My last two weeks have been crazy! Every time I sat down to work on a project, I got interrupted. It seemed I could never focus on anything for more than a few minutes and by the time I got back to that project, it took time just to find out where I was! At one point, I thought, “This is about as bad as when I had preschoolers!”
Remember those days? Preschoolers have an attention span of five minutes unless Barney the Dinosaur is on television. Even then, thirty minutes was barely enough time to madly get some housework done much less get involved in anything serious. Whatever did I do back then?
Moms aren’t the only ones who get interrupted. Teachers inside the classroom are constantly having to stray from the lesson book to mend a torn book or a torn knee, settle a fist fight or review a math concept or memory verse five more times than anticipated before the children “get it.” If you work outside the home, especially in an office with a front desk and a telephone, you know about interruptions. My husband had a job at our seminary as the library’s media director. His day was constantly filled with walk-ins and telephone calls. One day, in exasperation, he complained to his boss how he couldn’t finish his work because of all the interruptions. Wise Mr. Davis had this advice. “Consider that God has given you the ministry of interruptions,” he told Jack.
This reminded me of what I learned in college in my internship as a home economist with the Cooperative Extension Service. My supervising home economist told me to leave one-third of my time unscheduled. That gave me the flexibility to meet the demands of the unexpected while still allowing time to get my other work done.
So how do we handle interruptions, whether they are from children, coworkers or the public we serve? Stay flexible. View your work in two parts: the planned and the unplanned. See the unplanned as divine opportunities for you to serve others. And pray that God will give you the discernment to see the difference between divine opportunities and distractions from the Evil One meant to get you off course from the important. Pray for boldness to say no to the distractions. And while you need to leave one third of your time unscheduled, you still need to plan for the other two thirds. Don’t allow the interruptions to rule your life.
Finally, memorize the words of Proverbs 16:3: "Commit to the Lord whatever you do and your plans will succeed." At the beginning of your day, surrender your Day-Timer to the Lord, asking Him to be in charge of your day. Watch Him smooth your path and accept the interruptions as His plans for you.