“Jeanette, can you can here for a sec?” My husband called from the other room.
“Again?” I mouthed, since the kids were within earshot. Grr. I smacked the coffee table (or something equally as mature) and got up to help Norm, yet again, with an essay for his on-line English class.
Why couldn’t he do his own homework? I’d been answering to whiney kids all day, between our two boys and my part-time job at our church’s after-school program. How could he not see the importance of the activity that he kept pulling me away from? Christian and I had been waiting all summer for the season opener of Lost. It’s one of my few guilty pleasures—that and (you guessed it, Sarah and Jennifer) Gilmore Girls. Of course he only needed me during the good parts, which happen about every three minutes on a pivotal episode of Lost!
Later, I’ll admit, I felt pretty childish thinking back to my teeth clenched scowls, the ever-so-loving “Can’t this wait ‘til tomorrow?” that I greeted him with after the third request that didn’t take place during a commercial break. Oh and that super-Christ-like moment when I mumbled, on my way down the hall, “Can anyone do anything for themselves around here?” I mean seriously, how much brattier could I be? Not much. And over a TV show?
My friends describe me as a patient, gentle person. They obviously don’t have to live with me. Unfortunately, I also have an icky side, which usually comes out when my agenda gets altered without my permission. Here are some glaring examples.
Case #1 - It’s Friday night. I’m vegging in front of a movie (don’t ask how many times I’ve seen it—the fact that I’m saying lines along with the actors speaks for itself). The phone rings. “Don’t answer that,” I instruct my family. “And on the eighth day, God created the answering machine and it was VERY good.” I don’t care who it is. I just don’t want to be bugged.
Case #2 – I’m reading the latest novel by Tricia Goyer. The action is so intense and real that I fear for my safety. What’s that pounding? Are the Nazis at my door? Where can I hide the kids? No wait, it’s my foot, pounding against the side of the couch. You know, like Thumper when he’s excited?
Suddenly, 4-year-old Nathan appears beside me, his big brown eyes pleading for attention.
“Mommy, I’m hungry.”
“What? I’m in the middle of something. Christian, get your brother a snack!”
See, I’m terrible! Be thankful that I’m not your mother.
Case #3 – I’m scrambling to finish a posting for this cool teen blog that I write for. One problem, I can’t find a single Bible verse that expresses my point. A tender voice reminds me that it has been awhile since I read my Bible for more than looking up verses for writing projects. I didn’t pray this morning or take even a minute of time to read a devotional.
Maybe you should take a break and have some quiet time now. It might help.
But God, I don’t have time. This is due today. I’ve already been interrupted by the phone—twice. Can’t You see I’m busy?
Now those are the interruptions that bring me to a screeching halt—the times when I discover that I don’t even want God messing with my plans for the day.
I learn a lot about my true self through my responses to interruptions, whether they come from my family, friends who call at “inconvenient” times, and yes, even those that come from God. I see that I’m a lot more selfish than I want to let myself think. Considering the blessings that I have found in times when I willingly accepted an unexpected detour, you’d think I’d be more open to them. So I’m praying that I’ll learn to not only accept, but to embrace life’s unexpected curves—especially when my Father is calling.
What about you? How do you respond to interruptions? Pay attention to what God does through them today.
“Many are the plans in a man’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.” Proverbs 19:21