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Thursday, September 17, 2009

Pay Attention to the Interruptions

Some days I make to-do lists. Some days I seem to be too busy to make one. I know there are several things that I must do each day of the week. Things go fine until there is an unplanned interruption. (This is redundant. Obviously, something planned cannot be an interruption. Interruptions are unplanned by definition.)

Interruptions rearrange my day. The things I had planned to do don't always get done. Interruptions may make my day longer. I used to hate interruptions. Now, I pay attention to them.

I have to ask myself, "Is this an interruption from God that will change who I am?" What if God has a plan for my day that I didn't take into account? What if He has interjected this interruption to bring me to something I need to become? If so, I need to explore this interruption. I need to see what I am becoming because of it.

Let's say that someone calls with an urgent request for help. Maybe it is an elderly church member who is having trouble with his invalid wife. She is not responding to his voice. I go to his house and do my best to wake her. I call 911 and stay there with the husband while EMS takes her to the emergency room. I go with him there and pray with him. They treat her and she comes around. He is grateful and I have learned an important lesson.

I have learned the condition of many of my elderly members. They live each day without knowing it is their last. They take care of their spouses knowing that their days are also numbered. They are in need to comfort. My whole attitude toward homebound members changes. I understand like I never did before even though I have visited homebound members at other times. My heart is moved toward these who are in the waning hours of life.

An interruption may be God's means of correcting my actions. I may have intended to do something that would not be honoring to Him but the interruption prevented me from doing so. I may have gotten angry because of an email I have received and fire back one much more hurtful in reply. The server is down at the church so that my email will not go through. I think about their email and decide to call the person. As we talk I find that I totally misunderstood what they were trying to say in the email. The interruption was a blessing because I would have had to repair the damage from my hasty reply.

We may never know how many interruptions are for our protection. I am at a red light when my phone rings. The light changes to green as I am fumbling to answer the phone. The time it took to answer the phone delays my start through the intersection. Suddenly, a speeding car runs the light from the crossing direction. I know that they would have solidly hit me if I had gone the second the light changed. The little interruption certainly saved my car and may have saved me, as well.

Sometimes interruptions test us. An interruption may not be something that you need to get involved in. You need to remain focused. The ability to say "no" must come from an emphatic "yes." An interruption may look like a good thing to do but you know that you can't do it because it will keep you from what you are really supposed to do.

An interruption may take you down a totally different path. It may change your vocation and reveal your purpose in life. It may cause you to know something about your life that you would never have known before.

I had always planned to go to certain college while growing up. We had a college night at our high school and many colleges sent representatives. I went to that school's assigned room to hear what they said. The people they sent were such jerks that I decided that I didn't want to go there. Later, I received a letter from the head of their drama department offering me a part in a summer production. ( I had been in a play which he attended.) I rejected this offer and went to a college that didn't have a drama department. Obviously, drama was not to be my vocation. That one night changed my whole direction in life.

So, pay attention to your interruptions today. Should you leave them alone? Should you go with them? Have you seen God's hand in them?

Remember that God has great plans for you. Sometimes He sends interruptions to make sure you get with and stay with those plans.

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