiful post and great tips! God’s blessings ma’am.
You’re right, J. D., that the enemy and our thoughts flood our minds with distracting thoughts. I’m glad you have a way to refocus. Sometimes, I get up, walk around the yard to pray, and then return to my table. That process helps clear my head and refocus my heart. Thanks so much for sharing.
What a post packed with conviction, truth and plans for action. Thank you for transparently presenting our shortcomings and human weaknesses even with our good intentions.
Marilyn, I appreciate your faithful comments so much. Yes, human weakness coupled with the efforts of the enemy can sabotage our minds and hearts. I’m thankful God teaches us ways to walk in victory and win the skirmishes that threaten to derail our time with God. He is faithful.
This morning mosquito bites distracted me! I pushed back from the table to go put some tea tree oil on them, then realized (thanks to your post) that it wasn’t so important that it couldn’t wait.
Thoughts definitely interfere, but I can choose to “take them captive to obey Christ.” 2 Cor. 10:5
It’s hard to take something captive without a struggle. And pursuing intimacy with God takes active participation and commitment on my part. I have never witnessed or experienced a “passive pursuit” [oxymoron?].
1 Tim. 6:11 But as for you, O [wo]man of God, flee these things. Pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, steadfastness, gentleness.
Thanks for another thought-provoking and inspiring post!
Glenda, thank you for enriching our conversation with wise observations and Scripture. 2 Corinthians 10:5 is key in the struggle to focus on God instead of random thoughts. I agree with your assessment that “active participation and commitment” are required for victory.
“Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love… (Psalm 143:8 NIV).
What a difference in my life since starting a consistent early-morning quiet time with God. Sure, distractions plague me, but inviting Him into my day each morning keeps me aware He’s by my side every step of the way.
Enjoyed your metaphor!
Candyce, I love the verse you included and the idea of “inviting Him into my day each morning.” I often thank Him for the gift of the day and ask Him to help me use it for His glory. Thank you, Candyce, for enriching our conversation. Have a blessed day.
When I pause and go to Him in prayer, I am covered with His peace. My breathing slows, my heartbeat slows, and I lean into Him. What a wonderful blessing to be loved by Him! 🙂
You described the process of communicating with the Father perfectly, Melissa, and even included physical changes. Yes, indeed–“a wonderful blessing to be loved by Him.” It’s easy to focus on our ourselves, the enemy’s whispers, or the world around us, but turning to our heavenly Father provides safety, peace, and unconditional love. Thank you so much for commenting.
There are so many things we can let obscure seeing God work in our lives. Your strategies are sure to be eye-opening as we relate them to each situation. I love to sit on the patio with my Bible and coffee also. Every time I look at my umbrella I will remember your words!
And now, Barbara, I’ll think of you and your umbrella when I look at mine. 😉 I’m glad to know you’re an outside Bible study girl, too. You’re right that numerous distractions can block our view of God. I’m thankful you found the strategies helpful.
Each morning, with my coffee, Bible, and a plethora of books in hand, I head to my favorite overstuffed chair for my quiet time. Admittedly, some mornings, even with all the right “tools” in hand, I can easily become distracted.
Thank you for these strategies to become more purposeful and resist distractions during our quiet time. Realizing distractions are a trick of the enemy to redirect our focus off of Jesus helps me to be mindful to deny him that opportunity.
Thank you, for this wonderful post.
Dawn, collecting those tools and setting aside a time and a place sets us in the right direction. I’m thankful you found the strategies helpful. Thank you so much for reading and sharing your thoughts.
I really loved this Jeannie. Love the analogy. I think I get lost sometimes by technology. I love digging into the original language and use an app for that, but the crazy thing is notices that come through and before I know it, I’m in a hole and completely distracted. Thanks Jeannie!
I fall into that same hole sometimes, Sylvia. Those pop-up notices are distracting. I’m glad the analogy was beneficial in our efforts to thwart thoughts (and pop-ups 😉 ) that get us off track. I appreciate you taking the time to comment.
Thanks for the reminder to make my time with God a priority. I went downstairs to get my Daily Light to do my evening devotion after I finish reading your blog. Thanks for pushing me kindly and gently to God’s Word.
Joanna, I need those “kind and gentle pushes,” too. I’m glad you mentioned making time with God a priority because that determines how we spend our time. We don’t want to miss precious times with our heavenly Father. Thanks so much.
There are certainly so many things in our lives that can block our view of God, like your umbrella did for the sky! the three suggestions you gave for opening up that view are so important. I find it’s especially helpful for me to try to have a consistent time each day. Thank you Jeannie, for your insights.
Kathy, I need the suggestions, too. We know what’s important, and we long to spend time with God, but those distractions can creep in quickly, can’t they? You’re right that there are so many thoughts and people and circumstances that can rob us of cherished time in Bible study and prayer. We can remind each other to stay the course. I appreciate your comments.
I felt like this was a personal message, just for me. My “planned time” for Bible study is in the mornings. But often, like you, I’m distracted by a long list of “what I need to do today” tasks. Your strategies are right on target. Thank you for inspiring me to put the important things first.
Katherine, I felt the post was a personal message for me while I was writing it. I love spending time with God, as I know you do, but sometimes in the middle of Bible study and prayer, the distractions parade through my head and distract me. We all need reminders and strategies to help us. We can also pray for each other in this endeavor. I appreciate you adding to our conversation.