It’s noon and I’m jumping in the car to go grab a spur-of-the-moment donut. Boston Crème. Every time. And I get a text message from a new friend.
I’m in the drive-thru when I hear her voice pop up in my head and on my phone and she wants to know what I’m doing for lunch tomorrow. She suggests sushi.
I do not like sushi.
Not even a little bit.
I don’t like to feel like my food may be making eye contact with me.
But I like my friend. She’s a new friend and getting to know her is one of my favorite things. I remember this when she texts me again, “All I want is your time. I want to talk about God and life and writing and success and failure and moving on and being strong.”
And there it is.
It was never about the sushi.
It was about the raw time. The biggest gift we can give each other.
Being willing to spend uninterrupted hours together. We need so much more than that. Because we’ll all starve on a diet of 140-character tweets and Facebook updates.
It’s about being able to sit across the table from each other and talk about what success and failure mean and how we survive both. It’s about being able to dig into our lives and sift through the ordinary in order to really connect beyond the default, “I’m fine.”
It’s about being willing to be interrupted.
If motherhood has taught me one thing it’s how much I dislike being interrupted. How selfish I am with my time. How much I want to hoard it. You think I’m kidding? My ideal Mother’s Day weekend would not involve my kids. It would involve me, a hotel room, a king size bed, Netflix on a loop, and lots of room service.
Motherhood has exploded my personal space, demanded my 24-7 attention and deprived me of sleep for a decade. And if I’m honest it’s made me resent interruptions. All I want most nights is for the kids to leave me alone once I’ve tucked them in so I can enjoy some “me” time.
It’s been like breaking up with myself — becoming a mother. Breaking up with all those parts of my uninterrupted, totally self-involved life that I 100% adored.
But thank God (literally) for interrupting me and saving me from myself. I so often think of Him now as the “God of interruptions.” You only have to look at a day in the life of Jesus to see the consistent, steady stream of interruptions that followed Him everywhere He went. His plans were constantly derailed and His time and space eaten up by the people around Him.
That was His whole plan. That was intentional.
He intentionally moved into our neighborhood and proceeded to make Himself utterly available to the people around Him.
I’m a slow learner.
I forget all the time that my relationships thrive on time and that it wasn’t even mine to begin with. God spoke days and nights and seconds and hours into being and then He gifted them to us. Along with the wonder of the people around us.
I don’t want to hoard my time. I don’t want to ration it in dribs and drabs to a very few. I want to be generous on spending time on the people in my life. I get that we won’t have time for everyone, every day. But we all know good and well who the specific few are that we’ve been entrusted with. Who the relationships are that need our presence.
So let’s spend our time on them. Generously. The more the better.
For both our sakes.Leave a Comment
Bev @ Walking Well With God says
Ahhh…the ongoing battle with the selfish “me” that demands so much each day. I can so relate to Motherhood snapping me out of my selfish, self-absorbed world. I remember thinking, “Who is this little person who demands so much of me…all the time?” I shudder to think about the person I would be had I not learned the art of sacrificing my needs so that another’s would be met. Now that my children are grown, I need to guard against being too quick to say, “I can’t meet because I’m too busy.” Too busy for what? Interaction? Give and Take? Listening? Being there? Being Jesus to someone else? Lord, let me not hoard my time – the time and space that YOU breathed into me. Let me use it for YOUR glory!! Thanks Lisa-Jo for a wonderful reminder to get off the “me” train!
Lisa-Jo Baker says
Getting off the “me train” 🙂 Yes, amen, and sign me up for that too!
Joanna @ Modern Ruth Project says
Thank you for sharing! I don’t have kids, but as an introvert, I know all too well the desire to not have interruptions – in my day, in my schedule, in my life. I see someone crying and the thought flashes through my mind that I should stop and ask if they need prayer – but I walk on. I read a friend’s FB post and I think about asking her out for coffee – but I turn on Netflix instead. It’s just too easy to stay in our own bubble and not reach out. But I agree – Jesus made Himself fully available to his community and I need to do so as well!
Lisa-Jo Baker says
Hey there Joanna,
I so get this. It’s not kid-specific kind of selfishness that we all battle, that’s for sure. The lure of comfort over conversation and our own space over being interrupted is always, always hard not to give in to. As my kids get older and can function more on their own I have to remind myself all over again not to retreat into my secluded, “me-focused” world and keep doing the work of making myself available. The lure of Netflix is strong! 🙂
Abby from Belgium says
I can only utter: WOW ! And THANK YOU !!!!!! Many blessings from a Belgian reader, Christian and mom of 2 🙂
Abby from Belgium xxx
Lisa-Jo Baker says
Thanks for being with us today, Abby from Belgium! Eat some chocolate on behalf of all of us! 🙂
Learning that change is the only constant in our lives is difficult! Change in routine seems like a small thing until it smacks you in the face with a tiny hand and sweet little face who depends on you for everything.
God of Interruptions….totally! I also call those interruptions trying to get your attention for a reason. Perhaps to teach us something or for us to teach someone else. And, although my son has graduated from college and recently started a God send job, I find myself with mothering opportunities which gives me great joy! Time the greatest gift we can give. Remember that with the Holidays!!
