Saving My Life Right Now: Summer 2018
Hi friends! I'm taking a break from my series in John this week to let you know about some of the things inspiring me this summer. I'll be back next week reflecting on the story of the woman at the well, but for now, let's talk about the summer... Summer has officially arrived in Britain. Schools have finished, and teachers, children and parents everywhere are feeling that mixture of relief and exhaustion as the six-week-long break stretches out ahead of us.
Most of the time, the holidays are a welcome change from the daily grind. Days take on a more relaxed feel when you don’t have to be anywhere in the morning; there’s a lovely feeling of freedom when you’re not beholden to timetables, bells and watches and can do what you want, when you want.
But the lack of structure can bring with it anxiety, too. The familiar routines of term time are often the glue that holds me together and without them, it’s easy to start coming apart.
So, just like in the Spring, I’m looking out for the things that are saving my life right now. I’m paying close attention to what brings me joy and enables me to flourish. Maybe something on my list will spark joy in you too.
Saving My Life Right Now: Summer 2018
Being Disciples, by Rowan Williams I was given this book by a friend and for a short read it certainly packs a big punch. It’s an inspiring, challenging consideration of what it means to be a disciple of Jesus. Whether you’ve followed him for 5 minutes or fifty years, this book is wholly worth your time.
Come Matter Here, by Hannah Brencher This easy-to-read memoir seems aimed at twenty-somethings, which I haven’t been for a good while now! Even so, I still enjoyed it. The author charts her journey through depression in a moving and often profound way that made me feel less alone.
Rising Strong, by Brené Brown This book is about how we all fall down, emotionally, and what we can do to get back up again. It’s helping me to rethink how I approach things when I’m feeling vulnerable and challenging me to own all the parts of my story, even the times I was disappointed or hurt, so I can work towards wholeness. I particularly loved her challenge to accept that people are generally doing the best they can, and to respond accordingly.
Undivided, by Vicky Beeching Undivided is Vicky Beeching’s coming out story. It details the painful struggles she faced growing up knowing that she was gay and feeling that she was living a lie in the Christian community she was part of. Whatever your views of homosexuality, this is an important book in challenging the church to show compassion, hospitality and love to those they have traditionally rejected and shamed.
Coming Clean, by Seth Haines A beautifully written exploration of faith and suffering set against the backdrop of the author’s journey back to sobriety after struggling with an alcohol addiction.
Inspired, by Rachel Held Evans I like Rachel Held Evans because she isn’t afraid to say what she thinks or ask hard questions. In this book, she writes about the bible, investigating what it might mean and how we might read it in a twenty-first century context. Each section starts with a reimagining of a bible story, which felt a bit long at times, but the rest of it is great and definitely worth a read.
'The Only Way Out is Through Jesus' I found this brilliant, uplifting video about how gang members in El Salvador are finding Jesus, while browsing The Guardian online. It’s amazing that this story made a national newspaper! If you need some good news to gladden your heart, this’ll do it.
Carpool Karaoke with Paul McCartney If you haven’t seen this, stop what you’re doing and click the link right now. It’s 20 minutes of pure, golden joy.
Anne with an e I’ve just finished series 2 of the Netflix reimagining of Anne of Green Gables. As a huge devotee of the books, I wasn’t sure what I’d make of it. Some of the quintessential moments from the books, such as Anne dying her hair, or the tea party where Diana gets drunk, make it into the series, but much of the storyline is changed or added to. More is also made of Anne’s darker past as an orphan, before she is adopted.
Having said all that, the cinematography and period details are incredible. It ended up feeling like a new story with familiar and well-beloved characters. If you loved Call the Midwife, you’ll probably love this too.
The Next Right Thing, by Emily P. Freeman Emily states that the goal of her podcast is to make some space for our souls to breathe and she certainly achieves that. Gentle words of Scripture and encouragement are accompanied by soft piano music to make for a very calming experience. If you need a short moment of peace and stillness over the summer, this is the podcast for you.
I’m loving this song right now:
And finally, some fun news…
I recently wrote a song with some friends. We’re recording it this summer so watch this space for a link when it’s done!
Your turn: what’s inspiring you this summer? What should I read, watch or listen to?
You might also like: Saving My Life Right Now: Spring 2018