Interruptions or Opportunities?
God Directing Our Paths
The other week my mom came to visit. It was just her and I as my husband was out of town. We were looking forward to a week of relaxation, bonding and quality time together. On Thursday, I walked into the garage to find the water heater leaking. Our plans were put on hold as I spent the next several hours dumping buckets and waiting on the plumbers. Then as I tried to play Mrs. Mechanic – our kitchen sink faucet started to leak – don’t ask. Later I found out that our second water heater had a problem with the pilot. It was crazy. Our week of bliss just got derailed as I was consumed with resolving these issues.
It was a blessing all these plumbing issues happened at once saving me time and money – but what a pain. As frustration was about to set in I asked, why God? I believe there is a reason for everything.
I learned a great lesson. When interruptions (anything disrupting “our plan” or anything not part of “our plan”) come into our lives, it forces us to redirect for the day or however long the interruptions last. Whether they are distractions of our enemy trying to rattle us or God redirecting our paths – if we look for the opportunities in what is happening – we can be blessed by those interruptions and our whole experience changes from one of frustration to discovery.
Our lives are no longer ours, but God’s. God is in control. He directs our steps, not us. So why do we get frustrated with situations outside our control? God directs our lives, interruptions and all, so who knows exactly what He is doing at any one time including with the interruptions. When situations happen outside of our illusionary control we can be at peace that all is working out as it should. Romans 8:28
How we respond to those interruptions is up to us and makes all the difference. We can be resistant and frustrated and miss out on the blessing that was wrapped up in that interruption. Or we can embrace it for what it is, our path being slightly or significantly redirected to fulfill His purposes and look for the new opportunities it presents (a need God was providing, a new acquaintance, a better path). If we do the latter, whether it is an attack or God, we are in a place mentally for God to use it for good in our lives and in the lives of those around us.
I know things happened for a reason; however this time I went to the next step and instead of just dealing with it or putting my life on hold until it passed, I looked for the gifts in what was happening and embraced the redirection – even in something as small as a leaky water heater.
Despite the constant interruptions, I still managed to get in a pretty good quite time, where I learned this great lesson. My mom had a wonderful time relaxing in the San Diego sun, gardening in my yard, and reading. She fully appreciated her downtime. It was a great respite for her. Then there is the plumber, our paths crossing perhaps only for this time; is that a coincidence? What about the prayers I spoke for him? One way to get people to interface with our lives is with these seemingly inconveniences. Who knows what God is up to? People we meet, even briefly, can impact us or we them – you just never know. And if we accept the interruptions for what they are we are more in the mindset to be used as God is looking to use us.
This situation got me thinking about a more serious interruption that has happened lately. The interruption came to a friend’s life, but it greatly affected mine. My friend and I were writing partners. We would get together and critique each others work twice a month. The writing was basically the extent of our interaction. Then her Mom started to have health issues that took up much of her days. We stopped the critiquing because she was so busy with her mom she didn’t have time to write. Instead we went for walks and just started hanging out. Our conversations expanded beyond just our writing into our lives. Our hearts started to draw near and a beautiful friendship blossom from our time together. Her Mom is stable now and my friend is getting back to her writing. And we now have a wonderful friendship that I absolutely cherish. Our friendship wasn’t the only reason for her interruption – but it was a HUGE blessing that came out of it.
We often see only one or a few aspects of a situation. God showed me there is much more that is going on. My frustration from seemingly unnecessary distracting interruptions is simply a lack of awareness of the bigger picture. And thinking I know what that big picture is. We have no idea all that God is doing in our lives and doing through us in other people’s lives. So the next time whether a small interruption like a leaky water heater or a bigger one like health issues with a family member – ask God to show you the bigger picture and to trust that He has all under control and everything is working out as it should be. And just don’t tolerate it – look for the opportunities that are coming out of the interruption and be in a mindset to be used by Him in the situation.
What are the interruptions in your life? What are the gifts in them?
Psalm 138:8 The LORD will perfect that which concerneth me: thy mercy, O LORD, endureth for ever: forsake not the works of thine own hands
August 30, 2010 at 8:54 pm
May GOD Bless you Rach!!! Mark
August 31, 2010 at 3:54 pm
Hi Mark – and you as well!
September 1, 2010 at 5:48 am
🙂 Embracing the redirection… I like that. Sometimes I’ve struggled against it, but it’s such a blessed peace to rest with my hand in His on the journey HE is taking me on.
There are times when I lack discernment on what is a distraction from the devil that I should fight against with faith and the Truth vs. what is a new door or window being opened by the Lord, but I think I am feeling His guiding hand more these days.
September 1, 2010 at 4:54 pm
Hi Ruth — it does take discernment to distinguish between the two. As we continue to draw near to God seeking Him in truth, His Spirit within us becomes more pronounced as we come more in line with His will. (Coming in line with His will is a result of seeking Him in truth). With His Spirit more prominent in us – it is easier to discern situations in our lives. I’m so glad you are sensing His guidance – what a blessing. 😉
September 1, 2010 at 10:41 am
‘Tis the gift to be simple. ‘Tis the gift to be free.’Tis the gift to come round where we ought to be.” “Simple Gifts” a Shaker hymn
You ae so right. Our interruptions are about getting us where we need to be in God. He does use them all.
September 1, 2010 at 4:48 pm
Hi Jelillie – those things are indeed gifts. Thanks for sharing!
September 2, 2010 at 10:18 pm
Insightful topic Rachel. It certainly is easy for me to become bogged down in what appears to be a lousy situation, while ignoring the Bible’s message of good blossoming from bad.
In summary, my good from bad lesson is related to my career. I applied and was accepted to a PhD program about 2:30 hours away–they were going to pay for everything and allow me to work for additonal expenses. Before school started, my youngest son was diagnosed with a condition that requires a lot of time and assistance. There was no way I could be in 2 places at once during a work week, so I gave school up.
It was frustrating intially, but seeing my young son grow and do things that we did not think would be possible, has been a blessing.
Keep up the good posting Rachel; I enjoy my stops here.
September 3, 2010 at 5:21 pm
Hi Slamdunk – your story is a good example of situations beyond our control and how God directs our paths in them. The more we realize that it is He who controls our path and steps and not us and that He perfects all that concerns us the more at peace we can be.
September 3, 2010 at 4:54 am
What a blessing this post is to me,and I plan on keeping this in my thoughts when distractions come this is so good!!! Have a wonderful day 😀 😀 I will share this for it is sure needed.
September 3, 2010 at 5:18 pm
Hi Pat – It’s always good to hear from you. Have a wonderful weekend!
September 7, 2010 at 4:00 am
Good article, Rachel. So awesome to realize that interruptions in a believer’s life are actually appointments with God. Everything happens for his purpose in our lives so when a distraction appears out of nowhere, expect to meet with your God in a way that he has planned and purposed just for you.
September 7, 2010 at 4:58 pm
Hi Marianne – nicely put!
September 22, 2015 at 9:53 pm
“So why do we get frustrated with situations outside our control?”
Reminded of this scripture:
“He who is slow to anger has great understanding, But he who is quick-tempered exalts folly. 30A tranquil heart is life to the body, But passion is rottenness to the bones”-Proverbs 14