It’s Okay to Be Unavailable

The phone started vibrating. I glanced at it and looked away. For a moment, there was a guilty feeling. I thought, “Maybe I should answer. They know I have a cell phone with me all the time. What will they say if I don’t answer? I bet they will be mad.” Then I went back to my conversation. Within moments the call was done, and I glance to see that there was no voicemail. Nothing.

While I was holding the phone for a second, the phone started vibrating again – the same person. A second call, I thought, “It must be an emergency. I should probably get it this time.” I then wondered why they did not leave a voicemail. If it were important, surely they would have left a voicemail and kept trying. I placed the phone back on the table, and the vibration ended.

After about 15 minutes passed, the phone started vibrating a third time. This time my frustration level growing. I looked again, and it was the exact same person. This time I thought about answering and yelling or voicing my frustration. Instead, I placed it back on the table and ignored the call.

At this point in my story, you are probably having one of two thoughts. One is about my relationship with the caller. You might think that I don’t like that person or do not want to talk to them. Maybe I am angry, or I owe them money. None of those are the case. It was a friend with whom I have a good relationship.

The other thought is about me as a person. You might be thinking, “What a jerk. Answer your phone. Why have a phone if you are not answering when someone calls? What if it was an emergency? What if someone’s world is falling apart, and they need you?”

Now back to my story, I didn’t answer my phone because I was out with my family at dinner for my son’s birthday. Sure, I could have taken the call, but I wanted to be fully engaged with my family. I probably would not even have my phone with me in that situation, but there is the possibility of an emergency, and I would have answered if one of about ten numbers had called. Otherwise, my night was given to my family. Completely.

Here is a little piece of truth I want you to hold onto today; It is okay to be unavailable. In fact, I would encourage you to accept this as a preferred way to live. Just because you have a phone does not mean everyone gets an equal share of your time. Your spouse, your children, your parents, your family, and even your God need your attention. Everything else is a periphery.

Today I want to set you free. Let go of those feelings of guilt for not answering the phone. It is okay not just to put your phone on vibrate but to even shut it off occasionally. You need a break. Other people need you. You need to be free to enjoy the moments that God gives you.

I know for some of you this is not difficult. You don’t get the phone thing anyway. For others, this is terrifying. Know this, those who love you the most will find it a blessing in every way.

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