August 25, 2007

On Email

Never check your email before you start reading…There is something in the format of e-mail (its terseness? the sheer volume of messages? its tendency to reward skimming over deep reading?) that pulls the mind away from the contemplative, relaxed frame so important for good reading. If you get good news, you’re distracted by it; if someone writes you a nasty note, you’ll spend the next forty-five minutes mentally formulating blistering replies rather than concentrating on your book. If no one writes at all, you’ll be depressed because you’ve suddenly become invisible in cyperspace.“–Susan Wise Bauer, The Well Educated Mind

This made me laugh! Blistering replies? Overjoyed exuberance? Sudden depression (used mildly) at your own invisibility? :D Okay, I admit it; I have an affinity to this quote. Susan makes her point well (and in an amusing manner at that) about the mental distraction email can be .

In context, Susan is referring ‘reading’ as the intensive study of the classic literature –literature like Plato and his fellow sophists. I find it even more applicable to reading something far more important: God’s Word. We should not just be careful to a set aside time to read and study God’s Word; we should also be vigilant to preserve mental focus for our time alone with our Creator and his Word. After all, His law is perfect, converting the soul, his testimony is sure, making wise the simple, his statues are right, rejoicing the heart, and his commandment is pure, enlightening the eyes…they are more to be desired than gold, yeah, than much fine gold, and they are sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb!* Wow. Think about that!

So, If you’re having trouble concentrating on your Plato after breakfast because you just checked your email, maybe you should think about implementing the mantra Susan presents. Never check your email before reading. But far more importantly, if you’re struggling to focus on the precious, holy Word of God, just because you’re still mentally reeling from your visit to your inbox, then I challenge you. Never check your morning email before your time alone with your Redeemer and His Words of life! In my experience, any efforts to reduce brain traffic before my quiet time in the morning with God and His Word has always been worth it. He is worth it!

*Psalm 19:7,8,10, slightly condensed.


The other Katie Marie said...

Oh how true that is!
I have been guilty of that and this is wonderful advice/reminder!

Thank you!

Veronika said...

True for me, too! :P Thankfully, the Lord has been showing me how to incorporate diligence in this area, and now I usually don't check my mail before my devotions. But that's all thanks to Him, not me, believe me! :D

Good reminders, KT!! :)

Sarah said...

Amen, Katie! I've found the same thing to be very, very true in my life.

For awhile, I was getting up at 4 and doing work online until 6 or so. Then I was supposed to have devotions. You guessed it...that's not the way it worked. :( Needless to say, I've since changed my schedule.

I've even found that checking emails in the morning can rather ruin a morning. We sure have to be careful these days! :)

Thanks for the reminder! *hugs*

Jazzy said...

Thanx for droppin' by at my account. Hehe. God bless you too sister!

Add me at your links please. Thanks a lot!