Tuesday, November 20, 2012

We Interrupt to Bring You This Important Message

by Rachael Phillips

You’ve never been interrupted in the middle of a writing session, have you?

You’ve never experienced a spouse’s announcement of the dire lack of his favorite toothpaste. The outbreak of head lice or equally pestilent math homework in your daughter’s class. The phone call from a distant relative—only, not distant enough—who imprisons you for an hour with pleadings for a) money b) sympathy c) more money d) more sympathy and e) all of the above.


If you haven’t been interrupted, may I move in with you? I’m dying to see what it’s like.

I bet I will—die, not move in with you—before I experience a writing session or project without some sort of disruption. 

Still, why should this surprise me? After all, people interrupted Jesus’ work, whining at His elbow, yanking on His robe, tearing off roofs (at least, my grandchildren haven’t tried that yet). 

I certainly do not rate above the Master Author, who has written His love on the lives of so many and has imprinted His love on our hearts.

Yes, we can and should eliminate as many secondary distractions as we can in order to follow the calling God has given us. We may have to sacrifice membership in the Lacrosse Preservation League or the Church Carpet Committee. We may even have to say “no” to excellent causes and defy our personal Guiltzilla, who stalks us every time we don’t sign our names on someone else’s dotted line. Occasionally, changes in our phone numbers, Facebook screenings or front door locks are absolutely necessary. Our mates may even have to [*gasp*] buy their favorite toothpaste without our assistance.

Sometimes, though, opportunities appear, disguised as interruptions. 

A child who is struggling in school—and the fact his mother lives a thousand miles away.

An aged parent who slogs our brains and patience with endlessly repeated stories well past their expiration date. 

Fun friends who contract awful diseases.


Opportunities offered by God to stretch, to share and help absorb the pain—and to feed it in a redeemed form into our writing.

So we can interrupt others’ lives with the enriched messages He has given us. 

What about you? What “interruption” has God sent you lately?


  1. Very good, Rachael. Can I borrow "Guiltzilla"? I like that one!

    Actually, currently it's not that my writing is getting interrupted; it's that my writing is interrupting everything else, currently unsuccessfully for the most part. I'm at the typical inventory time wondering 1) am I really called to write fiction, or am I just wasting time? and 2) If I'm to write, should I write the story I completely but haven't completely edited and might end up revising drastically, or should I write the story that interests me more?

    Two more comments. First, my second point reminds me of a sign I saw at a former place of employment: "Do you want me to rush the rush job I'm rushing now, or do you want me to rush the rush job you want me to rush before I rush the rush job I'm rushing now, or should I rush the rush job I was rushing before rushing the rush job I'm rushing now?"

    Your title reminded me of a '81 SNL skit by one year cast member Tony Rosato on the news segment. He started off calmly saying that they were testing the emergency broadcasting system for the next thirty seconds it will sound like an emergency. He then started yelling about all sorts of terrible things for half a minute before sitting up and calmly saying "This has been a test of the emergency broadcasting system."

    1. Yes, Jeff, we all fight our personal Guiltzillas, don't we? (Yes, you can use it :-) Whether published or not, we often wonder if we're pouring all this blood, sweat, and tears out for nothing. How glad I am our Father takes even our mistakes and turns them into something positive. As for wasting time, even Jesus stopped healing critical people in order to tell His stories....

  2. I sure hear you about interruptions! Our major one this week was our dog's ordeal, surgery on internal injuries after getting kicked by one of the horses or cows. I did try to Facebook about it so I can remember it all. It was horrible at the time but now looking back we can see so many illustrations of Christian life: grace and mercy from the vet, who did the surgery as a gift to us; resurrection, because we had literally given Josie up for dead; sin and debt because the dog was in a mess that she couldn't fix on her own and racked up a debt we could not repay.

    Because my kids are very concrete thinkers, now we have so many emotional word pictures of these concepts.

    Even little jottings help with the writerly end of things.

    1. Ann, I've prayed for your family re: your doggy, but I never thought of your ordeal as an illustration of such profound spiritual concepts. So wonderful for your kids that they have a creative mom with heart and mind open to help them see the truth--and who will no doubt incorporate them into her writing for others.