Interrupted

Interrupted

February 5, 2024 0 By Laura

As a mom of four kids, I get interrupted A LOT. Maybe I’m on the phone with a friend and one of my kids needs me to open a snack. Maybe I’m in the middle of cooking dinner and someone was mean to a sibling and they need me to intervene. Or maybe I’m in the shower and one of my kids wants to show me how high they can jump (yes–it’s happened).

These are typical and expected interruptions, at least in my world. They sort of come with the territory when you have kids. Little kids, especially, don’t care what’s on the schedule or how important that deadline is–if they need you, they need you, and they will stop at nothing to let you know.

Unplanned but Not Unexpected

Even though I expect interruptions on a regular basis, I don’t always plan for them. I don’t always feel like I have the time for interruptions, and so when they inevitably arise, that can cause a lot of friction. 

I’m rushing to finish something for a client and one of my kids drops a bowl that shatters on the kitchen floor. I’m trying to get everyone ready and get us out the door in time and the puppy decides that it’s a good time to eat a sock. In the middle of a marathon week of meetings, sports, and church events, one of the kids gets sick. 

I really love schedules and routines, and if something throws a wrench in my plan, it can really agitate me. Instead of just rolling with the punches, I instead dig my heels in and resist the interruption, leading me to be frustrated, grumpy, and irritable. That’s not pleasant for anyone, including myself. 

Interruptions are not something we prepare for, at least not in terms of the specific things that cause the interruptions. But I’m learning that I need to just start expecting to be interrupted, and I need to create more margin for the oncoming interruptions. 

Creating Margin

When every minute of every day feels scheduled and accounted for, it can make interruptions feel really overwhelming, even if they’re actually pretty minor. For me, creating margin is about trying to free up some of my time. It’s about acknowledging what actually has to be done today. It’s knowing what is truly time-sensitive and what has a little more flexibility. 

It’s knowing that kids and relationships come before work and housework. It’s remembering that people are more important than stuff and that I sometimes have to say “no” to things in order to have the space to say “yes” to more important things.

Shifting Perspectives

I’m also learning to check my perspective when I get interrupted. I can assess my responses to those interruptions from a big picture perspective. 

Is this interruption really going to change anything? 

Is it going to significantly alter the trajectory of the day? Of the week? Of the month?

How will handling this interruption well create a positive result?

And then I can ask myself–what do I need to do to lovingly handle this interruption? What can I shift in my schedule in order to make space to address this properly?

I’m extremely task-focused and can often forget that there are people and relationships that need to be focused on too. I get very zeroed in on completing my to-do list, and when something gets in the way of that happening, it becomes an obstacle that causes irritation. 

I’m working hard to change the way I view those obstacles–not as a problem to solve but as an opportunity to learn and grow. 

Sometimes the lesson is about looking at what I’m prioritizing (or not prioritizing). Sometimes it’s about leaving more space and margin in my day to make time for things that really matter. Sometimes it’s about taking a moment away from my tasks to appreciate life and all that it is in this season. 

Jesus Was Interruptible

When I think about why I need to embrace interruptions more, I’m reminded of the fact that Jesus was interruptible. He didn’t question the interruptions or get angry because they made him change his plans. Instead, he leaned into the interruptions and acknowledged the people who needed his love and attention in those unplanned moments. 

I think about the woman who had been suffering from bleeding who touched the hem of his garment. He could have let her have the healing and gone about his day without ever addressing her. But he talked to her and acknowledged her. He took time out of his day to tell her that she was healed and to go in peace, despite it being an interruption in his day.

What’s even crazier is that when this interaction happened, Jesus was already in the midst of another interruption. Luke 8 tells us that a crowd was expecting Jesus. He was likely expected to teach or perform miraculous healings. But then he was interrupted. 

A church leader named Jairus, whose daughter was dying, asked Jesus to come to his home and heal his daughter. It was in the midst of that first interruption from Jairus that the woman with bleeding interrupted Jesus’ plans yet again. Jesus’ interruptions even had interruptions! Yet He always responded with grace, love, and compassion. 

Jesus accepted the change in His plans and made space for the interruption. He was interrupted countless times, usually in the midst of already important tasks. 

When Jesus heard about John the Baptist being beheaded, “he left in a boat to a remote area to be alone” (Matthew 11:13). But then people realized where he was and went to him, interrupting his grieving time. Matthew 11:14 says that Jesus “had compassion on them and healed their sick.” 

When Jesus was teaching in a house, friends of a paralytic lowered him down through the ceiling, interrupting Jesus’ lesson. Rather than scold the men, he said it was their faith that healed their friend. Jesus healed people and responded to their questions in the midst of his teaching, during his alone time, and while he ate. 

Remember the story of Jesus and His disciples on the boat in the storm? He was sleeping, and they woke him to calm the storm. Interruptions are a lot as it is, but interrupting sleep is a big deal! Yet Jesus never responded with anger, frustration, or even irritation. He lovingly responded and addressed the issue at hand, recognizing that interruptions are, simply put, more opportunities to serve the Lord and others through love.

Be Like Jesus

Jesus’ entire ministry is nearly defined by interruptions. If we were to take away the interruptions, not much would be left. One source said that in just the first few chapters of Mark, Jesus deals with 35 interruptions! 

If I’m trying to be like Jesus, doesn’t it make sense that I too should embrace the interruptions? Jesus always made the most out of every situation, and He embraced the interruptions and allowed them to bring glory to God. He loved people through them and kept margin in His life for those interruptions, knowing and anticipating that they would come, and deciding in advance to give himself to those moments.

I want to be more like Jesus, and I want to embrace and accept the interruptions that life throws my way. Whether big or small, I want to see God’s hand moving and working throughout both my routines and my interruptions, through what I expect of life and through what I don’t. 

Jesus was interruptible. Let’s be like Jesus.