What to do with unexpected free time and a cell phone


These days, our lives are more scheduled than ever. But sometimes we find ourselves with unexpected free time. For example, I drove 40 minutes into my office on Saturday (my day off) to catch up on things that weren’t getting my attention during the week. If I’m being honest, it was hard to give up my Saturday morning in favor of my work routine. It got even harder when I arrived at work and a technology issue prevented me from gaining access to my office floor. But I decided to keep trying and not let the badge reader defeat me. I called building security and waited over an hour for them to work on the issue. They eventually “suggested” that I go back home. It would take them several hours to fix the problem.

My story is not unique. Unexpected free time often presents itself as a problem at first. Maybe you tried to drive into work, but your car had a flat tire. Maybe you planned to go to your daughter’s soccer tournament, but it was cancelled because of rain. Or maybe you went to get a new driver’s license and saw that the wait was several hours long.

Welcome to unexpected free time.

What often limits our service to those we love is a lack of free time. Not just a lack of time to do things for loved ones, but often we don’t even have the time to think about what they might need. This is why unexpected free time is such a great opportunity. Here’s one easy way you can put this rare free time to good use.

Serving with your cell phone

  1. Take out your cell phone and go through the list of your 25 most recent texts.
  2. Look at the names there. These will likely be a large portion of the people you interact with most often and care the most about. Granted some family and friends won’t have cell phone or maybe they don’t text, but this is a good list to start with.
  3. As you pass each name, stop for 30 seconds and consider that person for a moment. What’s going on in their lives? What could they use encouragement on? How will this message serve them?
  4. Send them a two to three line text. DO NOT copy and paste messages or mass text recipients. Each message should be custom and serve the recipients unique needs.
  5. Hit send and move to the next name on the list. 

Each person should get roughly 2-3 minutes of your attention. If you don’t have the time to do everyone simply wait until your next unexpected free time comes up. And it will come up.

How do you use your cell phone to serve?

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