During this wonderful, chaotic time of year as students pull all nighters attempting to learn a semester’s worth of material for one big test, as people rush around to several stores to find the perfect gifts for their kids, and friends, and family and each other, and…well you get the point. During this time of year when our already busy lives become crammed, our stress levels increase and our to-do lists only lengthen, the last thing we want is an interruption; something to mess up our flow, our shopping, our already packed day.
In general, I don’t like interruptions. I don’t like it when people suddenly cut me off to interject their opinion, I don’t like it when something comes up that ruins the plans I had made, I don’t like it when my dog interrupts my sleep by barking, or when my parents interrupt what I’m doing to ask me to do something else. I try my best to roll with things, and sometimes I succeed and other times I fall flat on my face. But during this stressful time of year especially, it’s even tougher to go along with interruptions and I find my tolerance for them close to zero.
However, over the past few weeks I’ve learned that interruptions don’t have to be bad.
This past weekend my youth group put on a free photo event. We set up shop and invited families to come have their picture taken; we then edited the pictures, printed them and framed them for free. But the event didn’t just happen; we had one interruption after another. When we first decided to do the free photo event, we only had about a month and half to plan it. Originally, I had a location in mind: a friend’s store with open space in the back that she had already offered up. However, the first interruption came when, after actually seeing the store, it was entirely too small. That interruption put us in touch with two more very resourceful people who were able to help and offer up several wonderful ideas, and we finally nailed down a location (two weeks before the event!). The interruption set planning back, but as a result we met four new people all trying to positively impact our community and it reminded me that God provides.
Our second interruption came when two Wal-marts, Chick-fil-a, Publix and Starbucks couldn’t help sponsor our event by donating food and drinks and our third interruption came when we were only able to raise half the money we were hoping to. I had planned on having food, on actually being able to offer a meal, and yet these two things interrupted my plans.
But in the end we were able to offer pastries, cookies, lemonade, water and hot chocolate and still have money left over. Those interruptions reminded me that God always provides, even if it’s not always how I expect.
The fourth interruption was a lack of volunteers. We had planned to have three photographers and enough jobs for at least 15 different people (10 at the very least), but we could only come up with two photographers and ten volunteers. The morning of the event, one of the volunteers couldn’t come, but another volunteer brought a friend. Also, one photographer originally had to leave half way through the event, but because the rain interrupted his plans, he was able to stay for the entire thing (we couldn’t have done it without him!)
Once again, the interruptions reminded me that God always provides, even if it’s not how I might expect.
In the end, we were able to give free family photos to over 30 families who couldn’t otherwise afford it. We offered food, a craft for the little people while they waited, and a fun filled morning. Overall, the event was a huge success. God showed up.
This past weekend showed me that not only are interruptions beautiful, but they are also divine.
You see, what we often think of as an interruption can actually be God redirecting us to something better.
God interrupted Mary’s and Joseph’s lives when He sent us Jesus. Jesus interrupted the lives of the twelve disciples when He told them to drop what they were doing and follow him. And God interrupted my life, my future and my eternity when He called me to be his daughter.
I’m so thankful for all the times the free photo event was interrupted; I’m thankful for all the lives – Mary and Joseph’s, Paul’s and Peter’s and Noah’s and Rahab’s and John’s and Moses’ and mine – that were interrupted.
I’m thankful that God is a God of interruptions. I’m thankful that God cares enough about me to interrupt my day, my plans, and my life to offer me something better.
As this season brings added worry and stress to your lives, I challenge you not to lose your patience when the next interruption comes along, but rather let it be a reminder of our caring, loving, providing, greatest interruption of them all, Savior.
Let it be remembered that interruptions are beautiful.
Let it be remembered that Christmas itself was God interrupting the rules and laws and religiousness to offer us something better: a relationship. Hope. A King. Peace. A friend. Jesus.