Saturday, November 2, 2013

Life Interrupted

Wednesday was a crazy day. My calendar was booked from beginning to end with no room for mistake, but mistakes happened! A presentation that a group of us had spent hours working on mysteriously disappeared from existence. Life Interrupted. In a day where there was no time, we scrambled to recreate that which was lost. Later in the day I was setting up a room divider. As I secured it in place, the tool whipped around and hit me right on the collarbone. The nurse feared it was fractured. Off to the doctor for me. Life Interrupted. My plans for the day evaporated as quickly as a mist. Do you have days like that?

As I sat in the doctors office waiting for my x-rays to be read, I thought of the phrase "Life Interrupted". I started to grumble in my mind about life being interrupted and then it was if someone hit me in the forehead (think V-8 commercial) with a new thought. The thought was this: The troubles that come along don't interrupt life, they are life. John 16:33 says, " I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world." See, it is biblical. We will have troubles, they are part of life, not an exception to it.  Life is filled with ups and downs. It isn't just the good times that make up who we are, it is the annoying times as well. We aren't living only when life is smooth, but also when life is frustrating. I began to realize a few things about myself and about interruptions.

On Planning
I tend to think that because I can plan my calendar, I can plan my life. My first lesson was a reminder that none of us are truly in control of our lives. (You'd think I would know this by now!) We may try to plan our destiny, but sometimes there is a greater agenda. Proverbs 19:21 "Many are the plans in a person's heart, but it is the LORD's purpose that prevails." I may not always understand His purpose, but I don't have to fear it or fight it because, "For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." Jeremiah 29:11. On the calendar of life, I really must switch to pencil; for my plans are tentative upon a grander design.

On Power
I also recognized that (brace yourself, this will surprise some of you---not!) I am a bit of a control freak. I like to think that I am strong, independent, and in control. When things go beyond my control, I am not a happy camper. I get frustrated and anxious. That frustration leads to worry. "What about the meeting I am missing?"; "What about the cost?"; "How will I squeeze everything in now?"; "What about...?" Matthew 6:25-27  says, “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? 26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27 Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?"  The main difference between me and a bird is that I think I am in control. In all reality, we are not so different (no bird-brain jokes here, please). Like God provides for the birds, he will provide for me. That provision comes even in, and sometimes through, life's interruptions. The power I have is a fa├žade. Worrying will add no time to my life or my day!

On Perception
 My final lesson was on perception. When something else comes along that wasn't in my plan, I perceive it as an interruption. I grumble about the unexpected throwing me off my path. I have a feeling that if I ever get to a point that I can perceive the "interruptions" as part of the plan that I won't struggle as much against them. If I can begin to somehow leave room for the unexpected in my mind, and trust that God will handle those things as they arise, I will not be as insulted when they occur. Rather than perceiving troubles as interruptions, I want to change my perceptions and view them as opportunities. Opportunities for growth, opportunities for God, opportunities for grace.

How about you? Have you experienced Life Interrupted? Does planning, power, and perception throw you off as well? How do you deal with it? Any other control freaks out there?  Pulitzer Prize winning author, Carl Sanburg, said, "Nearly all the best things that came to me in life have been unexpected, unplanned by me." Sometimes blessings come to life through the unexpected and unplanned-- You know, the interruptions!

  "What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead, you ought to say, "If it is the Lord's will, we will live and do this or that."
James 5:14

 I would love to hear the lessons you have learned on the topic. Leave your thoughts in the comments on my blog or on my Facebook.

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