Does anyone else do this?
You take forever writing an email because you keep doing more editing than actual writing, and then once hitting send, you immediately open up your sent mail and read and reread the same email you just spent 3 hours on, poring over it, rereading it aloud to yourself, and continuing to pick it to death and kicking yourself for errors found only after the fact. Something has to hit you over the head with a proverbial brick to snap you out of your reverie and continue on with the next task. (What was the next task again?)
This is typically how I compose and send emails at work, which admittedly is a huge time waster and not company-friendly. But it’s not just at work, I’ve always done this all my life. (If my manager is reading this, don’t worry, I’m truly trying to break the habit.) Outside of work and other administrative-type emails, I mostly write random encouraging emails to all kinds of people. bloggers i’m inspired by, family members, and friends I don’t keep in touch with often. I don’t keep a schedule of correspondence, I just do it when it occurs to me. It’s a bit of a fun hobby: I go through my list of contacts in my phone, and keep scrolling until a name screams out to me in my heart. Then I try to think of something that might make their day.
However, it’s that maddening email-editing craze that often slows or completely stops this spirit-guided process to encourage someone else. It’s a kind of fear I’ve only recently thought to take notice of. Throughout my intense editing session, I’m half listening to these foreign whispers. What will they think of me? Is this weird? Yeah, this is weird. No one ever emails me like this. They probably won’t even respond.
Sometimes I end up scrapping the entire email and not sending anything. That person continues on in their day, with no idea I’ve spent so much time trying to reach out to him or her. Like a light under a basket, no one ever benefits. And it’s obvious what is behind it all — Fear.
Fear of embarrassing mistakes, either in content or grammar.
Fear of being embarrassed
Fear I wont be taken seriously
Fear that I’ll be taken too serious (This happens quite a bit, thanks to my annoying habit of quoting obscure lines from my favorite TV shows that no one gets)
Fear I’ll be ignored
Fear of being annoying
Because communication through the written word is hard. It’s a difficult art to master, at least for me. When you have to convey anything that will have an effect on the recipient, it’s a big responsibility. Like when I’m trying to tell someone to do something without telling them to do it. It takes nuance, carefully worded sentences, and sensitivity to the reader and their particular environment. Our words have so much power. That’s why the Bible is chock-full of wisdom concerning the careful use of our tongues. They truly have the power of life and death.
That being said, there’s a point at which you just have to let go and hit send. Wanted or not, there it goes. It can be scary, depending on the message. Be it a resume, break in a long silence between friends, or a hard word of truth that must be spoken. Sending an email out there is like sending a vulnerable extension of yourself into the unknown. But unlike the lamp which sits indefinitely under the basket, we must get these messages out before the opportunity is gone. Funny how in order to encourage someone, we often must take the first step of courage.
For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.
2 Timothy 1:7
Is there someone on your heart today? Maybe reach out and send that email or text of encouragement, whatever it might be. We have no idea the journey our words will take, but if God’s spirit is behind it, there’s no doubt that they will soar on, accomplishing His will.
Not an email person? Here are some other ideas for brightening up someone’s day:
- Send an E-card (sort of dorky but sweet) Dayspring has a great ecard selection
- Leave a message on social media site of choice
- Can’t go wrong with a quick text
- Post an old picture and tag your friend with a couple of nice words
- Go way old school and pick up the phone
- Go even older-school and (if you can) arrange a hang out session in person
Thanks for reading! Let me know in the comments below how you like to let someone know you’re thinking of them.