10 Things I learnt on my summer "break"

Following just over a month of this self-imposed near-total break from my online life (obviously not including my paid work!) what have I discovered?

  1. WordPress’s auto-publish feature is bullet-proof and a real gift
  2. You hardly missed me as a result of 1. and my kind guest bloggers. Indeed, traffic remained pretty high considering it was August.
  3. Phil Moore is better than I am at explaining why digital fasts are so important.
  4. A week is definitely not long enough It took me much longer before I even began to experience digital withdrawal symptoms.
  5. It really is hard to stay away from the Internet for several weeks. My “fast” wasn’t total as the weeks drew on. I did scan-read Twitter, Facebook and a couple of blogs a little towards the end. I also started to write this post 20 minutes or so before my deadline,  and last week even wrote a couple of tweets ready for publishing later when my wife had gone away (the observant may have noticed that they appeared in my Twitter stream and were quickly deleted!) I also and scanned and deleted most of my accumulated emails on the same day. Finally, I started an Omnifocus to-do list to capture a small handful of ideas for things to blog about when they began to hit me about a week or so ago.
  6. The harsh truth is that I really don’t care about what my readers think about me as much as I thought I did (despite 5)   I trust I will continue to remember this and make sure that I take more care over being kind to my wife and children than I do over looking after you all!  Funily enough, I somehow suspect that the more I focus on pleasing my God and family, the more benefit I may be to you in any case.
  7. Learning more about how to not believe your own publicity is a vital result of such a break.  I can’t improve on what I said about this last year. Running a blog can appear to be self-serving at first glance. There has to be a good balance, however, between arrogantly pushing oneself forward, and on the other hand hiding whatever one can share with others under a bushel.  I am not sure I always navigate that tightrope entirely correctly, but, you have to believe me that I know that of myself I have nothing to offer you.  I will not ever apologize for shouting about my savior, and his death and resurrection for us. I know that if I can point you towards him, and to good resources that will help you in your spiritual journey I will have fulfilled one of the roles that God has for me in this life.  It is not the most important one, however.  That is clearly being a husband and father, which is much harder than helping at least some of people who read this blog for a few minutes a day.
  8. I remained really quite busy with secular work, preached three times, was on the radio once, and yet removing the digital piece resulted in me now feeling remarkably rested and refreshed. I may need to find some ways to lessen some of the burdens I carry.  Perhaps I need a secretary or something!
  9. Just hanging out with the kids in the evenings watching TV, playing Scrabble & Risk with them on the iPad, and being beaten at chess by my 11 year old son is a whole lot of fun. I need to carve out more time to do this better even with the blog up and running. If I could be a better husband and father and a worse blogger that would be fine with me.
  10. Having a break has made me itch to write again, and I have really enjoyed writing this post.  I won’t be giving up permanently any time soon!
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