Life is Full of Interruptions, What is the Best Way to Handle Them?

By Being Clear on What Your Priorities Are and Being Prepared

An interruption is the act of causing a break in the continuity or uniformity of an activity by saying or doing something.

Growing up, I remember watching TV or listening to the radio and hearing the phrase “We interrupt this program”. This was a common phrase used to indicate an emergency broadcast or a breaking news event.

The phrase was first used in the United States in the 1960’s as part of the Emergency Broadcast System (EBS), which was established to provide an expeditious method of communicating with the American public in the event of war, threat of war, or a national crisis.

For me personally these announcements never caused me to worry. Sure, I would stop and pay attention, but it was more about listening to the information rather than panic. I remember when the attacks happened on 9/11 and people went to gas stations to fill up any kind of container they could.

If the world was coming to an end…a gallon of gas in a milk jug wasn’t a very good plan.

As Jesus’ followers began to spread the good news, the religious leaders would interrupt them trying to stop them. The followers didn’t stop. The more the followers shared, the more the religious leaders interrupted. These leaders liked the way things had been and didn’t want anything to change.

Then Saul was interrupted and struck blind with a flash of light.

We need to be careful not to get stuck in our ways or we might get smacked upside the head with a board. We need to be clear about who we are and Whose we are.

Philip was preaching in Samaria telling the people about Jesus and the people were eager for more teaching and to witness more miracles. Many people with evil spirits were healed, and the spirits went out of them. Several paralyzed and lame people were also healed. Everyone in that city was glad because of what was happening. (Act 8:4-8)

Sounds like things were going well for Philip and what he was doing. It would have been easy to stay there and continue.

But Philip was interrupted.

Philip was told by God’s angel to go into the desert on the road that goes from Jerusalem to Gaza…and he went.

There Philip saw an Ethiopian official riding in a chariot. The Spirit told Philip to catch up to the chariot…so he did.

The Ethiopian was heading home after he had been worshipping in Jerusalem and Philip heard him reading from the book of Isaiah. Philip asked him if he understood what he was reading. (Acts 8:26-30)

The Ethiopian said, “Not unless someone helps me.” Philip helped him understand and the Ethiopian asked to be baptized. They stopped the chariot at some water and when they came up out of the water after the baptism, the Lord’s Spirit took Philip away. (Acts 8:31-40)

Talk about an interruption!

Too often we get stuck in a routine activity. Doing that same thing we’ve always done, the way we’ve always done it. It may even be a good thing like what Philip was doing in Samaria. We just need to be open to God’s interruptions and be willing to act on them.

We’ve all had those things that tug on us to do something that isn’t a part of our plan or that we aren’t comfortable doing. Often, these are God’s way of interrupting us.

It’s His way of letting us know His plans.

We just need to embrace the interruption…and do it.

Worrying About Things Can Really Suck the Energy Out of You

The More You Know Before You Need to Know it, the Better Equipped You’ll Be

Disaster movies are popular and generally do well at the box office. Who doesn’t like a story where everything is crashing down and the underdog hero steps up and saves the world, even though they didn’t think they could.

This reminds me of a quote I heard recently from Capt. Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger. He is the pilot who made the heroic landing of the of US Airway’s Flight 1549 in the Hudson River after being struck by a flock of birds shortly after take-off from New York.

Sully said, “We all have heard about ordinary people who find themselves in extraordinary situations. They act courageously or responsibly, and their efforts are described as if they opted to act that way on the spur of the moment… I believe many people in those situations actually have made decisions years before.”

Learning and implementing little things into our lives daily is the best way to be prepared for whatever life throws our way.

We all know how life can throw us curve balls when we least expect them.

Jesus tells us this very thing in Luke 21:19-15. He tells us to expect wars and rebellions. Nations fighting, earthquakes, wide-scale food shortages and epidemics. He prepares us as followers of His, telling us we will be sought out and persecuted.

The more we read His word and learn from the Scriptures, the better prepared we’ll be.

Yemen is a country where Christianity is oppressed and discouraged. There is a man there who converted to Christianity. For years he kept his beliefs a secret from his friends and family, knowing that he would be in danger if he was found out.

