Saturday, April 24, 2010

Tasks and Interruptions

In my quest to become more Christlike and less me-like I have been trying to understand my selfishness so that I can overcome it, as you probably know if you've been reading my blog. When I have weeks like this past week I'm even more determined to conquer this issue.

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That is an accurate picture of me this past week.  Granted I had PMS, but still.

One of the blogs I read is Simple Mom. She always has good advice and right perspective. And she has fabulous cleaning advice! Anyway, last month she had a guest post about understanding your personality. I found the post quite intriguing.

Mandi compares task-oriented vs. people-oriented personalities. And she discussed the need for balance in both personalities. After reading the post I had yet another clue into myself. She said that task-oriented personalities tend to:

* Focus on their to-do list and the things they hope to accomplish.
* Be concerned with productivity and efficiency.
* Have concrete goals and detailed lists.

That would be me. And I'm really bad about neglecting important relationships in favor of my to-do list.

She says that there are steps I could take to balance myself between tasks and people. For instance:
1. Schedule time to focus on the people around you and commit to setting aside your to-do list during that time.

2. Consciously make eye contact when your husband or children speak to you so that they have your full attention, even though you may be tempted to multitask.

3. Add relationship-building tasks to your to-do list, such as sending birthday cards, calling your mom or having a date night with your husband.

4. Go outside, to the library, or to a museum where you can just enjoy being with your family without the distraction of things that need to be done.
I need to post this list on my fridge or something. I have a very difficult time setting aside my to-do list and I am always multitasking. ALWAYS. If someone gets a birthday card from me that is a miracle! And it's not because I don't care. Absolutely not. It's simply that I don't place enough importance on relationship building tasks.

And when I'm somewhere like the library (which we visit a lot) I am always working on something. I'm almost never just living in the moment. Rather, I'm almost always thinking about things that need to be done. And I'm sure I miss a lot of life because of that.

Because I am task-oriented I have a huge problem ... I hate - HATE - to be interrupted when I am working on a task (which would be always, so I always hate to be interrupted). I was watching Footloose last night. Yes, I was. It was late and I was still awake. So I watched it and started thinking about how Rev. Shaw Moore was more task-oriented than people-oriented and it caused so many problems. There's a scene where Ariel, his daughter, tries to speak to him late one night while he is working on a sermon at his typewriter. He doesn't stop working and he doesn't make eye contact with her. He barely acknowledges her. So rather than say what she wanted to say to him, she just says goodnight.  I'm afraid that's how I am with my kids much of the time. Dear Lord, what am I missing?  What problems I am causing?

Interrupt: to stop, to break, to interfere, to disturb.  I see those words as bad things, but I think I need to change my perspective about interruptions.  If I want to be more Christlike and less me-like then rather than hating interruptions I need to embrace them.  Jesus' birth was an interruption.  Many of the healings that He did were the result of interruptions.  The children interrupted Jesus and when the disciples got upset about it He said, "Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these."

Kelly King writes on her blog, "How did Jesus handle interruptions? I think He welcomed them. What happened when Jesus WAS the interruption? He transformed lives so that He would be glorified."

I need to embrace interruptions.  I need not see them as personal attacks on me and my time and my tasks.  I'm afraid that I have had an entirely WRONG perspective.  Oh Father, forgive me for putting any THING in a position of importance greater than my children, than my husband, than people.

Even as I write this my children are interrupting me and I really want to finish this and I feel myself become irritated.  Oh Lord, I need your strength and you grace!  


  1. I just love you....that's all I can say right now. I love reading your blogs and I love you for being real! Thank you!


  2. You say what we al lfeel friend!


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