It’s time for another post about what I learned this season! Which is good because I’m having an unexpectedly hectic week and otherwise I would’ve skipped posting this week. Which brings me to my first item:

  1. I don’t have to operate on anyone else’s schedule. This is something I finally figured out after allowing myself to sloooow dooown this summer. Of course there are deadlines and obligations and commitments that sometimes require me to work with other people’s schedules, but I don’t have to stick to a self-imposed schedule that I self-imposed out of a sense that I’m just supposed to, or out of a sense that if I don’t people will be unhappy with me. It helped to realize that these are imaginary people I’m trying to please because actual flesh-and-blood people don’t really care that much about these things.
  2. Mosquitoes find me delicious. This isn’t actually a new discovery, but living in the city and spending most of my time indoors I kind of forgot how they’re drawn to me. Since we moved back out to the country and we’ve been spending a lot of time outdoors, I was reminded with a vengeance. Which brings me to…
  3. There are several reasons why mosquitoes find some people more delicious than others.
  4. Community is good (drama and tragedy, not so much). I’ve mentioned before that the neighborhood we moved back to is where I grew up. I’ve also waxed nostalgic on this blog (or possibly my other one) about what a tight-knit community this was when I was a kid, and lamented how that’s been lost. Recently, there’s been an effort to bring back a sense of community, and neighbors have been reaching out and making more of an effort to know each other, all of which is great. But all of this was spurred by a couple of houses moving in that violate the neighborhood covenenants–50 year old covenants that a lot of the newer residents didn’t even know existed–all of which has resulted in a lot of fighting and drama, which is not so great.What’s worse, a couple of weeks ago one of our elderly residents was murdered in her home, and the sheriff’s department has no idea by whom and they have very little to go on. This is the first time ever in the half-century of this neighborhood’s existence that something of this nature has happened here, and it’s unsettling to say the least. One good thing coming out of this tragedy, though, is that everyone’s been laying aside their differences for the sake of reviving a neighborhood watch and developing a program to check up on our elderly neighbors and do our best to keep each other safe. Having just moved from a place where this sort of crime was sadly commonplace and only made people more withdrawn and untrusting of their neighbors, this is a refreshing thing to see.
  5. I’m a renaissance soul. I recently figured this out when I read this book, and it explained so much. Another name for this is scanner personality. I always thought my ADD was the reason I could never be happy just focusing on one thing, and why I’m always trying to cram so many different projects and interests onto my plate. But it turns out that it’s just my personality. Good to know.
  6. God’s will for my life is not that complicated. During my summer slow-down I read a lot of good books, one of which was Just Do Something: A Liberating Approach to Finding God’s Will by Kevin DeYoung. It gently (and sometimes not so gently) points out that this idea that there is a single, perfect path that God has laid out for us and it’s our job to discover that path by praying and agonizing over every big (and not so big) decision, seeking signs and refusing to make a move until we get a neon sign from Heaven telling us which way to go is not actually Biblical. I’ll be writing more about how this book helped me get over a lot of fear and actually start making decisions again in a future post, but if you’re stuck because you’re afraid of making a wrong move, this book is for you.
  7. It’s possible to be depressed and grateful at the same time. This is also a future blog post, but it’s worth mentioning in case there’s anyone reading this who, like me until recently, is struggling under the misapprehension that being depressed makes us ungrateful and bad Christians (this is one of those beliefs that I illogically apply to myself but not to other people. How often do we do that? Refuse to give ourselves the grace or cut ourselves the slack that we happily extend to others? Maybe we should all knock that off). But the truth is that we’re complex creations who are capable of feeling multiple things at once, and it’s entirely possible to be glad and grateful about answered prayer in one area while at the same time struggling with feelings of sadness and depression, and this does not make you a bad Christian. 
  8. True crime podcasts really are addictive. I passed on Serial when it was all the rage, and I’ve also skipped all the copycats, instead favoring Serial-style fictional mockumentaries with a fantasy/horror bent. But recently I decided to check out an investigative podcast called Up and Vanished, about the 2005 disappearance of teacher and former beauty queen Tara Grinstead from her small town in Georgia. And I’m totally hooked. I’ve been binging this podcast every chance I get since I first started listening last weekend. You should listen to it, even if you think true crime podcasts aren’t really your thing.

What did you learn this summer? I’d love to hear about it in the comments! And if you like lists like this, be sure to head over to Emily P. Freeman’s blog to see what she and her readers have all learned over the summer. ♥