Kelli mcknight says
Love this! I think it’s why leaving enough margin in our life is so important, so that we can view interruptions as opportunities not inconveniences.
Michele Morin says
What an amazing anthem to a cross-centered life! I, too, struggle with the need to control (as in CONTROL!!!) my time, and it’s so easy to get bent out of shape about the interruptions that throw my train of thought off the tracks. And yet, I so want my kids to remember that I made eye-contact with them when they spoke. I want them to grow up knowing that they are important and their thoughts matter to me. Thank you for sharing your own struggles over the clock.
Corena Hall says
Time and being present are the most precious gifts you can give your neighbor. We choose privacy as our excuse to cover up hoarding ourselves. But God made us to be in community and family. When Jesus walked this earth He gave us Himself quite literally. He showed us that family in Him has no boundaries that we have placed. Can we be His true followers and imitate the One who embodies love? I humbly ask for that gift. Amen!
Children grow up so fast…one day you will look back and think,”where did all the years go,” trust me I know. And you are so right when you say the greatest gift we can give is our time!!
Oh yes, this one hit home perfectly. Sounds like your nights are very much like mine. ME time is what I crave most ~ selfish? Need to chill? Want quiet time? Need to refuel my exhausted body after the day with 3yr. olds at my preschool? Whatever it may be I seem to find a reason/excuse.
In reality, I also need to find time to be with others who can chill with me. Who can relate to my day and laugh from my experiences. Who can fuel me with energy from their spirit and smile.
I know that you meant no harm by this, but as a childless woman not by choice, it does bother me a bit when the implication is made by mothers that their lives before children were completely selfish and self-absorbed. What I read when I read that is that because I am childless, others few me that way. Again, I understand that it isn’t intentional and that motherhood demands something different of women than is demanded of those with no children, but I do think it is something to keep in mind when writing a devotion. Not all women are mothers.
Lisa-Jo Baker says
Hey there Leslie, thanks for taking the time to share something tender. I so hear you. I do. And maybe I could have put it better, but my heart was simply to point out that God doesn’t leave us the way we are – He’s in the business of changing us and molding us more and more into His image. In my life that’s been through kids. But that’s certainly not the only way He’s at work. I think for all of us He’ll use whatever’s available to keep molding us – friends, work, communities, marriage. So of course I realize that children aren’t the key to His ability to work in and through our lives. That He is at work in all of us in a myriad different ways to mold us into His image. And next time I write I’ll have you in mind as try to make that point – that He’ll use whatever’s available to Him to change us, whether we are parents or not.
Going to eat sushi today with a friend! It is SO not going to be about the sushi! 🙂
Lisa-Jo Baker says
That makes me smile big 🙂
Courtney Stanford says
Thank you for sharing your heart with us, Lisa. I am so encouraged by these words. Motherhood has also taught me that I like “me” time. I truly had no idea how much I valued the quiet. I’m known for being social and extroverted, yet motherhood has called my most introverted side to attention. Most nights, I simply want them to stay in bed so I can catch up on rest, a good book, a show on Netflix, and time with my husband. I’ve been rather surprised by motherhood myself! I truly appreciate this eloquent reminder to be generous and gracious with my time. I don’t want to hoard it to myself. I want to give it away for the sake of friendship, meaningful relationships, and the glory of God. Thank you, thank you for these words!
Katie M says
Love, love, love this. What a great reminder. Thanks Lisa-Jo!
I so identify with everything you said. Your description of your “perfect” Mother’s Day sounds just like something I would like. I too have struggled to make time with friends. Thank you for reminding me to follow Jesus’ example. My parents are getting older. They live 4 hours away. I have to intentionally make an appointment to call them at least once a week and see them once every couple of months. I know that this is important and I want to honor God by honoring them. I needed this. Thanks again!
Thanks for the reminder that life is about relationships! How else can we draw people to Christ? Selflessness is such a challenge for most of us, myself included. I love “me time”! Great example of Jesus and how no interruption disturbed him…instead, they were divine appointments…(literally!) Enjoyed the post!
In my 20s, before we had kids, my husband and I invited others to share our home with us. It was the first time I was confronted–blatantly–with just how selfish I was about my time, my space, my preferences. Seriously. I was astounded! It’s one thing to have a spouse to gripe at silently while you continue to think that you’re right and your spouse is wrong (or maybe I’m the only one who does that…) but it’s another thing to have an extra person or people in your own space who by their very presence make you aware of your own selfishness.
I had no idea children would do this to the nth degree for me. All the selfishness came out. All the gripes came out. I always assumed moms were just normal, happy people, and then at 30, with a newborn, I realized, HOLY MOLY, these women are superheroes!
I’m only four years in, but as a mom, I’ve come to realize how important it is for me that my daughters see me making time for other people, meaning people outside our home. And you are spot on when you point out that our time was never ours to begin with.
Just when I was feeling a little gripey about how tired I was this afternoon.
Always a good reminder.
