5 Signs You’re Drifting from God And 3 Ways to Reel It Back In
How do we go from a burning desire to go deeper to a lukewarm living out of our faith? Yesterday it might have seemed like we were lovingly beholding the face of Jesus, then BAM, we’re out in the middle of the ocean, bobbing further and further away from our intimacy with God. While it may not have been a hectic summer schedule that took you out, be on the lookout for these 5 signs of drifting from God.
It really began quite innocently. She was dreadfully sick that Sunday, so she didn’t go to church. He had a paper to complete that Tuesday, so he didn’t make it to Bible study. She accidentally overslept and missed her weekly prayer call with her accountability partner. Before they knew it, a month had gone by. Neither had been to church, their time in God’s word had evaporated and their prayer lives had whittled down to “So help me God!”
Does any of their story sound familiar? Have you ever been totally on fire for God, hot but then you’re not?
How do we go from a burning desire to go deeper to a lukewarm living out of our faith? I call it the slow drift and we’re all susceptible to being caught up in its current. Yesterday it might have seemed like we were lovingly beholding the face of Jesus, then BAM, we’re out in the middle of the ocean, bobbing further and further away from our intimacy with God.
Sometimes major life events cause our relationship with God to come to a screeching halt. A health crisis, the birth or death of an immediate family member, feeling like God didn’t answer your prayer—these are some of the big things that can derail your intimacy with God. But from what I‘ve seen most often, it's not the cataclysmic events that pull our attention away, but more so the small foxes (Song of Solomon 2:15) and slow drifts.
“What am I doing God? How did I end up way out here so far away from you?”In hindsight I can see it so clearly. It was my insane summer schedule replete with 100 miles of daily local driving that left me depleted. For six straight weeks I operated with machine-like precision. I was up when it was still dark. I hustled. I made it through the day positive and energized. Until I didn’t. When the machine of summer commitments stopped, so did I, and not in a good way. When that flurry of summer activity ended, my slow drift began.
While it may not have been a hectic summer schedule that took you out, be on the lookout for these five signs of drifting from God.
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Here Are 5 Signs You Are Drifting from God
1. Lackluster Faith-Building
One of the major indicators that you may be drifting is your attitude toward and execution of your usual faith practices. In order to build yourself up in your most holy faith, (Jude 1:20) perhaps you gather with believers at church regularly, study the Bible with others, serve in ministry, meet with God daily, worship Him with the music you play, pray with a friend, etc. If you find that you’ve been erratic in these areas, it may be an indication that something is amiss.
Do you ever get in a space where you just don’t care? What about a space where the things that generally spark joy and incite enthusiasm barely warrant a shoulder shrug? Sometimes you can’t even pinpoint what “it” is but this “it” carries an air of malaise. You know that space where your attentiveness is gone, your concern is null and interest is passive at best?
The thief comes to steal, kill and destroy (John 10:10). And one of the areas he loves to chip away at is our hope. Bit by bit, notch by notch, he attempts to chisel completely through us. He will have us asking “why bother,” “who cares,” and “does it even matter?” This ebbing away of hope is diametrically opposed to the truth of our Lord whose plans are to give us a future and a hope (Jeremiah 29:11).
4. Withdrawing from People
The slow drift can really be seen in our reluctance to be around people. Whether you are the introvert who needs people in doses or the extrovert who thrives on interaction, withdrawal is a strong indication of the drift. Being around others often demands we engage, and when we’re drifting, we generally don’t want to be reeled in. Conversation feels like fishing-wire, so we steer clear of the bait and avoid people.
5. Changing Patterns
In the slow drift you might find that you start doing things you don't usually do and stop doing things you’d normally do. During my summer slow drift, I began watching TV. For some that’s no biggie, but for me it was a clear warning sign. I don’t watch TV. But there I was, channel surfing, eager for a mindless reprieve from the demands of real life. And not only was I watching TV, I was eating junk food and that is NOT me either. When I found an empty cookie package under my bed, I knew I was out at sea.
There’s also the reverse, stopping things you normally do. Have you stopped your regular workout? Have you not been to your regular hangout spot? Have you stopped drinking your water? These pattern changes can be a telltale sign of bobbing away from the center.
But friends, this is where I rejoice! While we were yet bobbing further and further out to sea, we were tethered to the Father all along. His steadfast love reaches out and draws us back in if we are willing. There are three ways we can position ourselves to be reeled back in.
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Here Are 3 Ways to Be Reeled back In
Spend some time in quiet reflection. Ask God to show you where and how the drift began. Drifts are prompted by something. A change in job, a change in family, even seasonal changes can initiate the drift. Knowing yourself and knowing your triggers will prove valuable in helping you quickly identify when a drift may be close at hand.
Our God is loving, gracious and merciful. He says, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness”(1 John 1:9). There are times in the drift when we give license to our will and forsake pursuing God’s will. But He gives us an opportunity to lay it at the altar when we repent. And He doesn’t condemn us either. Jesus extends His arms and invites us to come and cast our cares on Him. So, whatever He revealed to you in your time of quiet reflection, lay it at His feet and repent.
As you lay your issues on the altar, you release yourself of their weight. But human nature has the propensity to lay them down only to return and pick them up again. Here’s where we supercharge our release by fasting. Fasting enables us to silence our fleshly desires and to focus on Jesus. Fasting interrupts the slow drift and sweeps us up in the current of the Holy Spirit where our spirits are free to commune with God without the distractions of the drift.
At one time or another we may all experience the drift but be assured that Christ is our anchor. While we are drifting, He is yet drawing our hearts back to Him. He draws near to those who draw near to Him (James 4:8).
Always tethered. No matter where we go, He is with us.
If we run, stray or even drift, He promises that He will be with us even to the end of the age (Matthew 28:20). We can never drift beyond His reach.
Tyra Lane-Kingsland is a speaker, Women’s Ministry Director and author of the book Purposeful Parenting. She enjoys facilitating the classes she’s developed on parenting and Health & Wellness. It is her assertion that health is wealth and believes that optimal health is achieved through proper nourishment, rest and exercise. Tyra is an attentive wife and mother of six. Knowing that God causes all things to work together for good, she is on a passionate pursuit to see women inspired to live fully!
Photo Credit: Unsplash/Christopher Rusev