Notes to myself

One day, while I was surfing the internet at my old job (they didn’t mind, when we didn’t have anything else to do), I came across a random blog post that touched my heart. I long ago lost the original post, but its message has stayed with me: Be BOLD! It stayed with me because I wrote “BOLD!” on a little yellow post-it note and stuck it on my computer.

I didn’t know it then, but I’d started something that really works for me. As it turns out, when I look at something every day, even when I only glance at it from time to time, it sticks with me. I remember it and mull on it and find myself pulling it out in situations away from my desk where I need it. It’s like my own special form of meditation.

Over the last couple of years, I’ve gotten quite a collection of these little posties around my computer screen. The original “BOLD!” is still there (well, it isn’t the original…that postie lost its stick a long time ago). It reminds me that there are little ways to be bold everyday, that these matter to me and in my heart and who knows what they’re doing for the people around me. As I’ve tumbled the concept of boldness around in my head, I’ve realized that fear is only the beginning of the journey. It’s never the end. So fear is the beginning of boldness, in Christ, in life, in everything.

Next to that, I have a couple of scripture references that have meant a lot to me. One is, “The Lord will fight for you; you have only to be still,” which is what God says to Moses right before the parting of the Red Sea. Can you imagine that? I’d be hopping up and down saying, “Still!!! You want me to be still??!!? If I stay still, WE’LL ALL DIE!!” And yet, that’s what Moses does, and they walk across on dry land. Methinks there’s something to it.

The other scripture-postie says “Rise, and have no fear,” which is what Jesus says to the disciples who see the Transfiguration, right after Moses and Elijah have risen back up into the sky. Um…yeah. Right. “Jesus, pardon this fear, but I just saw FLYING PEOPLE. And you were talking to them.” And yet, they stand, dust themselves off, look around, and realize he’s telling the truth. Some days, when I struggle to feel like I’m standing at all, I look at this and have courage, because he is there and he is inviting me on.

More recently, I’ve started making more of these little notes, to the point that I’m retiring some of them today (not tossing them, just putting them somewhere else), because, for some reason, they want me to be able to see my computer screen at work. One of these recent ones says, “Beloved,” which is a concept I (and the rest of Christendom) picked up from Brennan Manning. Some days, it takes more than I have to believe this is true, so it’s nice when I read it from outside. That little note is like someone else’s voice reminding me that, no matter how I feel, I am his Beloved. Another more recent note says, “Let it Be,” from this video that Di posted a while back. Sometimes, it’s time to just stop churning inside and leave things alone for a while. And other times, there’s nothing more I can do. I’ve said my say, done what was mine to do, and I have to leave things in someone else’s hands. It’s part of being human and living this life that things aren’t always ideal, or even ok, and I can either worry about them anyway or let them be.

I have another Manning quote (and my longest postie ever!) that says, “Trust yourself as one entrusted by God with everything you need to live life to the full.” When I first read that in…Ruthless Trust, I think…it blew my mind. Really? In him I have everything I need? To live life to the full? What? But it’s true…so true. And so I keep it there, to remind myself that it’s true but also to remind myself of my own marvel that it’s true. God’s gifts are so good, and when he’s in me I can truly live as I was meant to.

My silliest postie says, “Nourish the world with your words, yo,” from Ariel Gore’s book on writing. I think most of you know that writing is one of the things I’m about, and nourishing the world is what I’d love for my words to do. The postie reminds me of my dreams, that they’re not too far off, and that I’m working towards them every day, whether I know it or not. God is taking me somewhere, and that place has to do with my words. Yo.

I’ve added two more posties just this morning. That’s unusual. If you do the math, I’ve had the posties for roughly two years and I have nine of them, which comes to a postie every 2 2/3 months. One of this morning’s posties I’ve been meaning to make for while, and when I had the pen out it seemed as good a time as any. It says, “Strength will rise…we will wait.” It’s from that worship song, and it feels so close to where I am right now. There are so many things that I want, things that I feel like God is offering me, but the accepting of them feels like it takes more strength than I have. So I’ll accept what I can, wait, and accept more when he gives the strength. This reminds me that life with God is a combination of activity and passivity, that we wait, move, wait, move, etc., until, together with him, we walk into life everlasting.

My last postie, also made this morning, says, “Follow the wild goose.” Christianne mentioned to me that, in Celtic Christian thought, the Holy Spirit is like a wild goose. He goes wherever he wants, and you never know where he’s going to show up next. You chase, or wait, and eventually find him in new and surprising ways. I like this because life so often feels like a wild goose chase. I wonder if I’m really going somewhere, or simply running hither and thither. According to this image, a wild goose chase isn’t something pointless, silly, and painful, but something real. I’m chasing after the Holy Spirit, wherever he may go!

May you all chase after him today, and may you find him! Walk on.



Filed under My Days

12 responses to “Notes to myself

  1. wow, sarah. so much going on here. i love these thoughts you share because they encourage me. now that i have some walls around my desk (instead of being in a fishbowl surrounded by air), maybe i can do the same.

    the one that really sticks out to me that you shared is the one to do with moses:
    “The Lord will fight for you; you have only to be still.

    neither you nor i have to go very far back into our archives of conversations to know why this is important, why this sticks out. and we’ve got some common ground here, you & i, don’t we? i think this really sticks out because lately i’ve become concerned about what i am doing. i’m not doing enough. when really … is he limited by my stillness? maybe, like with moses, stillness is what he wants of me. maybe it’s what he’s commanding.

    i’m definitely getting off on a tangent here, but now that i’ve moved desks, i am looking forward to surrounding myself with encouraging words, reminders of who God is, who i am, & what my life is about. there’s some mystery still to all those things, but it still can’t hurt to be reminded of what we do know, can it?

    my mom shared a quote with me once that was something like: the one thing human beings are really good at is forgetting. (no, i don’t know the source … or if that’s the right quote, for that matter.)

    so it is good to be reminded.

    thanks for sharing these words, sarah.

    love you.