Lisa-Jo Baker says
EXACTLY my story too 🙂
Crystal Storms says
You are stepping on my toes today, Lisa. Thank you for the reminder it’s not my time to begin with — perspective shifter. : )
Rebecca L Jones says
I think we all need people to talk to not just in texts or tweets. I hope we all don’t forget how to talk, and when’s the last time we wrote a lettter? We all need ” me time ” everyday, but ” us time”, is a must as well. Who knows? maybe you’re friend will even exchange sushi for a donut.
Debi G says
This is one of the most applicable articles to me. I have been just staying home, not inviting people over, praying for a/some friends, without making the effort to befriend someone. I’ve been having problems with my relationship with my ex-husband, which is platonic. We live together, because I’ve been ill, & he’s kind enough to take me in & look after me. But, I’ve used him as an excuse to not pursue friendships. Just today, I realized what I was doing. And, it’s not only not right in my eyes, but is being disobedient to God. He tells us in many places in His Word, that we should fellowship with other believers, so we can learn, encourage & also, have fun. I don’t want to live a lonely life anymore Starting today, with God’s help, I’m going to make some positive changes in my life..
I’m grieving a friendship with someone who hoards their time. We’ve set dates and the last two times she cancelled the day before to bring her dog to the groomer and then to go to the chiropractor. I stopped initiating and now I haven’t heard from her. Maybe she’s just not that into me? 😉
Anyway, being on the receiving end of a relationship like that is very painful, whether it’s a mom and a kid, or a girlfriend who pulls away without any real explanation.
Time is the greatest gift we can give each other.
Nicole Keller says
Bingo! Thank you for this post. Time, or the management of it, has been a long standing rival of mine. My desire to fit every possible thing inside every available minute has begun to catch up with me. I feel more often than not, exhausted after a day of racing against the clock. Whether it be: getting to work, dropping off/picking up my kid, squeezing in that trip to the bank, the store, the post office and the list goes on. Time makes me tired. Ha! So when I get that hour to myself…ok…5 minutes in the bathroom, (am I right?) I am so selfish with it. I’d really love to put more energy into my relationships than my watch. I desperately want to lose track of my schedule-obsessed existence, (atleast every once in awhile). Anyway, this post just reminded me that it’s worth it. So thanks. Afterall, our time is a precious gift from our Creator. It shouldn’t be viewed as a burden or a restraint, but an opportunity to enjoy the life He’s given us, as well is His presence.
Beth Williams says
A few years ago God sent me a big interruption. My aging dad moved into assisted living and had multiple medical issues. it got so bad I quit my job last June (2015). Talk about an interruption!! He has gone through hospice, more medical, dementia issues, etc. [He is healed of most of that now]. Now I spend my God given time visiting him in a new assisted living. Each week I go about 4-5 days and spend around 3 or so hours. I make sure he is comfy, has needed supplies, and take him out for walks and drives, if he feels like it. Today (9/9) we walked my dad over to Waffle House for lunch to celebrate his upcoming 91st birthday tomorrow. My in-laws are now having health issues, so I tend to them also. I love taking my mother-in-law to the doctor & making sure all is well.
I also meet once a month with some ex-co-workers. We talk about our lives, family. We pray for each other. It is good to see them and find out what’s new in their lives. I feel blessed to have this time & opportunity to help others.
Just thought of a great song: Jason Gray’s Good to be Alive. Chorus: I wanna live like there’s no tomorrow. Love like I’m on borrowed time. It’s good to be alive, yeah – Kind of a way to thank God for what He’s given us!
Thanks for the reminder to make time for others, that relationships matter most, and that we can never live an uninterrupted life if we desire to grow in community, no matter how much we desire it. Today I read the short history of a hermit in Egypt and how for 20 years he had no contact with humans and people threw his food over a wall to ensure no contact or expose to the physical world. He was supposed to be growing spiritually in wisdom, but how could he really grow without exposure to others. How could he learn to be less selfish, to be patient, to suffer long, to show forgiveness and grace, or not to lose his anger when he wasn’t ever butting heads with another human? No, I think a mother, a mate, a child, a teacher, a business person, a daycare employee, and people in interaction with others would grow more in the fruits of the holy spirit and love and kindness than a hermit living alone in a cave having to deal only with himself and the weather. Like you said, Christ lived among others and welcomed their interruptions.
Hi Lisa-Jo, I’ve been reading your pieces for a while now, love your emotional, rhythmic style, you often strike me right in my heart.
As I read this article today, one that strikes a chord (especially with an introvert who loooooooooves silence, and accepts this!) — I kept thinking about God’s word, Keep Holy the Sabbath. Time is a generous gift from God.
Mark 2:27-28: Then he said to them, “The sabbath was made for man, not man for the sabbath. That is why the Son of Man is lord even of the sabbath.”
There is a very stirring piece on the Sabbath and our wrestle with time, needing His refuge in Time With Him. Many ideas are drawn from a Rabbi, who says the Sabbath breaks through this repetition of the daily grind, so we may taste peace and eternity.
You may enjoy:
God love you and bless you always.