Re-post: Divine Interruptions

by Rachel Held Evans Read Distraction Free

(Reposting this one today because I've had a divine interruption that will keep me away from my computer today.)

So I’m reading a really challenging book by Shane Claiborne and Shawn Perkins called Follow Me to Freedom. Although it’s technically a leadership book, the conversational approach makes it a helpful resource for anyone who wants to inspire others to do justice, love mercy, and walk humbly with God.  I’m thankful to my friend Meredith for recommending it.

In Chapter 1, Claiborne makes an observation that has haunted me ever since I read it. It’s about interruptions: 

"Interruptions are a theme in Scripture. We have a God who is continually interrupting us—interrupting our routines, our patterns of inequity, the status quo…The gospels are stories of interruption after interruption. Jesus was at a wedding in Cana when His mother interrupted Him and said, ‘They have no more wine.’ He had just stepped ashore in a region called Gerasenes when he was interrupted by the cries of a demon-possessed man. He was on His way to visit a sick child when a touch on His sleeve interrupted Him and He felt the power go out from Him. The incredible thing is that Jesus was always available and attentive to the interruptions and surprises, like someone who stops to fix a flat tire for a stranded motorist. Jesus was never so fixed on His vision for the Kingdom that He missed the needs of folks right next to Him. Sometimes Jesus even gets yelled at for stopping to hang out with the kids…
Most days, our life in Philly feels like one interruption after another. It is packed with surprises: a knock at the door, an emergency, or a kid who wants to show us the first sunflower bud.  It seems that these are the very things so many of us try to squeeze out of our lives. We love predictability. We don’t want anything to alter our course, even if we know there is something beautiful on the other end of the interruption (p. 28-29)." 

I found this particularly convicting, as I tend to be fiercely protective of my time.  I’m a goal-setter and a planner, and once I get on-task, there’s nothing you can do to stop me.  I don’t like veering off track, and I don’t like interruptions. I get annoyed when the phone rings or there’s a knock at the door. 

And yet some of the best, most important moments of my life have been the result of interruptions—unannounced company, unforeseen changes, long conversations, sudden calls for help, once-in-a-lifetime opportunities, roads less traveled,  change of plans, and little unexpected moments of abandon. And when I think about what made Uncle Gary special to so many people, it was the fact that he always had time for others.  He was never too busy to talk. 

I’m not exactly sure how to do it, but I want to become more open to interruptions. I don’t want to miss any more opportunities to strengthen friendships or fellowship with strangers or see the divine in the little things. This may mean a change in pace or a shift in priorities. It may even mean missing a deadline now and then.

But something tells me it will be worth it. 

Can you think of a time when an interruption turned into something really beautiful?  How do we become more open to interruptions in our day-to-day lives? (I would love to hear from parents, who I suspect deal with interruptions most frequently!)

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