How Interruptions Can be Opportunities to Experience Wonder

Research shows they can spark our creativity in unexpected ways.

Hunter Bliss Images/ Shutterstock
Hunter Bliss Images/ Shutterstock

Interruptions may consume a significant amount of our time and energy at work and home. We must overcome a plethora of interruptions – from online notifications popping up to people calling unexpectedly – to stay focused and productive. However, not all interruptions impact us negatively. Some interruptions are positive, because they can lead us to awe-inspiring adventures. Rather than just trying to avoid all interruptions, we can turn some of them into opportunities to experience wonder.

Research shows that positive interruptions (those that people perceive as meaningful, relevant, and worthy of their time) are associated with excitement and happiness. Other research reveals that it’s possible for interruptions to positively affect people’s creativity. All of those outcomes can promote awe. Certain interruptions go even further by helping us encounter wonder directly.

In my book Wake Up to Wonder, I describe how I was interrupted during a busy day by encountering a baby robin who needed help. The tiny bird had apparently fallen out of its nest during a storm. My daughter Honor and I discovered it on a brief neighborhood walk. As the bird persistently peeped at us, Honor pleaded with me to change my work schedule that day so we could rescue the robin. The story continues by showing how my simple choice to do so led to all sorts of wonder happening!

By choosing to see interruptions as potential opportunities (rather than as inconveniences), we can notice more of the wonder that comes into our lives unexpectedly.

There’s a greater purpose to our time than simply being productive. When we choose to view our time through the lens of faith, we can see that we’re all part of a story that’s greater than ourselves – connected to God and each other. Each one of us has an important part to play in that story. An interruption may be an opportunity for us to do something we’re meant to do (even though we didn’t plan for it). By approaching interruptions with a willingness to say “yes” to experiences that are greater than ourselves, we can discover wonder.

Some interruptions are only stressful burdens on our time and energy. But other interruptions can lead us to transcendent experiences that expand our perspective and fill our souls with wonder. The next time you’re interrupted by something that seems to be worth your time, dare to explore the possibilities of that interruption. Consider how you may be able to turn it into an opportunity to experience wonder.

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