Taking the Anger Out of Interruptions

“Mom, I need help.”

Hearing that plea several times a day is sweet. Endearing. After all, I’m Mom and that’s what I’m here for. I hesitantly confess when it becomes a continual, whiny plea of frustrated, disgruntled children, I begin to lose my cool.

I sit down to eat and my son spills his drink. I’m steadily typing away on a book project and my girls decide they cannot even fathom how to work their math problem without having me stand over their shoulder. A knock on the door during nap time. The jarring ring of the cell phone when the entire house is a tornado of barking dogs, screaming kids and burning dinner. Spills, arguments, needy people. do not disturb

I admit, some days the interruptions drive me crazy.

After a particularly trying day, I plopped down on the couch and contemplated running away, or, at least, hiding in the bathroom. I couldn’t focus on the work before me because of the continual stream of disturbances. I like having a plan. I’m a scheduled-oriented chick. I like spontaneity but only if I can scratch it into my calendar first. Despite my growing irritation, I felt a niggle of guilt at my escalating anger when I couldn’t accomplish what I’d set out to do. After all, it’s not my kids’ fault when they need help. That’s their job—learning through a process of failures.

Stretched out on that sagging couch and rubbing my aching temples, God revealed the reason for my guilt, piercing my heart in the process. Interruptions cause anger when I value the task more than the person doing the interrupting.

Yikes.

When I’m consumed with my plan, my work, my schedule and my check list, I leave no room or flexibility for God to shift me into His plans for the day.

detour

“In their hearts humans plan their course, but the LORD establishes their steps.” ~Proverbs 16:9

Every great hero of faith in God’s Word was faced with life-changing, fear-producing, bone-jarring interruptions. Noah, Abraham, Sarah, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, Gideon, David, Elisha, Job, Esther, Jeremiah, Jonah, Paul, the disciples and Mary—only to name a few. What if they had refused to change their schedule? What if they had stubbornly dug in their heels and rejected God’s call away from their well-ordered lives? I wince to think of the outcome.

Whenever I snap in anger to an interruption, every time I complain about the things I’m not getting done, I need to remember God has ordered my steps for that day. I might be under the illusion that I’m calling the shots, but really, He’s the one in control. I’m slowly learning to let go of my to-do lists and trade them in for a to-be list. Be like Jesus. Pour all my love and energy into those precious lives He’s entrusted to me for a season. Life is really about relationships anyway. Everything else is a bonus. interruptions

As I sit here in the airport, typing my thoughts, a crackling voice announces a message over the intercom.

“The American Airlines flight to Little Rock is now delayed.”

Irony.

Are you a planner? How do you handle interruptions? What is your reaction when life, or God, throws you an unexpected curve ball?

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