I live in a constant state of interruption. Two minutes ago, my 18-month-old son ripped my half-written grocery list out of my hand while my daughter screamed because she couldn’t find her shoes. One minute ago, my son pulled my daughter’s full-length mirror off the wall. Good grief, I just needed ten minutes.
As a teacher, I face expected and important interruptions all day long and then I finally sit down at my desk to plan out lessons and grade papers and then I get a phone call from my husband about home management and doctor’s appointments. Good grief, I just needed ten minutes.
Do you ever feel like your life is interrupting your life?
What If Interruptions Are Actually Purposeful?
When we live from this mindset, we put tasks in front of people. We control instead of connect. We rush instead of listen. It always leaves us frustrated, disappointed, and angry, and then our people feel hurt and pushed aside. We know there is not enough time in the day or energy to complete all the good work that we plan to get done. Dear friend, mama, and sister, let us consider a mindset shift: What if every interruption that happens in our day becomes an invitation to something that matters more?
As a mom, our kids need us, and as a person, people need us, and isn’t this the point of our lives? We want to love God and love people. So how do we practically live well when our to-do list is a mile high?
1. Become more intentional with your time by reciting your purpose for why you do the things you do. Consider who you want to be in 5 years. Write your long-term goals and your short-term goals out. Invest in something like PowerSheets or a Passion Planner to help you discern your next steps. Once you zoom out on your life, you may see that your daily to-do list contradicts your purpose and your daily interruptions align with your purpose. Is there a discrepancy? If so, redefine what is important and take a step towards living it out.
2. Ask yourself whether the daily to-do list is reasonable.
Star the items on it you know will actually get done, and let the rest go. If you are in the season of young kids, you will only be miserable if you don’t learn how to release the expectation that today is not the day that you will organize your pantry, mop your floors, and get the grocery shopping done. Shorten your list depending on your current load and let there be space for important things to come up. Now you have the time and capacity to take that phone call, look your kids in the eyes, or run to the grocery store for your neighbor.
3. Know the God that gives you worth.
What we do matters, but it’s easy to be trapped into the cultural lie that our worth comes from our efficiency and productivity. Remember, our worth comes from the Creator of the Universe who spoke us into being. He gets to tell us who we are. We are part of His story and we are valuable because of what He has done for us.
Ephesians 2:8-10 says, “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”
We don’t earn our salvation. Jesus has paid for it by sacrificing His own body on a cross and delivering us from sin and death. Now we get to experience freedom from our broken self. Like Paul says in Galatians 2:20, “I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.”
Our priorities shift because we know our God and we care about what He cares about. We care about the faces in front of us, instead of the satisfaction of a clean home. There is freedom now because we are living in God’s will, and we know, even if it feels upside down to what we should do, this is the way to live.
The Outcome of Listening to that Interruption
I ran downstairs to pick up a toy tower that fell over on its side that my daughter couldn’t pick up on her own. Instead of grumbling about the laundry that still needed folding, I accepted the invitation to help my daughter and to teach her to solve her problem. Connection became my priority. My purpose recited through my head as I served her and then I went on my way to the task that needed done.
I knew I was loving God and loving my people well. As I picked up a shirt from the heaping pile of laundry, I thanked God for each of my family members and I prayed for each of them. I felt God’s presence strongly as I gave Him credit.
The “interruptions” were God’s invitation to my actual life and now I was thanking Him for it. All because I made the choice to pay attention to what was right in front of me.
Open your eyes with me, dear sister: with each interruption that arises in your day, what are you being invited into?
Daily interruptions can make us feel strapped for time. This podcast episode outlines a better way to take ownership of how you spend your hours: How To Take Back Your Time With Christy Wright – 166