To-do lists, self-reminders on the phone and on Outlook calendar, sticky notes on my work area and even on the fridge at home. I’m one of those people who just can’t help but have all these. I’m not going to rest until I complete all the tasks listed. But I am that type of person who is not exactly fond of multitasking and would do it only if needed. I would like to focus on one thing at a time, and when I do, I tend to be really engrossed with it.
So, when I am in the middle of something and an interruption suddenly occurs, God knows what’s going to happen next.
I Get Irritated (‘Beast mode’ alert!)
This is almost always the initial feeling—irritation. Because I love being laser-focused on each task that I do as much as possible, it kind of breaks my momentum when a person, for example, would suddenly approach me for something.
It could be my mother asking me to do some household chore, it could be a customer walking in to the office (especially if he/she doesn’t have an appointment), it could be a phone call from a customer, an e-mail from a co-worker, or even just a simple ‘beep’ in the elevator signaling that someone is about to come out of it. Anything that could take my attention away from what I am currently doing or what I am currently thinking of could cause me some irritation.
I Take A Deep Breath
It was just recently when I learned that taking a deep breath really helps most of the time. Whether it be before you begin to do something or you are releasing some negativity that is trying to creep in, or when you would like to take a short pause to clear your mind. For me, it works. Matagal ko nang naririnig ‘to pero ewan ko ba kung bakit lately ko lang inapply.
I Utter A Short Prayer
Closing my eyes for just a couple of seconds and remembering that Jesus is beside me makes me remember to do things the way He wants me to.
At this point, I would be reminded to not lash out on the person who is unintentionally interrupting me.
There are still times when I can barely hide my irritation when I talk to my co-worker who is approaching me for some work-related things or even for just a short, casual exchange of pleasantries; to a customer who is coming to the office, asking for help with any Customer Service needs or general information about our service; or to my mother who is either asking me to do something for her or is just telling me about how her day went.
But whenever I remember to call on Jesus, He never fails to lend me a helping hand to deal with the situation accordingly.
I Choose To Be Present At The Moment
Instead of allowing myself to drown in frustration due to the interruption even if it is absolutely not a big deal and is just a normal thing to happen, when I choose to listen to Jesus, I would be reminded to have my presence of mind.
Giving my undivided attention to the situation at hand, I am enabled to listen to the person without necessarily judging him/her. By doing this, I could assess the concern and figure out what the need is. Only then I would be able to know what needs to be done.
Doing all these is not easy. It is still a challenge for me every time. But with Jesus, it could be done successfully.
“Welcome, Jesus! Welcome!”
It has always been a challenge for me to not get frustrated when I get interrupted. And I am currently being trained to handle this the way Jesus wants me to.
I have attended quite a few retreats and conferences with the Carmelite Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus in Alhambra, California. And in more than one of these retreats, the Sister who is the speaker had shared that whenever the Sisters experience interruption (even during their prayer time or any activity that they do), they would always say, “Welcome, Jesus! Welcome!”. This is to acknowledge Jesus’ presence even in unexpected situations, and to accommodate what He is asking for them to do right at that moment.
Similar to this is what the Franciscan Sisters of Mary Immaculate are practicing. Spontaneity while still being organized. When I started with my Discernment process with them in June of this year, I have learned that even though the Sisters always have their schedule and lineup of activities and commitments, they are still very much open to adjustments and modifications to their plans and would respond accordingly to whatever need would arise.
And this afternoon, just before I wrote this blog post, I was reading some devotionals from the Daily Hope App by Rick Warren. Let me give you a summary of what I have read and learned:
- Be willing to be interrupted. If we truly want to serve, we should be willing to adjust our schedules, not to be anxious even if we still have some tasks left on our to-do list, and to be interrupted when someone along the way needs our help.
“Love is often inconvenient, and serving others takes time.”rick warren
- Tutal, na-interrupt na rin naman tayo, might as well seize the opportunity to serve. Just like in the parable of the Good Samaritan, the Good Samaritan did what he could with what he had at that particular moment. No pretense, no badmouthing, no boasting, no complaining.
“God will be with you as you seize the moment.”rick warren
- Respond with love and kindness. This is what hurting people need. They could be hurt not only physically but sometimes, emotionally, spiritually, or even financially.
- And as we respond accordingly to the interruption by caring for the needs of other people, trust God to care for you, your well-being, your own needs, even your deadlines and requirements. God knows that when we care for the needs of others, it is almost inevitable to do some sacrifice (your time, energy, resources, privacy, comfort). So, let’s entrust all these and all of our needs to Him. He will surely provide as He promised.
To be honest, sa palagay ko, kaya ako naiinis kapag naiinterrupt ako sa mga ginagawa ko, hindi naman talaga dahil lang sa nasisira yung concentration ko o nawawala yung momentum ko. But maybe because at the back of my head, I’m probably worried that I might not be able to accomplish what I need to do in time, or that I might fall short or lose what I would need to complete whatever task is at hand.
And in these times, Jesus has always been faithful to remind me to not worry about not having enough (time, ideas, resources, etc.), He got me covered. 😊
(Photos Courtesy of Unsplash)