Ironically, I had just typed this title when my cat's litter box jammed. It's a self-cleaning type and the rake just stopped in the middle of the box and started making an alarmingly loud clacking sound that caused the cat to cower behind the dining room table and caused me to realize the devotion would have to wait. It was no easy fix, either: I just spent forty-five minutes cleaning jammed cat litter out of the rake's tracks and sweeping up the gigantic mess I made. Ewww.
Good thing I'd already made up my mind: I won't mindlessly lose my peace over every interruption.
God is in the interruptions. You've probably heard that before. *I've* heard that before. But tonight, driving home in my car and listening to a random preacher on a random radio station, I got it. I finally got it.
When things go smoothly, that's my plan. When there are interruptions that I didn't forsee or even want, that's God's plan. He willed or allowed those things to happen. To fight them is to fight His permissive will. So, getting irritated or trying not to have interruptions is missing out on the joy of being part of God's plan.
Why do little interruptions occur? As I meditate on this topic tonight, I've come to realize they accomplish one of three purposes in our lives (and the 'best' interruptions accomplish all three):
1) Interruptions allow us to bless someone else. When I'm busily typing along and my husband wants help finding his wallet, that's an opportunity to be a blessing to him. When I'm trying to get the class to line up and a child asks for help zipping her coat, that's a chance to meet her need. Each time a person interrupts our tasks, we can choose to see ourselves as the hands and feet of God and let Him use us to meet their needs. Or we can sigh and get impatient. It's totally our decision.
2) Interruptions provide unforseen opportunities and blessings for us. Having a flat tire can mean making an awesome friendship or business connection with someone else who's waiting at the repair shop. Having to dig through your files for a colleague who needs an extra copy of a form can mean rediscovering that fantastic math activity you'd forgotten and lost. And you never know, having a jammed litter box can turn out to be the perfect opening for a blog post. Practice recognizing each little win not as a coincidence, but as a blessing from God and a reward for doing the right thing with the right attitude. You'll get much more satisfaction that way.
3) Interruptions strengthen our self-discipline. That doesn't sound like fun, but truthfully, life is a whole lot easier when you have a great deal of self-control and aren't led by your feelings. Every interruption, if we choose to view it that way, is an opportunity to build our self-discipline. All moments of being tested (even trivial interruptions) produce patience, which produces endurance, maturity, completion, and perfection. If nothing else good comes from an interruption, at least we can know that working through it with a good attitude and a humble heart has planted more seeds of self-control within us which we'll be happy to reap later on.
We have so many opportunities during the day, especially as teachers, to bless other people through interruptions. We can choose to focus on our agenda that they're interrupting, or open ourselves up to God's plan which allows us to be used in ways we never imagined.