I have a confession to make.
My email box has become an idol.
I’ll explain how in a minute. First, I need to show you how I am totally out of control when it comes to email. I regularly have thousands of emails in my in my inbox. Some read, some unread, and some waiting to be deleted without ever opening them. Most of them just sit there forever…
That’s my inbox this morning. After I deleted over 1,000 emails. It stresses me out, but I’ve become so numb to it, that I just ignore that number and pretend like it’s all under control. It’s not. I use filters, and folders, and read articles about how to manage your inbox. In the past, I’ve gone through and spent time mass-deleting emails, thousands at a time. Then I promised myself that I’d keep deleting daily so I’d not end up in that situation again. And yet, today…. 8,365+…. Something obviously isn’t working.
My husband walked in yesterday and looked over my shoulder. I was looking for something in my inbox that we needed for work. He took one look and said, “You get that many emails everyday? You’ve got a problem.”
Immediately the excuses starting rolling off my tongue:
“I know….but a lot of them I just delete without reading them.”
“But sometimes there are really great deals, and I don’t want to miss something….”
“I just need to be better about staying on top of it all…”
Which brings me back to how my email box has become an idol.
Lately I’ve been feeling the need to pull back from things that are keeping me from focusing on my family. There are all sorts of things and commitments that I’ve allowed to pull me away from truly enjoying my family to the fullest. ‘Stuff’ that pulls me away from spending real time with them. I’m coming to see a long list of things I need to work on, and I’m coming to realize that those things are a sort of idol. An idol is something that we love when we should love God. Something that comes between us and God. This ‘stuff’ is definitely coming between me and my family, and that means it’s coming between me and God. It’s an idol. Not because I am worshipping it, but because I am letting it get in the way and waste my time.
At the same time, the book of Jonah keeps popping up everywhere. You know, Jonah and the whale? That’s not really a bible story that comes up too frequently. And yet, it keeps getting plunked down in front of me over and over and over for the last few weeks. God does that sometimes….keeps sticking something right under your nose until you finally listen. After it came up again yesterday, I thought maybe I should go read it again.
The entire book of Jonah is only TWO PAGES long. It’s a quick and easy read. The lessons that come to mind from Jonah for me are usually “Love your enemies” and “Be obedient”. But there was only one verse that jumped out at me yesterday: Jonah 2:8
That ‘stuff’ I was talking about? Most of it definitely qualifies as worthless. And by clinging to it, I’m giving up ‘the grace that could be’ mine.
I could have so much more peace if I would just let go.
And so I am.
That email box of mine has been put on alert. I am intentionally simplifying. Letting go of the worthless emails. Not just deleting them, but unsubscribing. Deleting is temporary. There will be a new batch to replace them faster than I can blink. But if I unsubscribe from the worthless junk that gets dumped on me everyday? Well, there is lasting peace and freedom in that!
Less time checking and dealing with emails.
More time DOING with my family.
I like that.
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