Tuesday, January 09, 2018

When Interruptions Don't Annoy Me

I tend to be a person who likes to operate on a plan.

I like having - and sticking to - a schedule.

Because, you know, conducting life on a schedule makes me feel comfortable, and in control.

But over the course of time, God has been showing me that my time is HIS, not mine. That my control is a silly figment of my imagination. That HE, in fact, is much better than I am at making plans.
Indeed, it has gotten to the point that I try to remember to begin each day with a prayer committing my time to God and asking Him to order my steps. To take me to the places HE wants me to go.
And I admit, oftentimes this prayer comes with the underlying need of His mercy - to be able to get through a long list of tasks and things to do.

Except, there was this one day...
A day when I had only one thing on my calendar in the morning, and an afternoon to just chill. And I was so looking forward to it. I mean, I hadn't decided what I was going to do - maybe Bible study, or prepare for an upcoming retreat, or read a book, or - take a nap! So in the morning I sat and prayed, asking God to order my steps. To lead me through the day according to His plans.
And then I was off to do that one thing which was on my schedule.

As I was walking into that one thing, a friend with whom I was serving asked if I was doing anything afterwards. And when I replied that I was not, she asked if I could give her a ride home when the one thing was finished. Annnnd, since I wasn't doing anything, I told her I could do that. She doesn't live too far out of the way, and I figured one little interruption wouldn't spoil whatever God had in store for the afternoon.
As soon as we got to where we were serving, I got a text message.
I have a huge favor to ask...
Which turned into a phone call so we could work out the details.
See, this friend of mine had a job interview and had a last-minute need for child care, and a ride to the interview. She wanted to know if I could help her out. And, since I wasn't doing anything, I told her I could. The timing of her interview would allow for me to do the one thing I was doing, give Friend #1 a ride home, and then stop by my house for lunch before going to help Friend #2. Though this interruption was going to take longer, and I was beginning to wonder when there would be time for God to do whatever it was He wanted to do with me that afternoon.

So, I did that one thing which was on my calendar to do. And as I was taking care of my first interruption driving Friend #1 home, we shared delightful conversation and a couple of prayer requests. It was really sweet to have that time alone together, and my Friend seemed pleased by it. Then I zipped home, grabbed something to eat, and flew out the door to manage my second interruption pick up Friend #2 and her little guy.
And that trip?
Took longer than I thought it would.
(Although, as I sat in the van during Friend #2's interview and little guy was snoozing in his car seat, I did manage to get a few minutes of the nap about which I'd been thinking.)
As we were driving back to her home, Friend #2 gushed about how much she appreciated my help. And I was kind of thinking, Wow. Didn't realize it was such a big deal. I mean, I wasn't doing anything, anyway. Although, now that I look at the time I realize these interruptions have eaten away at the free time I thought I was going to have for God to use me in some way today. But, whatever. Maybe next time. Then we hugged, said Good-bye, and I was on my way back home to start dinner.
And as I drove, something strange occurred to me.
I was not annoyed by the interruptions which had filled my afternoon and kept me from whatever plans God had for me. And, trust me, for someone as prone to schedules and plans as I am - it is unusual for interruptions to not annoy me!
I mean, I had specifically prayed - asking God to order my steps and lead me through the day according to His plans. And then I got presented with these interruptions.
Yet somehow I wasn't annoyed by them.

I suppose most of you saw it coming way before I did, but at that moment it occurred to me that God had - indeed - answered my prayers. What I saw as interruption was really God's hand showing me the way to go. And that, my friends, is when interruptions don't annoy me!


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