The other week I totally bombed the sermon at my church.
I had prepared like crazy: but we just moved buildings today, so we had no sound system, the AC broke, the noise outside was horrible, and my thoughts weren’t gelling together.
I knew that mostly everyone was checking out (except a wonderful group of ladies who sit up front and always take notes). It was so discouraging. The environment was affecting me pretty badly too, and the sermon just failed to find a rhythm. So when the whole thing became unbearable, I cut the sermon short by ending with a metaphor and a story. For a second everyone listened, and they seemed grateful I had enough sense to end early. At the very least I was able to land the plane.
I discovered I get easily irritated when “my plans” get foiled by an unexpected turn of events. And really, most of our well-laid plans will get interrupted by inconveniences. Nothing unfolds the way we picture it in our head. There’s no ideal room or perfectly isolated space where perfect magic can happen.
It’s during these escalated frustrating times that we need to think on our feet and be flexible enough to serve the reality of the room. That meant that I had to pay more attention to the people around me instead of just mindlessly marching with my agenda. It meant I wouldn’t get to unroll everything I had prepared; it meant all my careful research and prayer and prep was getting shafted; it meant that I couldn’t function at my best. I could only make the best out of a bad situation.
But that’s okay. I think these moments are necessary to humble us towards the needs of others, to be sensitive to what’s happening. I don’t think we need to get everything right in a day. I think I needed to learn how to serve others in an icky, sweaty, gritty sort of setting, because life is not like the movies where the temperature is always perfect and our speech is so impeccable and the day wraps up with a pretty bowtie. Life is awkward and amusing and raw, and it’s okay to laugh about that. We can meet each other there. And of course, there’s always next week.
4 thoughts on “Life Is Interruption.”
Learned the truth of this years ago. I was leading a group in my church (we all were studying the same thing at the same time) when one night, a member of my group started spilling her guts. She was going through a VERY tough time in her life. We never got to the lesson I had prepared; we spent that hour listening to her & ministering to her.
You know what? That became the most memorable lesson for my group. In fact, we still talk about that & remember it.
We have our plans, & God has his. No matter how much we plan, we can never plan better than following His plan, even when we don’t-or can’t-plan for it.
It’s awesome you had the sensitivity and grace to pause for her and to serve her needs. I wouldn’t expect anything different from you, brother Jerry!
Great post, J. S.! In February I purchased a collar and a leash and hung them on my wall (we don’t have a dog) as a reminder that although I can cling tightly to the leash and believe that I’m in control, there is nothing in the collar. I have control of very little.
Since then, that defines life here! I’m not sure whether the collar was a ‘heads up’ from the Lord…or I cursed myself. Augh! All of my carefully laid plans have been totally interrupted..This detour was completely unexpected.
Learning to roll with it, to live moment by moment, is my current lesson. I’ve discovered that when I finally set aside my all-important plans and follow God throughout the day that comes with a huge measure of grace and peace!
The beauty of it is that our six house guests (for two months now), get to observe “life with God’ instead of religion in action. Their lives are changing as they develop an intimate relationship with the Lord by being shown a better way (My orders from the Lord were to love…and not ‘fix’ anyone).. That is so cool!
Glad to know that I’m not alone in being interrupted…misery loves company and all that! Thanks for sharing. 🙂
I commend you for the six house guests! It’s always tough to open up a home for others and to include them in your daily rhythms.
I actually do own a dog, so I totally get the leash and collar analogy. Reminds me of that old C.S. Lewis quote about the dog and the bath. 🙂