In August I’d like to write a simple daily blog. I’m going to try to increase my normal output from once every week or so… to once a day. I hope to be able to do that, as the month of August is different for me. In August I normally rest from most of my normal routine and instead spend a week at New Wine (where I am today), a week on holiday in Jersey and then a couple of weeks reading, praying and planning for the coming season, living at an intentionally slower pace.
So here I am at the New Wine Summer Conference in Newark, along with thousands of others from the North and East. And what a great do it is! Inspiring speakers. Heart-felt worship. Chance to meet new people and catch up with old friends too. And all done in the context of camping.
Camping is not everyone’s thing and if I’m honest it would not be my preferred accommodation choice. But the more I think about it, camping has many benefits. For instance, spending so much time outdoors is giving me not only a fresh respect for creation but also a renewed wonder for the Creator. Also, camping takes us back to basics and reminds us that simple things are important. I saw this today when someone camping near me pointed out that they had really enjoyed the process of making a cup of tea. To fix a brew, they said, requires great patience – as they find water, fill a kettle, light a stove and then wait 15 minutes for the water to boil before filling a teapot or mug. They actually found great pleasure in deliberately focussing on this one simple task.
All this reminds me that slowing down can be helpful and healthy. I will be doing that as much as can in August, aiming for a simpler, calmer month. But for many of us, simplifying things is something we need to be doing more generally and not just for a few weeks once a year. That’s why one of the key pieces of advice St Paul gives his young apprentice,Timothy (2 Tim 4:2 MSG) is: ‘Just keep it simple’.
Are you enjoying keeping it simple?