I don’t like to stop. I like the idea of pausing to reflect, but not enough to take a break. Left to my own devices I’ll keep going until all the gas in my tank is gone. I’ve discovered the hard way that this brand of living takes its toll over time. It affects my health and relationships in every sphere. It weakens the work God has for me in the world and who He desires me to become. And still, fully aware that I’m a man not a machine, most days I steer clear from stopping myself.
Interruptions are a gift, a reminder that the universe doesn’t come to a halt whenever I do. As a son, husband, father, employee, lay pastor, and more, I easily trick myself into being busier and busier. My motivation? An insidious belief that I must perform to be known, loved, and appreciated. This false reality is fueled even more by my propensity toward perfectionism. Without interruptions, I would run myself into the ground. Without divine interruptions, I would be lost forever.
And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but are yourself lost or destroyed? Luke 9:25 NLT
The Holy Spirit had me stumble upon Luke 9:25 several years ago. It’s essential to faith formation, and, in context, this verse speaks to evangelism and salvation. Rather than shelve Jesus’ words in systematic theology, God used it to interrupt me with one of its myriad applications. My eyes were opened and my heart was convicted. What if “gain the whole world” sums up my insecure desire to perform everything perfectly? And what impact, according to this passage, will my detrimental drive have on my soul? I don’t recall where I was when this truth hit me, but it was clearly a divine interruption.
Taking a forced break to peer into this piece of Scripture changed me. The Spirit’s divine interruption through Luke 9:25 illuminated my inner anxieties, called out my outward behaviors, reset my priorities, and gave me an anchor to revisit when I allow perfectionism to get the best of me.
I still burn the proverbial candle at both ends much of the time. Too often I keep going well past my God-given capacities and circadian rhythm. But, I’m not who I was before the Holy Spirit graciously tripped me up on His truth. Today my soul is much more sensitive to being interrupted and welcoming it as a gift.
My family and I, like many others, look forward to Taco Tuesday (or Thursday, Saturday, Monday, any day really!). Beyond the food itself, we enjoy the extended time it takes to prepare and the process of building our own creations around the dinner table. Taco Tuesday comes with extra interruptions simply because we have to ask one another to pass the tortillas, meat, cheese, lettuce, sour cream, tomatoes, onions, salsa, and whatever else we put in little bowls that evening. For a family made up of mostly firstborns, this exercise in slowing down and asking for help grows our patience, servanthood, and gratitude. And, rather than focus on perfection, Taco Tuesday gives me the opportunity to let creativity and community soar instead of trying to go fast and get everything right on my own.
Acoustic guitar music soothes my soul. I was interrupted by Trace Bundy’s album, Adapt, a few years back and listen to it frequently when I need to slow down or stay focused. “Moon Rise” is the final track on this amazing work of art. Perhaps God will use it as a divine interruption in your life as much as it has in mine.
“Moon Rise” by Tracy Bundy (Album: Adapt, 2004)
Jesus, you say “come to me” and give no parameters for who, when, why, or how. You welcome interruptions from anyone at anytime and for any reason. Forgive me for trying to keep the world around me running through my performance and perfectionism. Thank you for interrupting me with your divine grace and truth. Remind me frequently to pause, stop, reflect, and change course so I can love You and others, and even myself, as You do. Amen.
There’s a difference between distractions and interruptions. This week, ask God make it clear when He is divinely interrupting you for the sake of your soul. Read and reflect on Matthew 11:28-30. What holds you back from slowing down to approach Christ when you’re overwhelmed with opportunities, obligations, and obsessions? Set aside time each day to invite Jesus’ much needed interruptions as a gift.
Beauty in the Interruptions | Dan Lovaglia