I have been reading through Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s book Life Together and this morning I read the chapter titled Service. God convicted me while reading this last chapter and I would like to share how God continues to shape me in daily life.
This past semester academically was the most challenging one yet. Almost all the free time that I had went towards completing homework assignments, papers, and studying for tests. My life was extremely disciplined. Most days during the week I would wake up at 5am, shower, and read my Bible to start the day. By 6:15 most mornings I was at Olivet’s Student Life and Recreation Center doing homework because the library didn’t open until 7:30. I would work on homework until my first class. After classes were finished my time was either filled by work, my ministry as a resident assistant, my commitments to Associated Student Council (ASC), volunteering at church, working out, or more homework. My day would usually end around 10:30 or 11 in which I would just go right to bed and repeat this whole crazy schedule. Even weekends could be this busy with all my time going to schoolwork. The point is, my life had a disciplined structure and if I didn’t keep to that structure something in my life would give and it would most likely be my grades. I lived my life like this from late January to early May.
The transition into summer was awkward. Suddenly I am not balancing a lot of commitments on top of 18 hours of classes. I have had a lot of free time which has allowed me to reflect. Although I didn’t realize it at the time as much as I do now, that busy schedule affected me spiritually. There are a few ways in which it did, but there is one specific way that I think is vital to the life of a Christian. In my life, there was no room for an interruption.
When writing about Christian service Bonhoeffer wrote, “We must be ready to allow ourselves to be interrupted by God, who will thwart our plans and frustrate our way time and again, even daily, by sending people across our path with their demands and requests.” (76)
Interruptions are thematic across Scripture. Abraham was interrupted when God called him to move out of Mesopotamia. Moses was interrupted at the burning bush. Samuel was interrupted when God called him during the night. David was interrupted when he was anointed king of Israel. Josiah was interrupted when he rediscovered the books of the law. Nehemiah was interrupted when he felt the call to go back to Jerusalem. Joseph and Mary were interrupted when God told them they would raise the Messiah. All twelve apostles were interrupted when Jesus called them. Paul was interrupted when he was blinded on the road to Damascus. Interruptions are all over scripture. When God speaks, it interrupts our daily lives and as busy and sometimes overly busy Americans it is important that we are aware of this.
During this past semester with my busy schedule there were no room for interruptions. Had I encountered an interruption I would have had to say no to it and stick to my schedule. In fact I was so busy that I wasn’t able to listen to if God had anything to say. This mindset carried over into the first few days of summer, but now that life is slower I was able to slow down and realize that there is room for interruptions.
Interruptions are not the end goal. The end goal is being in communication with a God that loves to speak to his people, but too often we are so busy that we cannot and do not want to listen. How sad is that? When we become too busy to allow interruptions, we shut out the voice of God. Yes, we shut out the voice of God. Now let me be clear, God can still speak through business, but we communicate an attitude of apathy when we fill our time with so much crap that doesn’t eternally matter that we would rather God not interrupt us. Brothers and Sisters in Christ, allow God and others to interrupt your daily lives. Allow yourselves the time to bless others and not live for yourself. I have been so guilty of this.
Lord, let me never be so busy that I do not have time for you to speak into my life.