This past week, I was a volunteer in the bookstore at The Gospel Coalition national conference. You might have picked that up already from Twitter, but just in case, now you know. You might have also seen the partial book review post that I hadn’t quite finished before its scheduled post date arrived. That review will post in full tomorrow.
This was my second TGC national conference and third April in a row at something like this. Because of online connections, and connections made in previous years, most of what I was looking forward to was hanging out with people. Being an introvert, this is always kind of weird. But, it was a great time and I’m glad that testing week coincided with the conference so I could go without taking a day off school.
I was in and out of the actual sessions, mainly because I knew I could listen to them online later. I went to one of the several workshops that were offered and stayed around past my bed time to go to the late night panel with Christ and Pop Culture. I was also grateful to be able to go to lunch with several other writers earlier in the day. I was able to meet up with several other friends and catch up and even made some new connections. I was also told I should be a manager at Lifeway because of my bookstore prowess.
One of the by-products of a conference like this is motivation. For me at least, being able to talk to other people about writing, ministry, and life in general helps to give me the encouragement to push on with some things and let others fall to the side. I came away from the conference more motivated to pursue writing projects, keep the Ph.D plan a live option, and really start pushing to raise support for SHIFT. You can sign up for our newsletter here to read our current support letter. If you have any advice on this kind of thing, I’d love to hear it!
The motivation that came from TGC was timely, especially in light of some reading I’ve been doing. I’ll put together a more complete post on that at some point, but the gist of it is that I need to focus on what is essential, rather than being spread so thin. Also, as I become more focused, especially in the area of teaching and ministry, it helps to trim down my library. It also helps focus on how much of a chunk of time book reviews are worth and what kind of writing might be better instead (or in addition to).
So hopefully the upcoming late spring and summer will turn into a season of focusing and growing in discipline with my time, talents, and treasure. I like having a lot on my plate, but it helps if it is mostly on one plate rather than several. Probably can’t get it down to just one, but I can group them together as much as possible and try to eliminate things in my schedule that don’t fit.