Then he decided that if the Scripture he was reading was true…then Jesus had his back. He went on to share his faith with his family and now he is ministering to people in Yemen.

Worrying wasn’t going to do anyone any good. He gave the worrying to God.

The Cambridge Dictionary says, “worry is thinking about problems or unpleasant things that might happen in a way that makes you feel unhappy and frightened.”

Things that might happen is the problem. According to several studies somewhere around 85% to 95% of the things we worry about, actually don’t happen. That is a lot of wasted energy.

There are a variety of different studies and statistics that support this. One thing is for sure…we spend way too much time worrying about things that are out of our control.

In Andy Andrew’s book The Noticer, Jones, talks about the futility of worry and discusses the percentages of time being wasted. Jones says to focus on the 8 percent.

  • 40% of the things we worry about will never occur
  • 30% of the time, we worry about things that have already happened
  • 12% of our worry is about needless imaginings about our health
  • 10% would be petty-little-nothing worries about what people think
  • 8% are legitimate concerns

In Matthew 6:34, we read, “Therefore, stop worrying about tomorrow, because tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” This sounds like good advice.

Stop letting worry suck your energy and instead put your focus on Jesus and what God tells us in Scripture. This will equip you to be a hero.

How Can We Be Prepared for Unexpected Situations?

We Can’t Know Everything That’s Going to Happen, But We Can Still Be Prepared

Getting ready for things that we weren’t expecting or wanting can be hard.

Like a kid that’s told to get ready. What they hear when they’re told, “We’ll be leaving in five minutes.” is… Get undressed, start a finger painting and lose at least one shoe.

It’s reasonable that young kids don’t fully understand the concept of getting ready. It’s less tolerable when we’re adults.  

In Luke 12:32-40 Jesus is trying to prepare His disciples for their mission going forward after His death. He’s trying to help them see the bigger picture.

He tells them to get ready for eternity and not get sidetracked with things of this world. He tells them to be ready like a servant waiting for his master to come home. We don’t know when our lives will end, so we need to get ready now, so that we will be ready when the time comes.

Being prepared is making a decision and taking action before you need to. If you wait until it’s time…it’s too late.

Being prepared requires work. It’s not something that just happens. This is why a lot of people don’t want to be prepared for things. It requires study and training to get prepared for anything.

If it’s worth doing, it’s worth the effort.

We can’t just show up and expect to perform at our best.

Preparation is the difference between success and failure. People who are good at what they do, don’t perform at that level without putting in time and energy to get that way. Preparation is an advantage.

Being prepared requires willingness to put others ahead of ourselves.

At Texas A&M they have a tradition of the 12th Man. This dates back to 1922 when the Aggies were facing a top-ranked team in a football game.

An Aggie by the name of E. King Gill, a squad player for Texas A&M’s football team, was up in the press box helping reporters identify players on the field below — and what was happening on the field wasn’t pretty.

The Aggies found themselves plagued by injuries, with their reserves seemingly dwindling with every play. As Texas A&M Coach Dana X. Bible looked across his rapidly emptying bench, he suddenly remembered Gill’s presence in the stands. Bible waved Gill down to the sideline and told him to suit up. Gill ran under the bleachers and put on the uniform of injured running back Heine Weir, who had been knocked out of the game in the first quarter.

Gill returned to the sideline, where he stood ready to play for the entirety of the game. When the last play was run, the Aggies found that they had pulled off one of the greatest upsets in college football history, winning the game 22-14.

And Gill remained standing, the only player left on the team’s bench.

Gill’s willingness to serve his team in 1922 has passed down from generation to generation of Aggies for nearly one hundred years, as Texas A&M’s student section stands together during entire football and basketball games, a symbol of the 12th Man on the team.

The power of the 12th Man is echoed in the unity, the loyalty, and the willingness of Aggies to serve when called to do so.

And it is the reason that Texas A&M has earned a name that embraces Gill’s simple gesture of service: Home of the 12th Man.

Preparation is a choice. It requires willingness, sacrifice, learning and training. Are you prepared?