My stomach tightened and teeth clenched. The words dared to leave my mouth, but I held them in.
I refused to utter the words I have so often said in the past. Those words that destroy connection: “I have so much work to do.”
This phrase has become my refrain over the years. “I’ll play with you even though I have so much work to do.” “Okay, I’ll be right there, but I have so much work to do.”
And I do. Don’t we all?
Yet there are so many interruptions! Children, breakdowns, children, unexpected arrival or phone call, children, husband’s request, children.
My life is filled with all kinds of things to do—most of them good. So is yours, I’m sure. But with so many disruptions to the schedule, it’s difficult to get anything done.
WWJD; i.e., What Would Jesus Do?
Dealing with interruptions is not exclusive to me, nor is it limited to modern times.
In His 3 years of ministry, Jesus Christ was arguably the busiest man to walk on earth. He had only 3 years to fulfill His entire mission. And once it began, people would not leave Him alone.
Everywhere Jesus went, people interrupted Him. Demon-possessed men, bleeding women, blind beggars, little children, those trying to kill Him, even a dead man’s sisters. It seemed every time Jesus turned around someone was in His face.
So what did Jesus do? How did He handle it?
He said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them” (Mark 10:14), “Let’s go to him” (John 11:15), “I am willing” (Luke 5:13), and “Call him here” (Mark 10:49).
And He “went with him” (Mark 5:24) and “wept” (John 11:35) and “healed/cleansed” (Luke 17:14).
He allowed interruptions. In fact, Jesus seemed to embrace them, welcoming them as not interruptions at all but instead opportunities. Opportunities to express His love, to minister and serve, to teach, to bless.
Instead of completing a job, Jesus was after relationship.
Interruption? Maybe Not
There’s direct application for us in how Jesus ministered to those “interrupters” and handled unexpected occurrences.
- Be intentional about seeing the one who is requesting your time and really listening to the request. When someone came to Jesus, the Lord stopped and considered the person, not just the request. He took the time to turn and look at the one requesting/interrupting. Obviously we can’t always stop what we are doing or even honor a request. But we can focus on the person, not ourselves, while we ask them to wait or direct them elsewhere.
- Never let the dreaded response, “I am too busy” pass from your mouth. Strike those words from your vocabulary. As far as I can tell, Jesus never uttered that phrase. He had much to do, for sure, but that never kept Him from showing the person she was more important than His to-do list. (This is so difficult–I said the words to my daughter even as I was writing this!) Plus, you may miss a great opportunity for growth or to minister if you are always perceived as too busy.
- If you must, graciously defer the request/interruption to another time and then follow through. Jesus didn’t always immediately drop what He was doing to take care of the request, but He did follow through. In fact, Lazarus died while waiting for Jesus to arrive, but He still went and ministered in an amazing way.
- Choose to see interruptions as opportunities. The Lord can use anything for our good. Jesus even took Satan’s interruption/temptation as an opportunity in His earthly life and ministry.
No doubt we have tasks worth doing, but it doesn’t mean they need to be done right now or even by you at all. The better thing might be to welcome the interruptions.
Replace “I am too busy” with “I am willing,” “Let’s go to him,” and “Call him here.” Go with others, weep with them, minister to them.
Because really, there are no such things as interruptions only opportunities. [←Tweet this.]
Opportunities to grow personally and reflect the love of Christ in this hurting world.
“Pay careful attention, then, to how you walk—not as unwise people but as wise—making the most of the time, because the days are evil. So don’t be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is.” Ephesians 5:15-17
Reflections: Do you struggle with being “too busy”? Do you handle interruptions graciously or with difficulty?
Yours in grace ≈