Remember when communicating with friends meant sitting down and writing a letter? You’d write your thoughts, hopes and questions, then pop them all into an envelope, lick the back of a disgusting tasting postage stamp and drop the lot into a mail box. (Now, I do understand that many readers don’t remember such times, but go with me on this one.)
A week later your friend would then find your letter amongst their bills and other mail in their letterbox. Some time within the next week or so they’d have the chance to read your ramblings and some time after that they’d start the whole process again by writing a letter back to you.
These days it’s all about email. You type your thoughts and questions and then hit send. If you haven’t got a reply within three or four minutes you start to wonder if your friend may have died without you knowing. Everything is instant and we expect immediate responses, even when we’re only sending the latest email ‘funny’.
Do you feel the need to reply to emails as soon as they hit your inbox? Emails call out to us with extraordinary urgency. We know that if we don’t attend to those messages now we’ll never get to them and we just know that the sender is sitting beside their computer, hitting refresh with one hand, operating a stopwatch with the other.
Have we allowed others to set the agenda of our lives? Would the world really fall apart if we took charge and decided to prioritise our own time? Would our friends and workmates really fall apart if they didn’t get an immediate response to their message?
Do you expect people to reply immediately to your emails? How long do you think is a reasonable time between sending an email and receiving a reply? Do you get annoyed when you don’t get an answer right away?
Are you letting other people control your time by feeling that you have to reply immediately to emails?
What are some of the other ways we let others control our time? Do you feel the urge to respond immediately to text messages? Will someone calling you on the phone take priority over someone you’re speaking with face to face?
Who’s controlling your time?
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I’m just wiping the tears away after reading this post at the Compassion International Blog.
One of the things that really hit home for me during my trip to Haiti and Dominican Republic with Compassion Australia was the extreme importance of writing letters to sponsored children. Hearing the children talking about their sponsors and the overwhelming joy they felt whenever they received a letter from them was an amazing revelation. We met one one lady who had been recognised by the President of her country for her incredible study results. She kept the certificate handed to her by the President in the same folder as the letters from her sponsor family. They were both precious to her and they were kept together as her most prized possessions.
In the post I mentioned at the Compassion International Blog this truth is demonstrated through the words of Roberto Medrano, a Compassion worker in El Salvador.
It is amazing the influence a sponsor can have on the child. For example, I remember a 25-year-old Compassion graduate. She is a Christian who is married and has two babies. She also serves as a center worker. Even though she is an adult and loves Compassion’s ministry, she always cries because in the 15 years of sponsorship her sponsor did not write one single letter. She wrote her sponsor dozens of letters, but she never received any response.
If you sponsor a child through any aid agency, can I encourage you to make some time tonight to write that child a letter. My words here can’t even begin to express the influence your letters can have.
In Dominican Republic we spoke to a beautiful young lady who never once received encouragement from her parents for her schooling, yet because her sponsors kept in touch regularly over many years and encouraged her with her studies she is now achieving top results at university.
If you don’t yet sponsor a child I plead with you to do something about that today. If you’re in Australia I can get you signed up today, just contact me directly, or you can visit the Compassion Australia website. If you’re outside Australia you can go to the Compassion International website. Please let me know if you decide to change a child’s life through sponsorship.
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