Friday, August 19, 2005

Time to Cheat My Blog


Last night we had a meeting of our whole pastoral team and our conversation focused on being faithful in managing our schedules so that they reflect God's priorities. As we talked and got the input of our dear wives about times that we "bring work home" or how our work habits effect our families, I was convicted of being undisciplined and lazy in several ways.

The first way is a constant need to know what's in my inbox. There are many times when I'm at home and I'll pick up my laptop and check my email. I do it in "down time"—little moments when there's a lull in the action, or after the kids go down or when Shannon is busy with something else. The problem is that it's not necessary and it's not important. I'm just curious to hear what so and so thought of the email I sent earlier in the day. It's the equivalent of work "junk food." It's not really moving me forward or making me more effective, it's just that I'm unwilling to unplug from the constant flow of information. In light of the priority of being fully engaged with my wife and family this bad habit is, in my opinion, treacherous.

So I’m making home an email free zone. I’m not doing this legalistically. I know there will be legitimate moments when, as a function of caring for my family, I’ll need to send an email. But I’m choosing to stay away from the reading, answering, getting sucked into things as I’ve been doing.

The second way I’ve begun to be undisciplined is through upkeep of this blog. Now I’m sure this is hilarious to many people because I hardly do anything on this blog! A real blog—at least as I think of it—involves a minimum of daily posts. I’ve hardly been doing anything. But slowly in the last few weeks, as I’ve been trying to “do more” on it, I’ve seen myself grabbing extra moments at home to keep up. Comments that are posted are delivered to my inbox (ooh, there’s that evil email again!) and questions come in from folks that I really want to try and help. I find myself thinking about it at home, wondering what I should post next.

As we talked as pastors and as I prayed this morning I knew this had to change. I read a portion from a book by Andy Stanley called “Choosing to Cheat.” The basic premise is that we are always choosing one thing over another. We are always making one thing a priority and “cheating” something else.

By God’s grace, I’ve not reached a point of crisis, but I don’t want this blog to grow and consume more of my energy and thinking that should be devoted to my responsibilities as a husband, father, pastor, student and friend. Blogs are the future, they’re the new means of communication, they’re everything…yeah, so what. I’m choosing to cheat my blog so I don’t cheat the things that really matter to me.

So basically what this means is that, while we’ll still keep this blog, most of the posts will be informational and coming from Katherine and Jo. They’ll be posting news of interest about the church, about the books, about New Attitude, and sharing letters from readers. I will no longer try to answer people’s questions, even though I wish I could.

Thanks for understanding. And I hope you’ll consider these thoughts and evaluate your own email and online habits. My friends, there are relationships to deepen, there is Scripture to read, there is fresh air to breathe, there is tennis to play, there are children to laugh and play with, there are great books to read, there are conversations and discussions to be had. Cheat the email! Cheat the blogs! Cheat all our so-called productivity and light-speed communication so that the stuff of real life—the stuff that really matters to us—isn’t cheated.

See ya!

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