Thursday, August 24, 2017

When The Interruptions Are Our Ministry



I’m often the last one to the party. I don’t know if it’s because my eyes are moving faster than my brain has the capacity to process. Or if I’m so overwhelmed with the pace of life that I’m hesitant to add new things to my plate. Or if I’m more of a follower than a leader with regard to all things “trending.”
Maybe it’s a little of all three.

But regardless, over the last few weeks, my eyes have seen a lot of hype about Monday’s eclipse on social media. But my head didn’t process it until Monday morning, when I woke up, and was all, “I think we’re having an eclipse today…”
Two of our three kids were super-excited about it. Their teachers were taking them outside to watch it with protective eye wear. Little Bit was downright mad because the school had decided first graders don’t have the needed self-control to not stare at the sun. Thus, no eclipse viewing for him.

I had taken some personal time resulting in a five-day weekend to catch up around the house from the fallout of summer, and Monday was my last day off.
I had big plans.

And I had exactly zero intention of taking time out of my schedule to watch the eclipse since I had no eclipse glasses and the idea of burning my retinas sounded flat-out awful.
But at the breakfast table, my oldest son turned to me and said:

“Mommy, are you going to come up to school and watch the eclipse with me? They invited all the parents…”
His words sucked the air out of the room, as all eyes turned to me, waiting for a response. My to-do list flooded through my mind. My heartbeat increased to a rapid pace. And I actually began to sweat. My husband stood in the kitchen, trying not to laugh. He knew all about my big plans for the day.

I had a split-second to construct my response.
Would I duck and cover? Or would I step out into the sun?

More times than I can count, I’ve heard my pastor husband remind himself and his staff that “the interruptions are the ministry.” It’s true in church work, and it’s certainly true in parenting. But truth doesn’t mean easy, and this isn’t an easy motto to adopt.
At least not for me.

Head down, nose to the grindstone, I feel focused, successful, and in control. I often fool myself into thinking that finishing my task list will lead to some level of eternal joy or satisfaction. But at the end of this task list lies another. And another after that. If I’m not careful, I’ll work my task list to the exclusion of missed ministry opportunities arising all around me.
I knew this was a ministry moment. I also knew that the days of my oldest son inviting me to the school to spend time with him weren’t as countless as the hairs upon his head. So I put my plans on the shelf I’d intended to de-clutter and headed to the school.

There’s no question that the structure and routine of the school year is good for all of us. We should embrace it.
But schedules and routine can become domineering if we’re not mindful of the needed ebb and flow between work and play.

So as your family settles into the rhythm of a new school year, my prayer is that my husband’s words might ring as true for you as they did for me. May we all remember that the interruptions are our ministry, and sometimes, we just need to step out into the sun!

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