4176068-no-calling-signAddiction!  What an ugly word.  No one wants an addiction!

Most of us would say that we are free of addictions because we are thinking about alcohol, being free of any violent crimes, drugs, tobacco, over eating, sweets…Oh, oh.  Am I getting too close?  How about shopping?  Or, watching too much TV?  Or, cleaning our car?  Or, straightening our stuff?  How about checking our email?

I see what has happened in my life and I wonder if I am addicted to my computer, or my smart phone, or my surface tablet?  Maybe all three?  I can hear that beep when I receive a new message and I immediately find that I am curious to find out who it is from.  I can hardly wait.  It captures my attention. If I am already in a conversation, I either sneak a peek or suggest that ‘I need to take this’.  It is really getting pathetic!

I can hear that beep at night. I take something with me that beeps everywhere I go ‘just in case’.  I fear that I may be developing an addiction and I need to do something about it right away before it interferes with or takes over completely my goal to accomplish significant things with my life.

I notice that we have to ask people to turn off those things that beep at church, in theaters, at concerts.  Sometimes they do, sometimes they don’t.  Now they are talking about allowing phones on airplanes, oh joy! I can feel the vibration even when I have the noise turned off, and, the curiosity starts to grow.  It is amazing!

So, I am making some changes in my work habits and taking charge of my potential addiction.

1. I am going to schedule a set time to check emails.  When I just sit and  respond to email, I am letting others set my work agenda for the day.  I don’t want to spend the day on email and then forfeit a ‘dream’ project I have been wanting to do or needing to do.

2. I need to tell my friends that if they need to hear back from me right away, they need to call me. Even then, if I am having some serious, productive ‘think’ time, I need to limit my response to my phone as well, but, careful to return the call when I am ready.

3. Email cannot become my daily goal.  I know it is easier to sit and answer emails than to start or complete a tough project, but, that project is important or I would not have thought of it.  So, I need to schedule time away from my email to work on my project, not sneak back the minute the beep hits.

4. I need to get back listening to and being with other people. I need to pay attention to them.  I need to walk down the hall and talk with them.  Email is great, but I need to get back to some face to face time with the people I work with.

I lived in South America for years.  I remember when people in the United States wanted to ask me a question, they wrote a letter (because a phone call was very expensive).  It took around 10 days for that letter to get to me.  Then, my response took another 10 days to get back.  That’s where we were just 20 years ago.  Now, when you write an email to me,wherever I am in the whole world, I receive it right away.  Instant communication. That is amazing and it is great!

But,  I am a person and I sure don’t want to lose my interpersonal skills with other humans.  I need to use those skills as much or more than I use my email skills.  I need to think, I need to talk and I need to look into someone’s eyes every day.  I still need to practice and people still need to experience my undivided attention.   

Join me…let’s control this potential addiction!


Dr. Ron Cline helps build the body of Christ around the world. His background as a pastor, educator, counselor, missionary and author gives him credibility and rapport with the many groups and individuals he and his wife, Barbara, minister to in various countries each year. After 7 years of pastoral ministry in Southern California, and ten years as the Dean at Azusa Pacific University, the Clines’ international service began in 1976 as a short-term opportunity when he agreed to pastor the English Fellowship Church in Quito, Ecuador for two years. Those two years stretched into six years. Following that he served as the president of HCJB World Radio, also in Ecuador, for 20 years. HCJB Global, now Reach Beyond, has media, health care, community and/or leadership development ministries in Latin America, Europe, Russia, North Africa/Middle East, Sub-Saharan Africa, and Asia Pacific. Ron and Barb currently serve as Global Ambassadors with Reach Beyond and live in Southern California after living 30 years abroad. They travel from Southern California throughout the world. For the last ten years they have been encouraging, coaching and working with leaders in Indonesia, Cambodia, China, Singapore, Malaysia, Nepal, Mongolia, India, Philippines, Thailand, Hong Kong, Solomon Islands, Western Samoa, Papua New Guinea, Tonga, Fiji, America Samoa, Australia, New Zealand, Central Asia, USA, Canada, Mexico, Cuba, Haiti, Ecuador, Russia, Malawi, Ivory Coast and South Africa.

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