Sunday, January 1, 2023

Please (Don't) Interrupt Me


Good morning friends, and Happy New Year's Day.

You know, I don't know why I even bother to read devotions.  Every day, it seems God speaks to me.  Harsh or unharsh.  Hidden or in plain site.

It doesn't matter how many days I "miss" (said in quotation marks because a day missed really equals God's perfect timing and plan), the day I sit down with a hot cup of coffee to read my daily message, it either relates to something I'm thinking/feeling/experiencing or it relates to something that just happened.

Take in case this morning's reading.  It's on - of all things - interruptions.

Let me share a little bit, as I always do in my writings...

Last night was New Year's Eve.  My brother and sister-in-law invited David and myself over to their home for dinner and to watch the football game.  If you know me, you know I pretty much have zero interest in college football games and zero interest in Georgia football.

I have a travel quote to do for a coworker, my dog hasn't been feeling well, I know fireworks are coming over our home (while I'm gone, if I go), and it's foggy and raining outside and I am warm inside under a blanket.

To "waste" any of my valuable time on a Georgia football game seems like a waste to me.  I'd rather stay home, with my dog, out of the weather, and watch the New Year's Eve countdowns I've been waiting to see (NOT a UGA football game).

But because it meant so much to both my boyfriend and my family, I made my side item, packed up my laptop, and headed over.  I was promised I didn't have to watch the game.  I could sit in the kitchen and create my travel proposal. So, I went.

Fast forward to game time.

Dinner is over, and everyone is getting settled on the couches in front of the big-screen TV.

I set up in the kitchen.  Laptop - check.  Phone with New Year's Eve celebration on - check.  

I start the usual travel agent research and find nothing that meets my potential client's requirements and requests.  I know I am going to have to dig deeper, but as that realization comes to me - everyone in the house starts stirring.  My heart sinks a little because I can already see in my head that my "plan" is unraveling...

Sure enough, a family member comes to the kitchen and starts a conversation.  Eventually (as Lysa says in her story below), I am hearing stories ranging from children to health issues.  After a while, I unplug my phone - turn off my New Year's Eve program - and shut the laptop.  I am growing salty.

I needed to get this travel quote started or done.  I wanted to watch my own New Year's Eve countdown shows and not a football game I had no interest in.  But the interruptions couldn't be ignored, and as tired and salty as I was on the inside, I didn't have the heart to turn away from the conversation or back inward to my own needs.  So, I sat and listened.  Tried my best to be interactive and make eye contact.

I'm pretty sure I failed at being what my family member needed last night, but I was just salty and focused on what I was not getting done or what I was missing.

Later that evening and as the night ended, I was quiet on the drive home.  "I'm just old and salty," I thought as David down us home through the fog, random fireworks, and darkness.

I got home, changed back into my comfy Christmas pajamas, and laid down on the couch under my warm blanket to watch a few minutes of some of the countdown shows I had missed but luckily recorded.

About that time, a high school friend starting messaging me.  Somewhere in that conversation, she said, "I stayed home.  I have no desire to engage in life tonight.  I just want solitude and don't want to be 'on'.  I don't feel funny or interesting this weekend. Why do I want to give up my valuable time to watch something I have ZERO interest in?  I am entertaining myself instead of feeling like I have to entertain OTHERS."

I felt validated.  I wasn't alone in my feelings.  Maybe we were both just old and salty...

We chatted for a few more minutes, and then, I signed off and said Good Night so I could go grab some sleep before daylight came.

Fast forward to this morning.

I woke up and thought I should send a text to my brother apologizing for my not being engaged last night.  I explained my mind was elsewhere, entangled in tasks I had to complete this weekend.

Sometimes, it is so hard being "interrupted" off the things we need to do, especially when those things are on a deadline or when the interrupting happens constantly, every day.  

But sometimes, those interruptions can be a gentle nudge from God.  I'm not 100% sure how to tell when those interruptions are from him.  Probably because I mostly have myself in the way of seeing clearly, but looking back to last night, I'm pretty sure that interruption (a.k.a., family conversation) was a nudge.

I can't go back and change last night, but I can read today's devotion and understand that sometimes, God needs us to be aware of others and not focused on the task list in front of us.

I'm trying - a little.  I'm listening - a little.  I'm growing - a little.  I have a long way to go.  I'm salty, and God is working on that.  I'd like to be a little less salty and a little bit more accomplished at getting tasks checked off the list, if I'm being honest.

I guess I'll keep trying.  I'm glad God put this reading in my path today.  Obviously, it was what I needed and right on time.

Maybe you need to read this too - are you feeling a little salty lately or are you feeling constantly interrupted?  If so, then maybe this word from Lysa is for you as well...

Please Interrupt Me

I wonder if the greatest witnessing tool available to us Christians is often pushed aside because of our busyness. Just like our stuff, our time is a resource with which we can be tightfisted or openhanded. But when Jesus told the parable of the Good Samaritan, he showed us what it means to put our own interests aside and spend our time on others, especially “others” not in our own circle,

The other day I was focused on all the items on my seemingly never-ending to-do list. I was sitting at a stoplight when a friend called and started lamenting that her son had forgotten his lunch and his belt required by the school’s uniform policy. She was stressed and trying to get in touch with her husband, who had just dropped her son off at school. She was at home with a new baby, feeling groggy from a sleepless night and overwhelmed by her situation.

As I sat at the stoplight listening to my friend, I looked at the store to my right. That store had belts. That store had lunch food. Could I help? Would I help? That day I wouldn’t let busyness take precedence over the blessing of divine interruptions. So I helped.

I don’t know this for sure, but I suspect my friend had been asking Jesus to please help her. It’s hard when you need help but feel like everyone is busy you don’t want to bother them.

I’m a task-oriented person, so it doesn’t come naturally for me to look for ways to be interrupted in the midst of my busyness. But sitting at that stoplight, I realized the power of pausing. Pausing just long enough for Jesus to tap on the edge of my heart and say, “Could you? Would you? Will you do this as if it’s the most important part of your day and not an unwelcome interruption?

How many times have I missed loving my “neighbor”? How many times have I missed the joy of pausing to live and love and light the world for Jesus?

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