Are you struggling with an unsettled spirit? Identify the signs and overcome an unsettled spirit by taking the steps outlined in this post. Click to read

Signs of an Unsettled Spirit & How To Fix it

Inside my head, a never ending game of pinball takes place. A ball bounces around randomly, lighting up different thoughts just for a second before racing off to the next target. I don’t have much control over the ball, and I cannot get it to stop bouncing!

My inability to focus leads to trouble writing, reading, and sitting still long enough to get any task completed. Almost daily I complain, “I just can’t focus!”


Are you struggling with an unsettled spirit? Identify the signs and overcome an unsettled spirit by taking the steps outlined in this post. Click to read

For two years I let the pinball game continue, making excuses for my restless mind. First, I blamed being pregnant (pregnancy brain is real my friends). Of course pregnancy leads to a baby which means lack of sleep. A valid reason for not being able to think clearly, right? Moving past the sleepless phase, I attributed my lack of concentration to my ever growing list of responsibilities. “Anyone would have trouble focusing with so much to remember,” I rationalized.

Then, couple of months ago, I hit my breaking point. Attempting to work, but unable to make any progress brought on tears of frustration. I needed the pin ball game to stop!

At this point I sensed a deeper issue at play, so I turned to God.

As I poured out my confused heart in prayer, God revealed my unsettled mind was a sign of an unsettled spirit.

Over the next few days I started noticing all the symptoms of an unsettled spirit: easily distracted, inability to focus, high anxiety, and discontentment.

It all made sense now. But what was I supposed to do?

How do you fix an unsettled spirit?

God’s word gives the following guidance:

1. Set your mind on God alone.

Let go of your to-do list and stop worrying about what others think or expect of you. Instead, look at God’s word and let his truth guide you. (Not easy, I know! Read 4 Steps for Glorifying God Every Day for more help.)

Focusing on God gives us perfect peace. “You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you” (Isaiah 26:3). I don’t know a better way to describe the opposite of an unsettled spirit than perfect peace.

2. Seek righteousness

Developing righteousness helps settle a restless spirit. “And the work of righteousness will be peace, And the service of righteousness, quietness and confidence forever” (Isaiah 32:17).

Thayer’s Greek Lexicon defines righteousness as “the state of him who is such as he ought to be.” According to the Bible, we ought to be like Jesus. (Read about The Life God Intended here.) Therefore, we can view the “work of righteousness” as conforming ourselves into the image of Christ.

3. Cut out unnecessary distractions

If setting your mind on God is the key to a quiet and peaceful spirit, then help yourself out by removing unnecessary distractions. (Remember one of my symptoms of an unsettled spirit was being easily distracted.)

In her book Wait and See, Wendy Pope shares how God asked her to stop watching a certain television show. At first, she didn’t understand why God wanted her to stop watching; but later she realized, “watching this show diluted my thoughts, I focused more on the plot than Scripture.” The show distracted her mind from focusing on God.

Proverbs 4:25 wisely advises us, “Let your eyes look directly forward, and your gaze be straight before you.”

4. Rest with God

I love how Augustine explains the need to rest with God,“Thou hast formed us for Thyself, and our hearts are restless till they find rest in Thee.”

God designed us to dwell with him. “The Spirit of God has made me, And the breath of the Almighty gives me life” (Job 33:4). When we don’t take time to rest with God, we will feel incomplete, and our spirit becomes restless, longing for the missing piece.

Fixing an unsettled spirit takes time. Even after two months of working through these 4 steps on a regular basis, I am still struggling to retrain my brain from the years of pinball.

Are you struggling with an unsettled spirit? Identify the signs and overcome an unsettled spirit by taking the steps outlined in this post. Click to read

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28 thoughts on “Signs of an Unsettled Spirit & How To Fix it

    • I am so glad it spoke to you Joanna. When something effects me deeply I usually need to take time before responding. So let me encourage you to just sit with it for awhile and let God work in you.

