This past week I went 24 hours without email – really! It was a wonderful, yet frightful, experience.
Here’s what happened.. On Wednesday I left my office about 11:35 for lunch. When I returned after lunch I was surprised to see no emails – but I wasn’t too worried since I had a 1:30 and 2:30 appointment. To make a long story short, I ended up missing my 2:30 appointment and working in my office all afternoon. However, for the entire afternoon I didn’t receive a single email message – which was wonderful because I got so much done. You have to understand that my Blackberry seems to buzz non-stop throughout the day (and even night), so the fact that I had five hours without a single buzz allowed me to get caught up on a lot of back-work.
That night I checked my Blackberry before I went to bed (as I always do), just to make sure there are no “surprises” waiting for me the next morning. No new emails. Interesting…. The next morning I woke up and checked my BB again – no new email messages. Again, interesting, but I was more relieved than anything and felt a sense of “Wow, life is good.”
That morning I arrived in my office and worked in my office all morning until I was getting ready to leave for a lunch appointment about 11:15. Just before I left I realized that it had now been 24 hours (almost to the minute) since I had received any email messages. Now I was beginning to wonder if something was wrong… So I went into my Gmail account and sent myself an email – but it never arrived in my inbox. So then I sent myself an email from within the work email program and it did not come through. All of a sudden, I realized I had a problem. So I began search – I looked in my Spam folder, not there. I looked in my Junk folder. Not there. So I started going through ALL my folders and finally, when I opened up my trash, I found over 75 unopened email messages from the past 24 hours! All my email had been routed (incorrectly) to my trash without me ever seeing it. I quickly moved them back to my inbox and spent the rest of the afternoon (after lunch) going through 24 hours worth of emails!
Which got me thinking… How often does God send me a message but I miss it because I’m looking for it in the wrong place or the wrong way? How often do I take what he’s trying to tell me and send it (either accidentally or intentionally) to my “trash”? And how long would I have to go without hearing his voice before I even realized there was a problem?
While I was questioning the lack of emails I received over that 24 hours, it wasn’t until it had been a solid 24 hours that I even began to try and figure out what the problem was (a sorting rule gone awry – it took me about 5 minutes to figure it out and about 30 seconds to fix it). How long would I have to go without hearing from God before I began trying to figure out why?
I noticed my email problem fairly quickly because electronic communication fills such a large portion of my life – in this instance, over 75 instances in 24 hours; but normally it is many times that! Each of those 75 emails required a response, and many of those responses resulted in extended exchanges – so I literally exchange hundreds of email in a single day. But how much time every day do I spend interacting with God?
How about you? Which of the following would you notice a problem with soonest: your email, your cell phone, your wallet, your Facebook account, or hearing from God?
How we answer that question is a good measure of where our priorities lie.