Seth Barnes wrote today about being interruptible in terms of leading and mentoring young missionaries and it got me thinking about it in terms of parenting and unschooling, especially when both parents work from home plus in terms of the mentoring I do of Christian unschoolers and others who contact me regularly via email and Facebook. In Christ being a leader (whether of a group of 800 or just in your home as a parent) means being a servant. Being a servant means being available. Being available means you are setting yourself for exhaustion if you don’t make sure to recharge. If you are being there for others 24/7 then you need to take what opportunities He provides to rest and make sure you are filled up with Him. July took a lot out of me. It was a very hard month. This month is just as full but in more fun ways and He has been showing me how to serve while taking care of my heart and mind so I can better serve.
Anyone who knows me well knows I am a non-planning laid back sort of person. When I try to plan and schedule things I get caught up in my plans and forget to enjoy life. So instead I come up with a tentative plan and trust God with it– His plans are way more awesome than mine. 🙂 So I am naturally fairly interrupt-able. Once upon a time I was obsessed with reading missionary biographies. ONe in particular said something that stuck with me. It was something about how being interrupted was God’s way of getting him where He wants him. Back then I decided I needed to make sure I was doing that– seeing interruptions as God getting my attention and refocusing me on what was important. I have also needed to learn when I have to stop and how to work things so I have the breaks I need in order to recharge properly. I am introverted despite my constant interactions and needed to learn how to get the recharge time I need to I can be what others need when they need it. So, even though we have had company visiting and lots going on in the group I admin (with the help of 11 beautiful, gentle women who help me keep things loving and thoughtful when anger and frustration rear their heads), plus the kids needing this and that and just wanting to talk, I wander out to the porch with my book and read until one of the kids joins me on the porch for a chat. I take a long quiet bath or watch a bit of a movie or read or bake or take a walk, anything to get the rest my brain needs when I can so that when I am needed I am recharged and ready.
Yesterday I was blessed with a minor road trip to the airport with several visits interspersed– some with people I have never met, others I hold dear, but in the midst of it I had time driving alone. I love driving, especially in new places with interesting sights. I love being able to see God’s handiwork everywhere and have quiet conversations with Him as I navigate roads, having faith that He will get me safely where I am going whether I know how to get there or not (the kids will tell you I am never lost since I know where I am– right here– and know where I am going though only God knows how to get between the two though I very often am in the place where I don’t know how to get from here to there and spend that time prayerfully driving and we eventually get where we want to be). It was a day that was not planned, other than getting to the airport on time and meeting up with Grace’s friend’s family. Everything else was spontaneous and relaxed and filled with the freedom to wait and see what God had in store. The visits were a lovely blessing and the space to drive and pray and think was just what I needed after such a hectic week. God worked it all out perfectly so that not only did I get plenty of time with Grace before seeing her off and time with my brother-in-law and his beautiful and very pregnant wife, but I also got plenty of downtime alone with Him. And I have learned that if I watch and wait He will provide those times in the midst of the busy-ness if I keep my eyes open– I just need to be ready to take them.
Everything is an adventure and I love seeing where God is leading us and watching to see how He works it all out. And very, very often it is those interruptions, those messages on Facebook, or those emails, or phone calls that remind me where He IS working and how I can help in this or that circumstance. Those interruptions also remind me that He uses everything for good. Our various health issues, behavioral stuff with the kids as well as both Shamus and my learning issues in school, and the way He has worked to heal us through various diet related things, my studies of herbalism and wildcrafting, food related stuff, our indie book publishing, writing, fixing things, unschooling experiences, gentle parenting experiences, art stuff, the list goes on. I have messages daily about all sorts of things that people are struggling with — areas that I have past experience with that helps and encourages them. It amazes and blesses me daily that God is redeeming those experiences through these “interruptions” in what I think I should be doing.
Addendum– as I wrote this I also helped Issac figure out ideas for things to build in Minecraft (including finding him graph paper, ruler, and pencil so he could draw out his ideas), and had several conversations with Rach.