Cleaning out my Inbox


I spent some time this weekend emptying out my e-mail Inbox. It contained 63 messages. That may not sound bad — I know some of you have thousands of messages in your Inboxes — but yesterday alone I received 92, so if I don’t deal with them regularly, they quickly get out of hand.

My rule is this: when I have more than 20 messages sitting in my Inbox, it’s time to file. Otherwise, it’s just too overwhelming. I use my Inbox like a to-do list (if it’s in there, I still need to do it.) When I’ve dealt with an e-mail (either responded to it, handled the request, or added the item to my written to-do list), then I file it. I have about 100 folders in my e-mail program — covering my kids and their activities, each of my clients, Bible study and prayer requests, bills, personal items, jewelry, writing, and my blog. But inside all those folders I’ve saved over 35,000 individual messages. I don’t need them all anymore, but I it takes too long to sort through them, so I let them remain. They’re like electronic clutter, but at least they’re out of sight and out of mind.

Our lives are so busy, and many of us are inundated with hundreds of items on our to-do lists every week. We have work to do, household chores piling up, dirty laundry, bills to pay, prescriptions to refill, birthday cards to send, gifts to buy, errands to run, phone calls to make. Sometimes it’s too much.

God knows how easily overwhelmed we are. And I think that’s why He chose to simplify the Ten Commandments. Our brains are too full at times to hold onto even ten things. He made it simple by breaking it down to just two. Jesus tells us Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind, and Love your neighbor as yourself (Matthew 22:37-39). It’s not always easy to do those things, but it’s simple enough to remember them. I think there might even be enough room in my poor overloaded brain for these two important rules. And if I can manage to follow them, I know that everything else in my life will fall right into place.

1 comment:

Dina said...

It's funny, but my Pastor spoke on this very thing this morning in his series sermon "Running on Empty." He used the passage from Job 3:26 "I have no peace, no quietness; I have no rest, but only turmoil." He urged us to put space in our schedules, to prune activities periodically, to do less and trust God more... I will think of your post today as a "second witness" bearing truth.