Timely Interruptions – Is there such a thing?
A guest post from Cynthia Thomas
Interruptions are inevitable.
I plan to sleep from 11 – 7; my baby doesn’t.
I plan to get to the mall in 20 minutes; traffic does not.
I plan to spend 30 minutes doing Bible study; oh forget it, the phone, the husband; the next-door neighbor is not cooperating with my time agenda.
And that’s just the daily planner. What about the weekly goals, yearly goals, benchmarks of time that keep me on course to succeed in life? The problem with planning is that it gets waylaid by life.
So how do we deal with time setbacks, whether big or small?
I remember quite clearly my kids crying out my name in the middle of the night and my first cognizant thought: “Oh great. Maybe they’ll get tired of calling and go back to sleep.” Of course, when that didn’t happen, I had a choice.
By the time I got wise enough to know it was better to respond early – before they could get worked up – I learned an important lesson about myself.
I would do the right thing, but I would resent it.
The battle was not with the interruption (that was an immutable fact); the battle was how I was going to handle my loss of control over “my time.”
I would like to say I learned early on to just start praying, but it didn’t happen that easily. I rather enjoyed being put out, I guess. It helped feed my justification for sleeping later, showering less, getting nothing done. The problem with losing control of your time is that it’s easier not to fight.
And by fight, I mean give it, rather than have it taken from you.
[tweetthis]Recognize when interruptions are a spiritual battle.[/tweetthis]
As Christians, our battle is not an enemy who assaults us with weapons that we recognize and conquer (with our own strength). No, our insidious foe robs our time and good intentions with interruptions and busyness and feelings that we should not be bothered by these minor irritations. So we never see that we’re in the battle.
What we end up fighting and losing is the daily sense of peace and prosperity that God wants His children to have.
We can conquer this enemy on the field of our mind. We can ask God to help us “give” our desire for sleep or quiet time or commuting time to Him. Hebrews 13:15 says, “let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God.”
Sacrifice of praise does not sound like too hard of a thing – until you give it when you’re lying on your bed dreading getting out of it. “God, I praise you for giving me children. I praise you for letting them need me. I praise you that I have breath and health to get up and help meet their needs.”
Or how about when your husband asks, “Honey, can you iron this shirt for me? I have a meeting today.”
Praise can respond like this, “God, I praise you that my husband has a job. I praise you that I can help him look his best today…” Well, you get the picture.
[tweetthis]How to handle interruptions with grace.[/tweetthis]
What you do with the interruptions of your life says a lot about who you believe to be in ultimate control of your time. The quicker you turn it into a prayer – before you get all bent out of shape – the better YOU will feel.
“Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks. For this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” Thessalonians 5: 16 – 18
Author of Confessions of a Strong-Willed Wife, Cynthia (Makarczyk) Thomas joined the Army as a photojournalist in 1985 to see the world. Hearing the gospel message in bootcamp, she gave her life to Christ, got married and soon found herself traipsing after her husband and two kids. Cynthia blogs about faith and gardening at www.cynthiaczthomas.com.
A great reminder, Ginger & Cynthia. Lately I’ve been going to bed with a morning to-do list, just to go back to bed the next night with the same list(and a couple more things added to it). When the list gets so long that it becomes
overwhelming, I tend to start placing
blame: if everyone would use the
dishwasher, the kitchen wouldn’t be so
messy, or how am I supposed to do my
job when I’m running errands for
everyone, etc. Sometimes I do stop and
give thanks for having food to put in dishes and having a means to run
errands. I think my biggest problem, though, is that I am offering up prayers of thanksgiving in the midst of the never-ending-to-do list, instead of sitting down at His feet, taking time to listen to Him give me strength and focus to knock out that list while giving Him glory . That’s
the main purpose, right? Oh how I wish I had the mindset of Martin Luther who
stated, ” I have so much to do today that I shall spend the first three hours in prayer”.
Lord, I thank you for giving me this day, continue to remind me how I should spend it.
Thanks for sharing Dee-would that we could all be like Luther, but alas finding ways to “rejoice always, pray without ceasing and in everything give thanks (1Thess 5:16-18) is the will of God for you in Christ Jesus.” And I believe God is just as pleased with your list as Luthers when we give it to Him. Would you believe as an empty nester I now fondly remember those harried days? Praying you will be too blessed to be stressed ☺️
Such insightful thoughts about struggles we all face, Dee! I love the distinction between thankfulness in the midst of the activity (which is good) and taking time to give God our undivided attention (also good). We need both. What a great quote from Martin Luther! May God give you a peaceful heart when life is super busy!