Have your life plans ever been interrupted?

“Have your life plans ever been interrupted?  o Yes    o No    o Not sure.” [1]

I broke the pencil lead bearing down to blacken the “Yes” circle on the first page of my new Bible study.

Absolutely. Just this morning. When 75 pages of  program applications tumbled from an interoffice envelope onto my desk. I volunteered to help select which school field trips my work group would sponsor. I committed to a meeting, not pre-work. Time-gremlins gobbled my schedule’s last “free” hours.

I turned the page and gave an Amen to the study’s bolded text: “I hate to be interrupted. Say it with me now…” I shouted to my wall, “I hate to be interrupted.”

“But, Gloria, you asked for it.” The Spirit convicted me.


“Your morning prayer.”

Oh. I forgot. I mumbled Jabez’s prayer before moving into a full, calendar-crushing day. “Oh, that You would bless me indeed, and enlarge my territory…”

The study’s words warned me. “The importance and priority we’ve placed on our plans cause us to frown on new assignments the Lord may send our way.”

Ouch!  I had frowned on the detour caused by my new assignment.

I’ve seen the pattern before. Pray Jabez’s prayer, then stay alert to what follows. Expanded opportunities to use the heart God gave me for teaching and education often followed—lead this Bible study, deliver that devotional message. But this time, obsession with sticking to my schedule distracted me from the flashing blue light God parked over a special opportunity to enlarge my heart into new territory.

Blessed by the One who has a better plan than mine, I re-approached the 13 applications. All from teachers in schools with economically disadvantaged kids. All seeking sponsorships for field trips to college campuses within Texas. All longing to ignite within their students flames of hope for college educations and guidance for how to make dreams a reality. And I thanked God for the privilege of being interrupted.

And Jabez called on the God of Israel saying, “Oh, that You would bless me indeed, and enlarge my territory, that Your hand would be with me,…” So God granted him what he requested (1Chronicles 4:10, NKJV).

[1] Priscilla Shirer, Jonah: Navigating a Life Interrupted. Nashville: Lifeway Press, 2010.

About Gloria Ashby

I'm a writer, speaker and teacher. I live with my husband in the DFW area, and close to our daughter and her family.
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2 Responses to Have your life plans ever been interrupted?

  1. Leah Jane Taglienti says:

    You chose another subject dear to my heart. Although it is not a spoken prayer on my part; but I often wish for more to do. Unfortunately when the new project or challenge comes to the front; I am usually too busy to recognize the answer. This is especially true of family rumblings. LJ

  2. Debbie says:

    I am absolutely loving your devotionals/blog. I certainly feel blessed in knowing that God has his hand firmly around you, leading and guiding, and that you are “hearing” Him so clearly. Something I try to remember to pray about – that I will hear Him when He speaks to me. What we have been studying in John about His sheep knowing him and recognizing his voice. I look forward to each new entry. Love you so much and am proud to call you sister.

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