  2. You worked in a fishbowl? That sucks! I hate even wondering if people can see over my shoulder…if they’re watching me. Ok, that sounds completely paranoid. I’m so glad you’re out of the fishbowl and into the…box? With walls of your very own.

    Anyway…yeah…I love that quote, too. When I read it I thought, “Really? That’s in the Bible. But I’ve read Exodus…” But it’s there (well, in some translations…in others it says “silent” instead of “still,” which is virtually the same thing in the situation, I think.)

    And I so hear you…totally hear you.

  3. Sarah, I have had this window open on my computer ALL DAY and just haven’t had a chance to finish and comment on it. But I wanted to say, at least, that I’m so glad you wrote this post on your beloved Post-It notes. When you mentioned in an e-mail that you were thinking of doing it, I meant to write back with a huge, honkin’ “YEAH!! DO IT!! THAT WOULD BE FUN, AND I WOULD LOVE TO LEARN MORE!!” : )

    And it’s true. It was fun, and I loved learning more. All the particularities of you that make you so beautiful: that’s a snapshot of what I saw of you in this post.

    You spoke of your posties with such tenderness. I could tell they’d really been with you on your journey. I could tell they’ve been with you for a while, just in the gentle way in which you spoke of them.

    I should add that you inspired me. Just this morning, in light of the thoughts swirling in my brain from the things we’ve all been talking about through e-mail, I pulled out a mini hot-pink postie and wrote: “Be what GOD calls you to be.” Emphasis on the GOD part.

    Kirsten, what you shared about humans being really good at forgetting reminds me of how the Hebrews used to erect altars to memorialize the things God did in certain places. I kinda feel like our AO/EI blog is an altar of sorts that will be set up as a testimony to what God did, so we do not forget.

  4. Tammy

    Flying people, uh Jesus……….HELLO. Or maybe, oh hell no.
    Distill and know i am the Lord…..did i read that right?
    The higher the concentration the deeper “the still” process, or is that the passing out phase?
    God doesn’t care about the pathway to “still” just as long as you get there. There are many paths to god my child. Now close your eyes and become one with the universe.

    Depending on how deep in the spirit you want to go, i would highly recommend a bottle of Jack Daniels to accelerate the process.

    Now if you pop a second bottle, that is when it gets real interesting, all kinds of flying people begin to emerge…….Moses, Elijah, Mohammad, Allah, Buddha, your neighbors grandma (wearing somebodies panties on her head that she hardly knows), the dog wearing black leather and chains, carrying a whip, Santa and his 7 gay reindeer, (Rudolph was the only one straight), and out of nowhere there goes Peter cottontail hopping down the pot-plant trail………oh that could SO be one of my nursery rhymes.

    well i ran off into one of insane trails.

    i’m just foolin around you had a lot of intense thought here.

    Leave it to me i could find something totally stupid from a funeral. As a matter of fact i can think of a really irreverent funeral story, and if had of been there you would have laughed your ass off regardless of the dead body. No one got ‘throwed’ out the funeral except the wailing wife.

  5. Tammy

    Oh, that funeral thing really happened, but you would have to hear the whole story.

    And i meant to say there that i knew your blog was on a more serious note and that i could EVEN find something just plain stupid from a funeral. I have no reverence Sarah not even for the dead, God have mercy on my soul.

  6. Christianne–I’m so glad it was fun to read! And that I inspired you to take up a postie of your own.

    Tammy–you make me laugh, girl. And I knew you were just having fun…no problem! Tell me that funeral story sometime!

  7. di

    trying to post these directly but no dice

    let’s try this
    and this

    created for you here

  8. di

    ahhhh! moderation! we shall wait and see if any of those worked.

  9. OOO, Di, those are fabulous. Thanks SOOO much!

  10. In the beginning of your post, I was thinking, look at that, she has rise and be still both–how perfect because it’s a balance. Then you said what I was going to say.
    Have you read Mark Batterson’s book about the Holy Spirit and the Wild Goose? (I can’t remember the title off the top of my head and am too lazy to look it up though it would only mean opening up a new window on my browser and googling it [or gaggling it?] which would’ve taken less time than this whole aside, but I can’t resist a good parenthetical note if I can help it!)

  11. A thought on the wild goose.

    A goose will slow down eventually. They must eat, drink and so on. You will catch the goose eventually.

    2nd, beware the land mines the goose sometimes leaves behind. These are the distractions that get us off the course of chasing the goose. If we settle on these things then it will just stink, and then we have catching up to do to get to the goose.

    Please dont anathematize (sp) me for comparing poop and The Holy Spirit in one sitting.

    Pardon me, I have vivid pictures in my mind now of chasing geese…

  12. Heather–as a fellow parenthetical note maniac, I understand. And yes, I have heard of the book…it was a discussion about it that led to the postie, in fact. I’ve just never read it. Any good?

    Carl–I love it! And isn’t that the best thing about God, that you CAN find him? And the part about poop totally makes me laugh…and it’s true…we have to find HIM, not things that remind us of him, even if those things come from him.

    No ahathematization on this blog…

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