We’ve touched on the importance of anticipating the unexpected as we make our plan and plan ahead, but what about those interruptions that have less to do with time and more to do with having room in our hearts?

Tip Seven: Allow for Interruptions

Even as we leave room in our schedules for surprises, we need to leave room in our lives for interruptions. For me, a schedule with no wiggle room means a mommy with no tread (like a tire prime for a blowout!), and a heart with no room for interruptions means this mommy is likely to explode, leaving my family’s feelings strewn like shrapnel around me.

I learned this lesson in a good way while planning my daughter’s wedding. The moment she got engaged, the Lord clearly impressed on me that I was not to say yes to a single outside commitment from then until her wedding day. There were temptations and opportunities, but He faithfully reminded me of His loving counsel, and for once (and honestly, only because of His grace, for I have NO self-control on my own when it comes to saying no), I listened. I can’t tell you the number of times I was tempted to say yes, but didn’t, and then something unexpected came up that would have been disastrous if I had packed my life too full for interruptions. Not only did I have to leave room in my schedule, but in my heart, for there were ample opportunities when what she needed wasn’t time for planning and decisions but emotional encouragement and support. In the same way, when we know an extra busy time is ahead, we are wise to choose our commitments carefully not just in the time they require, but in how they can drain our emotional well for those who need us most.

People close to us and even those who aren’t will have needs when we’re not ready for them. When it’s not convenient. A child will have a hurt heart. A husband have a need that’s not on that day’s to-do list. A friend will ask to meet for coffee because she’s hurting or lonely or both. Yes, it’s a time thing, but more so, it’s a heart availability that starts with giving our will, time and agenda to the Lord so He can direct us. It’s allowing Him to interrupt us!

One aspect of this is having flexibility and realistic expectations of myself. It’s also knowing what’s a priority and what to let go when something comes up, like exercise. I love to exercise (or at least I love the idea of exercising every day), and most days, I dress for it first thing in the morning, anticipating the opportunity to get it done. But if something comes up in my day and time gets tight, it’s the one thing I know needs to be shifted off my plate. That’s hard for a compulsive gal who struggles with body issues, but I know in my heart that letting that go for the needs of someone else is what the Lord would have me do. (I like to think just dressing with the intention of exercising counts, right? Even when I change directly back into my PJs at the end of the day!)

When we give our time to the needs the Lord puts before us, He has an amazing way of redeeming the time and tasks that were “lost.”

Next tip: considering others for a meaningful, manageable & memorable Christmas. Please join me again tomorrow, and feel free to share these tips with friends you see struggling with keeping peace and sanity this time of year!

This series of tips is filling in the framework of The 3 M’s of a Merry Christmas. If you’ve missed a few tips along the way, you’ll find all ten here: 10 Tips for Making Christmas Meaningful, Manageable & Memorable.