  1. This is such a great post, and so on point!

    I struggle with a restless spirit all the time–partially my fault, partially my anxiety disorder. While I can never fully rid myself of the restlessness that comes from being in a constant state of anxiety, I’m slowly learning to focus and find ways to clear out the ‘clutter’ in my life. For me, the biggest clutter is the TV. For most of our married life (3 1/2 years), I’ve been outrageously busy and tired, working jobs that demand too much, or being drained from commuting, so it has been easy to get in the habit of coming home and ‘crashing’ in front of the TV to rest. But that rest isn’t really rest, adding to restlessness for never being able to accomplish anything.

    Since deciding that on weeknights the TV turns off, I’ve accomplished more in two weeks than I have in months, and it feels wonderful!

    • These tips definitely are not meant to address an anxiety disorder, but hopefully they can be useful tools for you. Your comment about the watching TV reminds me of a story I told in a guest post I wrote for another blogger. It is all about rest, and will be posted later this month. I think you will enjoy it.

  2. This is really good. I can definitly relate as I battle anxiety. It can be really frustrating trying to get rid of anxiety and not being able to. I like that you said it takes time, as it does 🙂 Really good advice. Thanks for sharing!

    • Yes! The time part is hard but true. I once had a friend struggling with depression say she wished she could just read some Bible verses and feel all better, but it really doesn’t work that way. Our brains are so complex!

  3. Who told you to write about me?! Lol.
    Seriously though, I have struggled with this a lot. My mind is generally ‘restles’ but even more so when I am unsettled spiritually. When I am spiritually settled things return to my normal ‘restless’ mind, which is like to say is because I have too many ideas and so little time to do them .

    • Haha! Tanya, I feel the same way sometimes when I read posts from other bloggers. It is nice to know we aren’t alone in our struggles though isn’t it?

  4. This straightforward post affects me because it gets to the bottom of things: Overcoming an unsettled spirit is really about focusing on God. Thank you, especially, for pointing us to such vital verses that show how the wisdom you express is not just your own, but is based on God’s truth. Thank you, too, for that quote from Augustine. I’m sharing this!

    • Any wisdom I have comes straight from God! I am so glad it comes across that my words are rooted in God’s truth…they are meaningless otherwise. Thanks for stopping by and sharing Pia!

  5. You know with so many persons suffering from the same thing I’m more convinced than ever that we are the product of our societies. We have been reprogrammed into people too on-the-run to slow down for anything – and that includes God. Thanks for the reminder that It’s necessary to focus on God as that still point that harnesses our pinball thoughts.

    • Absolutely Ami! We are a product of our society. I wrestle with that constantly because so often who society shapes us to be is counter to who God wants us to be.

  6. Love this pist and great tips. I have had similar issues lately..surely an unsettled spirit…God hasnt answered prayers and I think I tend to loose faith during dry periods of need..a good reason to follow your good suggestions.

    • Unanswered prayer and challenging times can definitely unsettled a spirit. But you are exactly right, it just is all the more reason to draw close to God and rest in his peace.

  7. I call that restless state ‘static in my soul.’ it’s just like you can’t quite dial in on anything. It’s also my cue to get alone with God and hear what He’s trying to say. It takes time and practice, but I think learning to tune into your own spirit is crucial for a healthy walk with Jesus.

  8. Hi Kira!!
    I really enjoyed your post because I can relate so much…
    I am 16 and a new Christian and I too have high anxiety and Im constantly distracting myself. My brain doesnt rest…Its hard to focus on God..
    Thanks!! I hopefully I will have this close to my heart when I need.
    God bless you and merry Christmas ☺

    • Hi Rita,
      I am so glad you found this post useful. You may also want to read my more recent post “How to Rest with Jesus.” It can definitely be a struggle in our busy and easily distractable society, but our souls needs time with God. Keep turning to God, he will help you. Blessings!

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