When people and things disrupt my workflow, how can I tell if an interruption is a distraction or a God-event? Is it like a child’s bumper lane in a bowling alley, meant to keep me out of the gutter? Or is it a snare, a stick-pile in the river?
The rapids are the events over which I have no control, and I’m glad I have an experienced Guide with me Who knows where the hazards are. He expects me to use my paddle as I’m able and engage in the fight to stay upright, but He’s strong enough to keep me on an even keel.
Sometimes, when I’m about to be dumped into the river, I just hang onto the sides for dear life. But I’m not going to drown (unless it’s my time to go Home). When He comes to rescue me, I must relax and not struggle against Him. He has the lifeline in His hands. Thankfully, not all of life is rapids. Sometimes it’s okay to drift and to rest.
So, whether I encounter shallows, a stick-pile, or the rapids, I don’t have to figure out its source. I just need to navigate what comes with patience, faith, and grace.
The Plan: The family is gone, so I can work all day on editing Simroots, a magazine for AMKs (Adult Missionary Kids).
The Reality (no kidding!) I counted:
21 phone calls
5 pieces of mail
1 person at the door
6 visits to my office
By the end of the day, I felt exhausted!
Visual: I’m on a train with my bags packed, briefcase in hand, ready to move toward my destination. But every few feet, the train jerks to a stop. Sometimes people get on and some get off. Sometimes I step off in frustration from the discomfort of the jerking, but I dare not wander too far for fear I’ll not be on the train when it finally breaks free and starts moving again.
By the end of the day, I haven’t even left the station! What to do? I go inside the train station and find an indoor pool (don’t ask) and try to relax and unwind. But I’m still unnerved by the motion of the train. Being a task-oriented person, I prefer a bullet train—fast track, no station stops. I feel agitated, unsettled, irritated . . . certainly not at peace. If I’d known I was on a defective commuter train, I could have adjusted my expectations and been fine with it.
No, this is not the first time I’ve experienced this.
The related Memory: While desperately in need of a nap when my baby was sleeping, the neighbor boy across the street relentlessly pounded away on something in his front yard. I’d just fall asleep when he’d pound again, jerking me awake. Irritated is too soft a word for what I was feeling!
Instead of praying that the boy would stop (I tried that), I could have prayed for supernatural rest. Instead of getting irritated that I wasn’t getting Simroots done, I could have turned my attention fully to the interruptions. And I could have stepped off the train and asked Jesus to tell me when it was time to get back on. Even if the train leaves without me, I can always catch the next one.
A 2021 Update: I have since learned that I’m more productive if I ask the Lord for direction first about what tasks He wants me to accomplish that day and in what order. When my mind is set, I then ask Him to hold the interruptions, except for those that come from Him. Then once a month I climb aboard a bullet train, a scheduled Karen Day with no interruptions allowed.