Interrupt, pause, interfere, impede, hinder … these words suggest a disruption of some kind, most times unwelcome. Kind of like how you love your mother but she chooses the moment you’re watching your favourite TV show to talk about another chore that needs your attention.
I love making lists, goals, writing them down and all of that stuff. I like to plan ahead (even if my procrastination means I barely make the deadline), and I experience pleasure when striking things I’ve achieved off my list. Try as I might, though, the first half of 2019 didn’t exactly go as planned. Life was like a child throwing tantrums and interrupting my juggling act, causing the balls to fall, with me running after each ball, trying to get them together.
I’ve been interrupted in a couple of ways this year: relationships failing, sudden changes in career, running out of gas when cooking, which has had me feeling discontent, confused, angry and afraid at different times. But I can tell you I’ve come to view it as not convenient but necessary, even though I still have moments when I realise I don’t have it all figured out.
When I turned down a job offer earlier this year, one that would have paid the bills but required me to sacrifice my personal ideals and dreams, I walked out of that meeting thinking: Did I do the right thing? I felt like I had just interrupted my career progression. It took me months to know I made the right choice. Can you recognize God in the interruptions? Trusting is not always knowing, it is believing. It took me a long time to see that with that job, I would have been moving, but in the wrong direction. How many times do we go in the opposite direction? That would have been me interrupting God.
So many things are shouting for your attention, including yourself. An interruption is sometimes the only way to make you listen. In the last couple of weeks, I’ve had some downtime to attend to some of the mundane things in my life, like cleaning out my closet; sleeping; updating my music playlist; catching up on reading, thereby giving my creativity room to flourish; coming up with the craziest ideas, who knows, I may or may not execute half of them, but I’ve had so much fun writing them down; researching new ventures; did I mention sleeping? Think of your interruptions as being part of a marathon. There are moments to go slow, which is key to winning the race. Conserve your strength even if everyone is racing by.
No matter how politely it happens to us, it’s still an interruption. I spoke to a friend recently who got a wonderful job opportunity, but it requires her leaving the country to travel. I was excited on her behalf, but she didn’t seem as excited as I was; she told me she felt interrupted. She had an okay job here, great colleagues, had settled into a rhythm at her present job, and the thought of moving abroad scared her, although it was a wonderful opportunity. When your plans are interrupted, even for good, it isn’t easy. Pray for a fresh pair of eyes to dream again, strength to walk roads never travelled, courage to lay some things down and hope to try again.
One of the people I spoke to when I was considering not taking the job I mentioned earlier was a top management level staff in the company. He shared with me his personal story of being fired from his dream job, and he felt like his life was ruined. But in the following months he landed this present job and experienced some personal triumphs. He laughed when I relayed my concerns about missing out on a great opportunity, even when I was sure it wasn’t the right one. He told me the important thing is that I realise what I don’t want, and maybe I’ll be like him, telling someone else: “When you think you’ve missed the opportunity of a lifetime, you’ll bounce back better than before.” Who knows, he probably got fired so he could tell me his story.
When you are interrupted, you’re paralysed. You don’t know what to do next, but not to worry, your strength will return. You wil show others that when you’re interrupted, it is proof that you’re living, not that you’re failing.
Life is but a series of interruptions. Interruptions are not an end, they are a pause. You know when the traffic light turns red and you stop your car, it doesn’t mean you’re lost, don’t know where your next turn is; it is a moment to rest, collect your thoughts, observe your surroundings, ready to speed up when the light turns green. How’s life lately on your end?
Have you experienced any interruptions?