On the first Sunday of Lent, I sat down after lunch to tackle my daily e-mail chore.  Usually, this consists of reading a couple of messages from my family, then deleting a long string of unread messages. Every time I delete one without reading it, I feel a little twinge of guilt, but I delete it anyway. Some of these messages come from companies that have sold me items in the past.  The subject lines indicate that they have something new to offer me, at a price I can’t refuse. Some of the messages are from blogs to which I subscribed a long time ago. Let me be clear: none of these messages are really “spam.” I subscribed to them all at some point in time. I just don’t read them anymore.

On the first Sunday of Lent, I discovered a new Lenten discipline: I decided to repent of my e-mail sin. One by one, I opened each message, scrolled down to find the “Unsubscribe” button, and clicked it. One by one, my inbox filled up again with confirmation messages that I had successfully unsubscribed.  One even said, “We’re sorry to see you go, but it’s your e-mail. We respect that.”

On the first Monday of Lent, I checked my morning e-mail to find three messages from websites I had missed the day before. Three. Scroll, click, click, they were gone. Screenshot 2014-03-10 17.06.52

This isn’t exactly 40 bags in 40 days, but it has the same effect as de-cluttering a corner of my house: I am free from the nagging guilt I feel every time I delete a message I haven’t read.  I am free from using my time to scan messages I don’t want to read. I am free to focus on what really matters, as I try to be a little more like Jesus each day of this Lenten season.  I’m giving up junk e-mail for Lent, so I can take on the discipline of spending more time with God. I’ll let you know how it goes…

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