Here’s another quote from the book I’ve been reading:
“To live on purpose…requires paying attention, and paying attention means—almost by definition—that we make room for surprise. We become hospitable to interruption. I doubt we can notice for long without this hospitality. And to sustain it we need theological touchstones for it—a conviction in our bones that God is Lord of our days and years, and that his purposes and his presence often come disguised as detours, messes, defeats.
I came to you naked, Jesus says. I came to you thirsty.
“When, Lord?” we ask, startled.
When he wore the disguise of an interruption.
Think for a moment of all the events and encounters that have shaped you most deeply and lastingly. How many did you see coming? How many did you engineer, manufacture, chase down?
And how many were interruptions?
Children? You might have planned as meticulously as a NASA rocket launch, but did you have any idea, really, what it would be like, who this child in your arms really was, who you would become because of him or her? The span between life as we intend it and life as we receive it is vast. Our true purpose is worked out in that gap. It is fashioned in the crucible of interruptions.”
Mark Buchanan, The Rest of God, ©2006, Thomas Nelson, pp 80-81.
I love that: our Life is formed in the crucible of interruptions. Well, let me rephrase that—I love that as a concept, but I don’t usually love it when it’s actually happening. Like I said before, this is crunch time, and I get really focused (ahem, read that as “tunnel vision, block everyone else out”) on the tasks in front of me, and then don’t respond very well when the interruptions come (usually in the form of certain family members seeking my attention).
But it’s in those 1001 little decisions, to be present and engaged or to brush off and be annoyed, where our character is being formed. Yes, the “big interruptions”—like my family’s decision to adopt—do bring significant change in us, but more often it’s the little everyday interruptions that over time begin to shape our heart and character.
So the next time you get interrupted—maybe right now as you are trying to finish reading this post—pay attention. Before immediately brushing it off, pay attention to what God might be bringing to you in this interruption. Who knows, it may turn out to be a wonderful, gracious gift from your loving Father.