OH boy. Life is full of interruptions But are interruptions the same as multi-tasking? Quite the opposite. Multi-tasking we can control, life interruptions, we often cannot, but we can learn to deal with them. When we are interrupted, Priscella Schirrer (Life Interrupted: Navigating the Unexpected) shares if we stop to analyze our irritation with the interruption, we can see our resistance most often stems from one of three causes (though in my personal experience it is usually #1):
1)We don’t want to let go of control
2) We don’t want to face that life is not just about “me,” or be forced to look at the bigger picture, and others’ needs as well
3) People interruptions cost time we hate to give up, even though they can make us more patient and gracious
Webster’s dictionary defines interruptions as cutting in, barging in, intervention, intrusion. Sometimes they happen almost continually. You are cooking, reading, taking a bath, and the phone rings. Interruption.
– You are on task with your budget and something breaks down. Interruption. You are trying to study and budget, and communicate, and diet, when a friend dumps you and you cannot figure out why, weakening your resolve on many of those tasks.
– And then there are the physical and spiritual interruptions that we think we are expected (or we expect ourselves) to respond to with critical thinking and compassion for others, yes – but also compassion for yourself.
– Another day (or another hour) you are reading your devotion or the Bible, praying, or working on a Bible Study, and you get the thought that you needed to add something to the grocery list, or you forgot to call your friend, or you need a haircut. Thought interruption. Frustrating.
A Navigator conference speaker taught us to keep a pad of paper handy during devotions, to write down the interruption, then set it aside to deal with later, and return our focus to God’s Word.
We were also taught to embrace the interruptions that provide opportunity to share eternity, even if it sidetracks our own plans.
When I am evaluating an interruption I need to ask could the irritating instance be an intervention – from God? I have had times where I was either focused (selfishly) on ‘rewarding’ myself (though not to my health) or focused (foolishly) on what I felt others thought of me or my work when God sent someone to interrupt that downward slide and bolster my failing strength with encouragement and help.
Whether minor interruptions, or major ones, if we truly believe that God has a plan for our life, we can know that nothing comes to us that God cannot use for His glory. Hebrews 6:10 affirms that God is aware of every interruption: “God doesn’t miss anything. He knows perfectly well all the love you’ve shown him by helping needy Christians, and that you keep at it. “
Next time you have an interruption ask yourself if it takes the focus off eternal things or if it gives the opportunity to build an eternal perspective into someone – even if that someone is you.
Dan. 4:35 Life on this earth doesn’t add up to much, but God’s heavenly army keeps everything going. No one can interrupt his work, no one can call his rule into question.
Rom. 8:28 That’s why we can be so sure that every detail in our lives of love for God is worked into something good.