When Interruptions Derail Your Day

452728921_ca54149293_z

I admit it—I don’t deal real well with interruptions to my plans. It tends to drive me crazy when I’m not accomplishing the things I wanted to. Anyone else identify?

I do try to battle my poor reaction to interruptions, though. I start my day by saying, “Lord, this day is yours and so am I. My times are in your hands.” But somewhere along the way, I find myself grabbing that time back. I hate it when I do that. I say one thing and do another.

Recently I read an entry in Sarah Young’s newest devotional book Jesus Always, and it gave me great—albeit convicting—insight into my struggle with interruptions. It also pointed out a better approach to dealing with them. And I found it very interesting that this approach emphasizes trust—the very word I chose as my theme word for 2017.

I’d like to share portions of that entry here today in case any of you fight a similar battle with yourself. I pray it blesses and helps you—and I pray I’ll remember to apply it to my life. Here it is:

“When things are not going your way, refuse to get flustered . . . Your desire to feel in control is often the culprit behind your frustration. You plan your day and expect others to behave in ways that expedite your plans. When that doesn’t happen, you face a choice: to resent the situation or to trust in Me. Remember that I am in control and My ways are higher than yours . . . Instead of getting agitated about setbacks to your schedule, use them as reminders: I am your Savior-God, and you are My beloved follower. Relax in My sovereign control, trusting in My unfailing Love.” Sarah Young, January 16 entry in Jesus Always (italics are phrases from scripture, Isaiah 55:9 and Psalm 13:5)

“But I trust in you, O LORD; I say, ‘You are my God.’ My times are in your hands;” Psalm 31:14-15a

*Do you struggle with dealing with life’s interruptions too?

*The new issue of Life Notes, my quarterly inspirational newsletter, comes out tomorrow. Sign-up is free and to the right. Your name won’t be included in the giveaway draw until the next issue comes out, but it’s not too late to receive this issue. Sign up today!

*Flickr photo by MOEVIEW is Aaron Molina, Creative Commons License

Handling Interruptions: Still Under Construction

277669075_4a3232acd5_zHandle interruptions gracefully? Me? I admit it—when it comes to dealing with interruptions in a positive way, I’m very much a work under construction. And messy construction at that.

When I’m in the midst of a task or working my way through my to-do list, interruptions can trigger a variety of reactions in me, and unfortunately none of them are very pretty. I’m not proud of it, but eye-rolling, huffing and puffing, finger-drumming, or even an irritable outburst may be involved. Of course, the inward reaction is even stronger as I allow the pressure-cooking-work of frustration to do a number on me.

I’m sure my type A personality and goal-oriented work style have something to do with my difficulty in managing the interruptions that come my way daily, but I can’t use that as an excuse to continue handling them in a negative way. I need to do my best to retrain myself to react to interruptions differently.

Last summer, Jeff Goins’ post Please, Interrupt Me challenged me anew to be more interruptible.  Instead of resisting interruptions and allowing them to frustrate me to no end, I need to welcome them and see them as opportunities.

If I change my thinking, an interruption can become an opportunity to serve someone I love—or maybe even a stranger. It might be a chance to offer some words of encouragement or to experience an unexpected blessing from God. Or maybe it will be a treasured memory in the making or simply a chance to grow my character. God may want to polish a jagged edge and allow more patience to shine through my life.

Seeing interruptions as opportunities is a mind-set I have to remind myself of frequently—and I’m still too far away from handling them gracefully. But at least I have a desire to improve. At least I’m under construction. And I’m ever so thankful for the tenacity and patience of the Master Builder who is working on me.

Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity . . .” Ephesians 5:15-16a

 *Is any aspect of your life currently under construction?

 Flickr photo by takomabibelot

*The new issue of Life Notes, my quarterly inspirational newsletter, comes out today. It’s not too late to receive it. Sign-up is free and to the right!

*Don’t miss out on the “For You and Your Friend” Valentine’s Day Giveaway! See post for details.

Midweek Morsel: Missed Opportunities, Silver Linings

Sometimes we let opportunities pass right by us. A few weeks ago, I wrote about seizing opportunities God sends our way, and I’m a firm believer in trying to do just that. However, for whatever reason, sometimes we miss out on them. And if you’re like me, you kick yourself over and over again for your goof up.

Instead of dwelling on what we missed, let’s find and focus on a silver lining to the botched opportunity. For example, I’ve failed to have my camera battery charged at times when I could have captured some awesome photos of unusual bird sightings in my back yard. When this happens, I try to remind myself that there can be a silver lining. Instead of focusing on taking photos, I’m now free to simply enjoy the sight and revel in the beauty of the moment.

Let’s not wallow in regret–even when the consequences of our failures are more serious than missed photos. Let’s choose to look for the positive. Spotting the silver linings can keep us looking up and moving forward.

“. . . if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.” Philippians 3:8

*What silver lining have you noticed after a missed opportunity? You might also like to read other perspectives on missed opportunities and foul-ups.

