The wooden seat was still cold, and I hadn’t even had a chance to lean back on the rungs before someone needed something else. Hurriedly, I raced about tending to the next call. When Once I finished it, I found a seat again, but this time I hadn’t even felt the full weight of my torso on my bum before another crisis arose. Up again, and off to the races. A thousand times, I tried to sit yesterday, but each time I had little more than a pair of minutes together before there was some other thing that needed to be taken care of. The constant interruptions kept me from completing almost any of the items on my To-Do List. Sure, I got other things done, and they were all important, but constant interruptions can make you feel frustrated and unproductive.
I read a tweet the other day explaining that creatives and artists need large time blocks to think, do, and create. Actual blocks of time to allow themselves to feel, experience, and become attuned to their creativity. I used to think that this line of argument was an excuse just to sit around. Ahhh, youthful arrogance. I know better now. It’s actually pretty hard to think when life is swirling about you like a Wizard Of Oz tornado, uprooting your home and all of the things dear to you. You need time for quiet, peaceful reflection to be able to think beyond whatever the next thing on your list is.
My youngest and I had a conversation about just that. She is a talented artist but had fallen behind on a project.
“It’s so hard to come up with ideas with all this stuff going on!” She confided.
“I understand,” I said. “That’s why I like camping so much. There are no distractions. It renews my soul. There’s no phones, internet, outside people – it gives my brain a break.”
That got me thinking about what else we miss out on when we get distracted, interrupted, or inundated with life. Do we also have missed calls? Is there a word God has for us that keeps going to voicemail? Is our ringer off, or can we simply not hear it over our noisy lives? Ironically, we often have our phones veritably attached to our person so that we never miss a physical phone call or message, but we end up missing God’s call in the process.
Everything But The Bag
It was spirit week at the kids’ high school, and Monday was Everything But The Bag day. Kids came with a wild assortment of book-carrying equipment – except backpacks. I saw one girl walking with her books in a cooking pot, another boy with a trolley, another with a roller suitcase. I’ve seen photos of fan covers, cat carriers, and laundry hampers. So what does this have to do with missed calls, creativity, and interruptions? I’m not exactly sure, but it seems that all the interruptions in my life keep me from God’s calling because I’m busy carrying everything but the bag.
Distractions cause stress, and stress can impair cognitive function, as can a lack of financial resources, so much so that poverty can lower your IQ by about 13 points! That’s equivalent to functioning on an entire lost night of sleep. So, if stress and financial problems can negatively impact your ability to think straight, can you imagine what interruptions add to the equation?!
NO WONDER WE ARE MISSING OUR CALLINGS!
So what do we do about it? We can’t remove all distractions and stressors from our lives, but we can limit them. For example – if I had begun my post at a different time – or silenced notifications while I was crafting it – I probably would not have had to deal with 11 incoming texts as I wrote this post. Nor would I have had to get up and leave the house to run an errand mid-way as a result of one of those texts. If I had walked the dog before starting, I probably would not have been interrupted twice to let him out. If I had placed the next thing on my list out of eye-line, I probably would not have kept looking at it and thinking about what to do about it as I wrote this. But most importantly, we need to value the time we need to pursue the callings on our lives. We need to carve out blocks of time and limit distractions so that we can tap into our creativity to use the gifts God has given us to answer those calls.
Romans 11:29 “For the gifts and calling of God are without repentance.” In other words, that means that God won’t change His mind about what He has called you to do, nor will He take back the gift He has already given. Therefore, it’s up to us to answer that call and use those gifts because they are permanently ours.
2 Tim. 1:6 “Wherefore I put thee in remembrance that thou stir up the gift of God, which is in thee by the putting on of my hands.” Now is the time to “stir up” that gift God gave you.
Let’s thrive together! I’d love to hear what you are doing with your gifts and calling 🙂