The Yellow Sticky Notes

The Yellow Sticky Notes

“Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing.

John15:5

I read through all the editorial comments in a row, just as I was instructed. But I was not prepared for the hard shove back into imposter syndrome that would accompany the task.

There were comments about firming up my story arc. Comments about adding details in some places for clarity, but many more for conciseness. But the worst comments were questioning my usage or interpretation of scripture.

Those were the ones that sent me falling hard back into imposter syndrome.

Who did I think I was? A writer? A Bible teacher?

And the Enemy was happy to join in the taunting.

"Ha! I told you, you can't teach the Bible. You can't even read it and understand it. You better go run and hide."

These thoughts came flying at me without warning over the next few days. Candidly, I did hide for a few days. But God was there through three of my really good friends. They all gave me the love and compassion my broken heart needed. And they all gave the wise counsel to rest in God and seek Him for what to do next.

So I did.

A few mornings later, I woke with the specific instructions to buy a new poster board and a pack of brightly colored sticky notes. That was it. I was not aware of what to do with these yet, but somewhere I knew that following one step at a time was important. So I went to Walmart on the way back from school pick up that evening and acquired the materials.

Then the next morning I was instructed to rewrite the whole story in a timeline fashion color coding the sticky notes. Hot pink for what was going on in my life at that time. Purple for how I was feeling about myself, my faith, and God. Neon green for what God was teaching me. Then the final instruction came. Looking over everything, I was to look and see what God had done, writing it on the note boasting my favorite color, sunflower yellow.

He chased me down even as I was turning from Him in my confusion and anger for where He placed me.

He welcomed me home with arms open wide when I finally relented and turned back toward Him.

He worked gently with me through hard places He allowed in order to weed out my worldly ways and grow deep roots of faith.

He opened doors for me that I did not deserve but aligned my life with His plans for me.

He revealed deep wounds that I did not even know were there and then healed them with His love.

He taught me more about who He really is and deepened my relationship with Himself.

By the time I was finished, I could only bow my head in awe, gratitude leaking out of my eyes. There is no room for doubt in this story I penned because it isn't about me. It's about our amazing God who rescues His children simply because He wants to be with them. I am not a great writer or Bible teacher because of me, but because of what God has done through me. And the yellow sticky notes served as a reminder He has done a lot and still has much work to do, but right where I am I can and will glorify His name.

Seeing the Belief:

One of the things I have noticed that is hard for me is to not try and prove myself in my giftings and callings. It's almost as if I barely believe in them myself so I am looking for validation from others when. What I need to do is trust God and what He has said about me. But this is so hard. We certainly try and get the glory for our giftings in our world and hide our weaker places. We don't just want to care for the unhealthy, we want to be known as the best surgeon in the country. While there is nothing wrong with gaining affirmation for a job well done, we have to be so careful we don't place our value in the hands of others. And we certainly have to be careful not to seek glory in these places to bolster our low self-worth. We must constantly keep our eyes on what God has done, and point others to what He has done. This is key to humbling ourselves before God.

Do you doubt what God has said about you?

Does that cause you to seek validation from others?

 

Drink From the Well:

John 15:1-6

“I am the true grapevine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch of mine that doesn’t produce fruit, and he prunes the branches that do bear fruit so they will produce even more. You have already been pruned and purified by the message I have given you. Remain in me, and I will remain in you. For a branch cannot produce fruit if it is severed from the vine, and you cannot be fruitful unless you remain in me.

“Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing. Anyone who does not remain in me is thrown away like a useless branch and withers. Such branches are gathered into a pile to be burned.

Jesus uses a grapevine analogy to train the disciples on how they needed to remain in God to produce anything of value. This is such a beautiful picture of humility and the heart of our loving God. When we realize that God is the source for everything we need and submit to Him, He fills us with His love and everything we need for what He has called us to.

Read John 15:7-11

Jesus explains more about how we are nourished and filled in His love. What does this tell you about God's heart for you?

 

Luke 14:7-20 - Jesus Teaches About Humility

 When Jesus noticed that all who had come to the dinner were trying to sit in the seats of honor near the head of the table, he gave them this advice: “When you are invited to a wedding feast, don’t sit in the seat of honor. What if someone who is more distinguished than you has also been invited? The host will come and say, ‘Give this person your seat.’ Then you will be embarrassed, and you will have to take whatever seat is left at the foot of the table!

“Instead, take the lowest place at the foot of the table. Then when your host sees you, he will come and say, ‘Friend, we have a better place for you!’ Then you will be honored in front of all the other guests. For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”

Jesus tells this parable to model how God opposes the proud but exalts the humble (James 4:6. 1 Peter 5:5). In a world of self-exaltation, look at me culture, how does this story challenge you?

Have you ever thought about the fact that the people in the Bible times struggled with trying to one-up each other also? What does this tell you about the human heart?

 

Phil 2:6-8

 You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had.

Though he was God, he did not think of equality with God as something to cling to. Instead, he gave up his divine privileges he took the humble position of a slave and was born as a human being. When he appeared in human form, he humbled himself in obedience to God and died a criminal’s death on a cross. 

1 Peter 5:6-7

 So humble yourselves under the mighty power of God, and at the right time he will lift you up in honor.  Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you.

God has been teaching me a lot about what humility is as I lean in with Him. I had not thought about true humility being full submission to and full reliance on God. But I like that. Although it often seems I will never get over my human pride, I know that I can always repent, resubmit, and rely on God. What could full submission and full reliance on God look like in the season of life you are in?

Break Up With the World 

 For every child of God defeats this evil world, and we achieve this victory through our faith. And who can win this battle against the world? Only those who believe that Jesus is the Son of God. 1 John 5:4-5

Every God-born person conquers the world’s ways. The conquering power that brings the world to its knees is our faith. The person who wins out over the world’s ways is simply the one who believes Jesus is the Son of God. 1 John 5:4-5 MSG

I love this promise from God. Which is why I put it twice. I love it because I know from experience that I cannot overcome this evil world, or even change the worldly ways in me by myself. I know from first-hand experience. But God has promised that I will overcome as long as I believe that Jesus is the Son of God. It is His work in me. Just like the yellow sticky notes reminded me, this is God's story. My job is to seek Him and submit to Him. He does everything else.

So let's break up with trying to be better versions of ourselves in our own willpower and humble ourselves before the only one worthy of honor and glory. We can trust Him because He cares for us.

Let's Pray:

Father, please forgive our human pride. You know it runs through each of us. Please help us overcome this worldly way of seeking glory, validation, or approval as we submit to you. Only faith in you and your powerful work in us can restore us and you faithfully at work in all those who are turned toward you. Thank you for rescuing us. Thank you for your restorative work. Help us to see all that you have done, and all that you are doing so we can shout it from the rooftops. The Lord, the Lord himself, is my strength and my defense; he has become my salvation. In Jesus' name, amen. 

Micah Ruth

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