Running is a major part of my life. Firstly, it keeps me fit and healthy and I’m thankful to God for a year of good health and strength. I don’t take that for granted. Secondly, it helps keep me mentally and spiritually healthy. Running is a decompression chamber. During a long run, I can process, pray, forgive, reflect, and generally manage pressures. The more I run, the more relaxed I feel and generally closer to God. There are few better places to pray than in a forest or by a lake. All of those reasons and more explain why run continues to be one of my four key life words.
2019 Goals: Run 1500km; sub 45 for 10k; sub 21 for 5k and sub 1:45 for the half-marathon.
2019 Reality: Run 1391km; 44:34 for 10k; 21:24 for 5k and 1:43:09 for the Stockholm half-marathon.
In terms of performance, I bested two of my goals and ran over 400km further than the previous year. I’m running more frequently, running faster and running further than I have in years. I’ve started taking my kids regularly to our local Parkrun and they even made me parkrunner of the week back in September. So I’m not complaining. I would like a bit more speed over 5k and I think it’s coming but just not quite enough this year.
2020 Goals: Run 1700km; sub 44 for 10k; sub 21 for 5k; sub 1:40 for the half-marathon. Maybe run an ultra.
Reading is here because it is a part of my work (both as an editor & a church leader) but also it is part of how I try and love the Lord with all of my mind. I want my body to be stretched and fit. Same goes for my brain. Reading does the job for that.
2019 Goal: Read 50 books.
2019 Reality: Read 51 books
It’s been a decent year too for reading. Including audiobooks and family books, I managed to read 51 books sneaking past my goal of 50. As I’ve set my sights on reading I’ve noticed how much time I spend on other things – films, TV, video games. I could take a chunk out of those and give them to reading and I could definitely read more – which is something I enjoy doing. As with running the more time you give to what you love, the more you love it and the more you want to do it. It’s a virtuous cycle. I’m not quite there but I’m trending in the direction I want to go. So I’ve decided to significantly up my target. If I upped it to say 55 I’d probably make no changes in how I went about things but to raise it by 50% – well I’m going to have to work for it or give in.
I’ve already made a start on my reading list.
2020 Goal: Read 75 books
The big achievement of the year was the release of Mike Bett’s book The Prayers of Many which I’ve been working on over the past couple of years. It calls the church to rediscover the vital importance of our prayers together. You can read some extracts here, here and here. It’s also available in Dutch & German (all links are Amazon associate links so I’d get a small contribution to the site).
I’ve been working on a variety of other books for other people too and hopefully, they will see the light of publication in 2020.
2019 Goals: More original & consistent content on the blog and work on a book.
2019 Reality: No improvement on the blog front & nothing on a book front
Blog stats (Source: Jetpack)
2018: 43,928 views. 28,835 visitors.
2019: 39,479 views. 26,252 visitors.
Although my Google Analytics stats for 2019 are: 78,393 views & 26,424 visitors. So the same amount of visitors but twice as many views. Not quite sure why.
I wrote the following last year and I think it still holds true for this year which is a little depressing.
“I think probably writing is the area I feel least satisfied with. I’m doing it a lot but probably due to the time challenges that come with leading a church, I didn’t invest in my own writing as much as I would have liked. I spend a lot of time working on things others have written and ended up not making the time for my own writing. As a result, I’m too often just sending out link posts on this blog because I haven’t carved out the time to write something original. We’ll see if I can do better during 2019.” – Repeat for 2020.
This one is the most important. If I cannot lead myself, I cannot lead others. If I cannot lead my family, I should not lead my church. Fortunately, I get to have another crack at things in 2020.
As a family, we’re learning and growing and having fun. Most days it’s a joy. And the older they get the more fun it is. Emma and I have been married 15 years and it’s getting better each year. I’m not taking either of those for things for granted and will continue to make every effort to keep working hard as a husband and a dad.
Grace Church has doubled in size, launched a Swahili language service and handled two moves of venue in the space of a calendar year. As a headline, it’s an attention grabber, but there’s so much to be done in developing teams and making disciples that I’m not resting on any laurels. Let’s crack on.