“Do Not Disturb” signs are awesome when you’re staying in a hotel. They are not awesome when they’re hanging around your neck!
Nothing I am about to write is original content. In fact, it is straight out of Joyce Meyer’s mouth. She gave a message called Do Not Disturb Me Part 1: Living In God’s Timing. I can’t even remember what the whole message was about (hence I have included the link for my own refresher). But, I do remember her wearing a “Do Not Disturb” sign around her neck. It was a very striking image – one that will stick with me for a lifetime.
The concept was: are you so busy with your life that you have no time for other people, or more importantly, for God? When you push them away or say,”I’m too busy,” or “I can’t help you right now,” or “Can we do this later?” in reality what you are saying – what you are displaying – is a “Do Not Disturb” sign.
I remember I used to get so annoyed when people would walk into my office and “interrupt” whatever I was doing. I often would answer them hurriedly and make it known I was busy with more important things. Terrible, I know. Then I heard Joyce’s message. She talked about how Christ was “interruptible.” Everywhere He traveled people stopped Him along the way and asked for healing. He never once kept on walking. He never once displayed a “Do Not Disturb” sign. He always engaged with them in those moments (Joyce references these encounters in her teaching).
I had a co-worker who was the most interruptible human being I’ve ever known. So much so that I needed to make sure that when I asked him a question or for help, I was ready to move right then and there for an answer or solution. He never said no. He never put anyone off. He responded immediately, and always with a great attitude. In fact, the words “I can’t” were like poison in his mouth! I think it’s safe to assume that he never once hung a “Do Not Disturb” sign around his neck. He probably didn’t even own one.
Compelled to respond to Joyce’s message and to be more like my co-worker, I decided that I would leave my “Do Not Disturb” sign in the drawer. I would no longer act disturbed when someone came into my office. I was probably working on something important, but was it ever more important than face-to-face time with someone? I shifted my perspective from “they are bothering me” to “they would like to spend time with me.”
I am learning as I grow older that there is nothing more important than people and meeting their needs. Nothing. Even in a work environment full of stress and deadlines. I promise you I got more done when I focused on what mattered most – the people. How is that possible? Well for me, I put my perfectionistic tendencies in the drawer along with my sign. So when I returned to the interrupted task, I got it done more efficiently – and imperfectly – and with greater satisfaction because I was available for someone.
My “Do Not Disturb” sign came out mostly in my workplace, but I know it’s made appearances in the grocery store, at church, with my family, with my husband and even with my fur baby Sweetness. Sure, there are times when we need to focus and get something done. But instead of grabbing for our “Do Not Disturb” sign, maybe we can press pause, see what they need, and determine when – not if – we can be there for them. Will you join me in being interruptible?
- If you own a “Do Not Disturb” size, what’s the size, shape, and color?
- When do you tend to put on your “Do Not Disturb” sign? And, why?
- Consider leaving your “Do Not Disturb” sign in the drawer, closet, car, or trash can. If you abandon your sign, what might that look like for your mental, emotional and physical behavior?
Take some time to reflect on these questions, honestly. The idea is to identify when you might not be available, understand why, and then work toward being interruptible. Tossing out a “Do Not Disturb” sign is a true moment of, “What would Jesus do?”