Things I'm learning this summer.
I hope you've had a good summer, whatever you've been up to, over the last few weeks.
As we head towards the beginning of a new academic year, I'll be returning to blogging weekly - starting next week. In the meantime, I just wanted pop in to share some of the things I'm learning this summer.
1. Sometimes it's good to switch things up
Don't get me wrong... I love creating a good plan - and then doing whatever I can, to focus on following through. But sometimes, it's good to spot the signs it's time to change things for a season, and do something different for a while.
I'd not planned to step away from the blog for a full four weeks this summer - and please accept my apologies, if you've missed the weekly blog post appearing in your inbox.
However, as it's turned out, it's been really good to take a break - and hold some space for other things. It's felt good to my soul - and I'm already planning to do this again, next summer. There is definitely something to be said for living and working 'lightly' (or at least 'differently') through the summer, for those of us fortunate enough, to have both the inclination and freedom to do so.
I reckon the benefits of a change of pace, in our life and work, are a similar to those of 'interval training' for runners. One of the things I've been learning, is that running timed intervals, at different paces; rather than simply running at the same speed - can be really effective in boosting your fitness, strength and endurance.
I think the same is true for the benefits we receive in our life and work, when we intentionally slow down - and step away from some of the things, for a short while.... Dare I say it, even when we're not officially 'on holiday'...
2. I love the sunshine
OK. So I already knew this. But as someone who has, from time to time, struggled with SAD in the darkest of the winter months - it's been such a joy to enjoy so much sunshine this summer.
I appreciate that this has not been without its challenges for others, but on a personal level, I'm grateful for the weeks of sunshine - and the chance to get all the natural Vitamin D I can get.
2. The summer is a great time to think about how you can have 'More Good Weeks'
If you've been following the blog over the last few months, you'll already have picked up that I'm passionate about people having #moregoodweeks across the full breadth of their life and work. After I launched this free 5 day mini-course, back in July (see this blog post for details), it's been good to see people signing up in growing numbers, throughout the summer.
If you're someone who is able to enjoy some time away, or a change of pace to your life and work over the next couple of weeks, now might be a good time to take a look.
Why not sign up today, if you haven't already done so - and give some thought to how you can have more good weeks, over the next few months.
3. I really enjoy doing live radio
For someone who usually spends more time thinking, reading and writing, than speaking, it's been a revelation, how much I've enjoyed my first experiences of doing live radio this summer.
I was invited to be a guest on Premier Christian Radio back in July - and had another opportunity to do a live interview on New Wine FM, during the summer festival. If you'd like to listen in, there's a link to the 20 minute interview on the Premier website here.
4. It's so lovely to be with people in person
As someone who self-describes as a 'sociable introvert', I really enjoy chatting with people.
But, as someone who by choice (and some necessity) does a fair bit of life online - and regularly works remotely, it's been great to spend time with lots of people face to face 'in real life' - and to actually be in the same room at the same time!
I've spent more than half of the last month under canvas, at the Bath & West Showground, in Somerset, at both weeks of the New Wine summer festival. A fair bit of the time not spent in worship, teaching and seminars, was spent meeting people for coffee, in the Leaders Lounge. It's been an opportunity to have some great conversations, with people from across the UK. I'm really looking forward to staying in touch with many of the people I've met - even if it might be some time, before we see each other in person again.
If you're one of the people who has recently subscribed to the blog, after we met at New Wine, thanks for signing up - it's great to have you here!
I'm already looking forward to being at the New Wine Women and Leadership Conference in November. Please feel free to drop me a message and let me know here, if you're planning to be there - and would like to connect. I'd love to hear from you.
5. Being in 'Thin Places' changes us - and changes things.
This summer at New Wine, the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, mentioned how the Bath & West Showground has become something of a 'thin place' for him and his family, over a number of years.
The term 'thin places' is originally a Celtic phrase, used to describe places on the earth, where the gap between heaven and earth somehow seems much 'thinner'. For some of us this might be about being outdoors, in nature. For others, it may be about being where God's people gather together - and have done for many years.
For me, time away from my everyday life and work, in an atmosphere of worship, prayer and expectancy of God, always changes me - and changes my perspective on what matters most.
Being in the presence of God is good for many, many things.
But as well as it being about worship, it's also a chance to seek what God is calling us to, in this next season - to get some sense of divine perspective. And then, to plan - and live and work, so that those things are lived out in the world.
As we prepare (or continue) to make plans, for the Autumn and further ahead, I'd love to encourage you to set aside some time to get away - perhaps for a day, a morning, or even an hour or two.
Think of it as an opportunity to get away to meet with God, as you meet with your diary, so that you're in a great place to make good plans, as the pace of life begins to pick up again.
I've got a day set aside towards the end of next week to do this myself.
6. I'd love to plan some Quarterly Planning Days for you in 2018/19.
One of the things I'd like to offer, over the next 12 months, is the chance for people to come away with me - and a group of others - either online or in person, for some affordable (Christ centred) 'Quarterly Planning Days'. Each one would be a stand alone event - and there will be four of these in total through the year - most likely towards the end of November, February, May and August.
It will only be possible to run these, if there are enough people committed to joining us; so if that sounds like something that would be of interest, I'd love to hear from you. Feel free to drop me a message here.