Two posts in one day, this must be some kind of record for me. I just posted my July book report but wanted to capture a few things online. This blog has served as a journal of sorts and I so appreciate reading back over old entries on what I was thinking, reading, doing in years gone by.
I spent the evening conducting a ‘mid-year review’, with a candle lit and a big black puppy dog curled up at my feet. I was inspired (again!) by Sarah’s post, aptly titled ‘How to conduct a great mid-year review (on yourself!)’, and it had been in my diary for weeks and weeks – August 14 isn’t exactly mid year, is it! But I finally found an hour to pull out a notepad and jot down some thoughts.
I don’t do New Year’s resolutions, but I do pick a word for the year and always have a birthday list on the go. This year’s ‘word’ is actually two words: dig deep. It was good to take a few minutes and reflect on how that has unfolded in my life these past
six seven and a half months. I found a scribbled line from earlier in my journal ‘dig deep – a year for roots, not for blossoms‘, and while this year has brought forth some beautiful blossoms, there has been something powerful about focusing on the roots. I’ve muttered ‘dig deep’ to myself a hundred times this year already, after hard days at work, late nights of study, pushing through endless lists of errands. They’ve been a good fit, those two words of mine!
Following Sarah’s advice, I reviewed the past year according to some example questions – how have I grown? What have I learnt? Do the rhythms of my life feel more or less balanced? At the end of each year I usually do a run down of ‘What has gone well this year? What has not gone well this year? What do I want the next year to look like in terms of work, family, friends, spirituality, health, travel etc?’, so I included that in my mid-year review as well.
I am in a season of life that I recognise is busy, and know it should be busy, and I am grateful it is busy! But the review also reminded me of a sermon from Tim Keller on the Sabbath that I listened to earlier this year and have since listened again twice and taken two pages of notes. It’s called Work and Rest and I highly recommend it (it’s on iTunes). He talks about practicing Sabbath as an act of liberation (if you don’t rest, if you can’t say no, if you are too busy – you are a slave!) and as an act of trust (I am not the one who keeps the world running, He is!), and throws in a handful of very practical disciplines to practice Sabbath in our modern world. It’s one thing I want to embrace further for the rest of the year.
Subject change. Speaking of putting things in my diary, I’m a full blown convert to the Planner Pad system. A former colleague got me intrigued (she said she’d used the same type of planner for something like 10 years) and after using it myself for 10 months, I’m hooked. It’s not the prettiest planner but it’s so functional and it’s nothing washi tape and some highlighters can’t fix.
There’s a little notes section on each weekly spread in the planner and I’ve been using it to track expenses or file ideas or, more recently, capture favourite quotes. Two quotes that have inspired and challenged me of late:
“Have some fire. Be unstoppable. Be a force of nature. Be better than anyone here. Don’t give a damn what anyone things.” – Cristina Yang (yes, I get my inspiration from prime time television…)
It gave me a good kick to go hard on a few things at work, to not shy back or hold myself down.
And second quote:
“The quest for a contemplative life can actually be self absorbed, focused on my quiet and me. If we love people and have the power to help, then we are going to be busy. Learning to pray doesn’t offer us a less busy life, it offers us a less busy heart.” – Paul Miller, A Praying Life
I’m working through A Praying Life with a couple of girlfriends, we do dinner and discussion and prayer each Tuesday night. This quote jumped off the page at me – a reminder to look beyond myself, a reminder that it’s okay to be busy, a reminder that even in the busy, prayer will bring peace to my heart.
August ramblings, over and out.