Hours earlier, I highlighted all the e-mail in one folder. I hit “delete.” I exited out and ate lunch.
But when I opened it back up that afternoon, nothing was in my “To do” folder. Or my “Write back” folder. Or even my “Sent” folder.
Everything was gone.
I had inadvertently even emptied the “Trash.” Permanently.
(* Lesson: If you have a folder labeled “All mail,”
believe it: it may truly mean ALL mail. Duh.)
So I cried.
And I tweeted. I received sympathetic replies. I received needed prayers. I received wonderful advice (“cry, but not too long”).
When I lose things on accident (even by my own hand), how proportional is my grief to its worth?
I had to ask myself. Exactly why was I taking this so hard?
Well, because now I’d have friends wondering why I wasn’t responding to their e-mails. I’d not know who to report to for book reviews. Addresses, embedded details to projects, prayer requests—all would now slip through the cracks.
Don’t those things matter? Aren’t they worth crying about?
Were my tears more about my idols toppling over than about how others were going to be affected?
My idol of efficiency was broken. My idol of organization, even of responsibility, had cracked. My reputation of being a “together” person might be tarnished (don’t laugh).
I had to face it:
I needed to repent.
I read Psalm 4, this week’s text for the Run to Him study. David was crying out in distress, too. (I’m guessing it wasn’t over lost e-mail.) He knew God would listen.
And then I read verse 7. Wham!
You have put more joy in my heart than they have when their grain and wine abound.
My joy shouldn’t come from being efficient. Or from being organized. Or even from being responsible (although those are good things, and I can rightly get and give joy from those things, just like abounding grain and wine).
But my fullest joy can only be found in one place. A place not dependent on the memory of my hard drive or even in my faulty soft one.
My joy comes from God.
He places it in my heart. Not in a scheduling system. Certainly not in a computer.
So I wanted to offer a sacrifice of praise. What could I lay on the altar as an act of submission—of celebration!—honoring God’s control, not mine?
I opened up my other e-mail account—the really bloated one. I knew immediately which folder needed to go. It was a superfluous one—one that served only my ego. I highlighted all. Then I hit delete.
But this time I didn’t cry.
It felt good. I felt joy.
In choosing to lose, I gained.
* * *
Later that night, I discovered that Christi, the daughter of one of my best friends, Kathy, had barely made it into the bathtub with her husband before a tornado ripped off their roof near Birmingham, Alabama.
And I had been crying over lost e-mail that very day? Really? I repented again. I’m still deleting folders.