Living with Interruptions

Recently Steve Brown wrote about interruptions.

Boy, do I know about interruptions. Thirty years of raising and homeschooling kids has meant that I’m often interrupted. And while it doesn’t happen nearly as much now that we only have one offspring still living at home, the fact is that the others sometimes call just as I’m in the middle of something I had hoped to finish.

As moms, we learn early on that our kids will often interrupt us at the worst times. And if they don’t interrupt us for a while, we also learn that something’s up and we need to check and see why things are so quiet, right?

But most of the time, the interruptions are relentless. Even if you just helped one of your kids, they’ll turn up with a new request five minutes later. I used to say that I hadn’t had an uninterrupted thought since 1983, and I wasn’t kidding, really. As a result, I don’t have anywhere near the attention span I had in college, where I could spend hours in the library stacks doing historical research. Now I’m lucky to stick with a book for an hour.

How do we handle so many interruptions without blowing up? Steve Brown’s advice is not what you might expect. After giving the example of Jesus being interrupted on his way to the home of a man with a dying daughter by a woman who needed His healing touch, he says:

1)      “…the Bible is full of interruptions from Genesis to Revelation…and all of them are under the guidance of a sovereign God who “works all things according to the counsel of his will” (Ephesians 1:11), writing the story of redemption and a monument to his glory.”

2)      God’s ways are circuitous and whatever you think God is doing, He probably isn’t. That means the trick is to “go with the flow” of what God has ordained. Nothing is an interruption…at least to God who planned it.”

Whoa! So when I got irritated with one of my kids when they interrupted me, I was really getting irritated with God? Yikes…good thing He’s a forgiving God.  🙂

Then there’s the kicker:

3)      “But there is more than just recognizing the God we worship is a God of interruptions. We must also learn to set aside the irritation and be thankful for the interruption. Paul wrote that we are to “give thanks always and for everything” (Ephesians 5:20). It’s a radical and counterintuitive thought.”

Yes, it is! That said, I wish I’d heard his advice years ago, when I was deep in the middle of active motherhood and felt like I couldn’t get a thing crossed off my to-do list because of all the interruptions. Clearly God was organizing my days, not me! I just didn’t see it at the time.