*Flickr photo by ninja gecko

Sometimes I’m a Mess

Cranky days. Stressed out days. Confused or anxious days. Days that I end up thinking, saying, or doing wrong things. Please tell me that some of you also have days when you finally look up at the heavens and say, “Lord, I’m a mess. Please help me.”

I don’t know about you, but I can be a mess mood-wise every now and then. Hormones play havoc with my moods at times, but other times I may not be handling stress very well or I might have fallen prey to the tactics of our spiritual adversary, the devil. He loves to keep me tied up in fear, anxiety, or confusion. Yep, sometimes I’m a mess.

Some days I’m a mess physically. It might be due to lack of sleep or a flare-up of the inflammatory arthritis that began paying me visits when I was just in my thirties. And every now and then I get sick, and—though I hate to admit it—I’ve even been known to injure myself. Yep, sometimes I’m a mess.

Occasionally, the mess-monster invades my writing life. At times I can’t seem to move forward or get past the hurdle of the blank page. Getting started on a new piece—whether  an article, a chapter, or a blog post—is one of the hardest parts of writing for me.

Other times, my brain feels foggy or clogged. The words don’t flow, and I struggle for each sentence. I grow more frustrated by the minute because I’m falling further behind in paring down the stack of projects I’m trying to complete. Yep, sometimes I’m a writing mess.

And then there’s my spiritual life. I can also be a mess in that area. I’ve already mentioned how the enemy tries to color my moods or emotions, but he also does his best to keep me falling into the traps I’m most vulnerable to—pride, a critical spirit, or the tendency to try to perform to stay in God’s good graces when Jesus has already done that for me. Yep, sometimes I’m a mess.

Can any of you identify? The good news is that God doesn’t turn us away when we’re having messy days.He wants us to cry out to him and admit when we’re a mess. In fact, he probably wonders why we don’t do it earlier.

Next time the mess-monster comes calling, how about we apply the brakes earlier than usual? Why not cry out for help earlier? Our God is ready and waiting to come to our aid. We’ll all—our families included—be the better for it.

Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.” Hebrews 4:16

*What other tips could you recommend for dealing with the mess-monster?

*Flickr photo by greg westfall

Waiting Rewarded

 

Several weeks ago I did battle with myself in the purse department at Macy’s. No blood was shed, but the struggle was intense.

I mentally debated the pros and cons of purchasing my perfect find and modeled it in a mirror at least a dozen times, but in the end, I put it back on the shelf. It wasn’t on sale. And there was no way I could bring myself to purchase it at full price. Talk about frustration.

For the past couple of months, I’d been on a quest—one I also undertook last year—to find a black and white purse to carry during the spring and summer months. Since black coordinates well with most of my wardrobe, I wanted to keep that color, but I also wanted something to lighten up my look—something that looked more summery. White would do the trick.

Not only was I on the hunt for that particular color combination, but size was a factor as well. Physically, I can’t carry big purses, but I also don’t want anything too small. On top of that, I need a purse with at least a two sections and some pockets for organization. I’m afraid I’d lose what little mind I have left if I had to rifle through one big abyss every time I needed to find my lipstick.

So, when I spotted the answer to my prayers perched attractively on that Macy’s shelf, I almost broke out into a victory dance. But before jumping into full celebration mode, I decided to check the price tag. Oh, my goodness. All I can say is good grief, dang, and why me?

Even though it was disheartening to have to walk away, I would have been even more miserable if I’d overspent in a moment of shopping desperation. Showing restraint was the right call. I’d just have to hope the purse would still be there and go on sale during one of my subsequent trips to the city.

Fast forward a month. My friend Teri had given me a great coupon for Macy’s so into the store I marched with coupon in hand, hoping against hope that my dream purse would be on sale, sitting on the shelf waiting for me to clutch it to my bosom in sweet relief. And you know what? My dreams came true! Not only was the purse nearly 50% off, the clerk allowed me to use the coupon as well. Score!!

I believe more that luck was involved, though. I think God had a hand in my good fortune that day. Not only does he care about the things that concern us, but he loves to bless us—just like we love to bless our kids. He rewarded my patience and self-restraint and provided for me at just the right time. Hmmm . . . that somehow sounds familiar.

Yes, he’s taught me that lesson now a time or two . . . or maybe ten. I hope I remember it next time I do battle in a Macy’s aisle. More than that, I hope I remember it day in and day out, as I make decisions either to rush ahead or wait on God.

So what do you say? Next time we find ourselves in a battle with ourselves, let’s show restraint. Let’s practice patience. Let’s trust God to provide for us at just the right time.

“Wait for the LORD; be strong and take heart and wait for the LORD.” Psalm 27:14

*How has the Lord rewarded a time of waiting in your life?

*By popular demand, I’ve added a link to a photo of the purse :) http://www1.macys.com/shop/product/giani-bernini-handbag-swagger-satchel?ID=702734&CategoryID=54507#fn=sp%3D1%26spc%3D88%26ruleId%3D52%26slotId%3D4

*Flickr photo at top of post by kelsey_lovefusionphoto