Posted by: pendrops | October 26, 2006

religion of Post-It Notes


“I worship at the altar of Post-It® Notes,” she said.

I wasn’t sure where this woman was going, this woman who is part of a group of ladies I meet with once a week. But my head snapped up from my scribbled notes and turned in her direction.

“I write down the things I have to do each day on Post-It® Notes and then stick them on my fridge, on the steering wheel of my car, in my day-timer, on my mirror. As I finish each task, I proudly throw away the yellow scraps. I guess making lists and checking things off isn’t a bad thing, but…”

I had been nodding as she talked, silently confessing my own slavery to an unreasonable daily to-do list. But she wasn’t done.

“…at the end of the day, when I’m laying in bed, I judge my worth based on whether or not I threw away every note. If I don’t throw away every one, I feel shame and guilt, like I’m a horrible person. Or if I do accomplish everything on those sticky notes, I feel proud, worthy, like a really great person.”

Tears brimmed, wanting to fall from my eyes, as I let my mind circle around her words.

This has been a profound year for me, my revelation year. I have found myself in the unnerving and exhilarating shadow of transforming truths, learning and growing, falling and getting up again. The year has presented me with lessons about the peace that comes with mercy, the chains that come with perfectionism, the powerlessness of controlling, the bondage of a disordered body image, the tenderness of intimate love, and the beauty within.

And just when I didn’t think I had the capacity to take in one more life lesson, this woman’s acknowledgement of her Post-It® Note religion pierced me. I scanned my recent history; yes, I had a tendency to rate my goodness or badness on how much I got done each day. I couldn’t breathe until everything was just so: bills paid, laundry put away, counters wiped off, dinner on the table, and relationships managed.

But life is messier than that. Trying to tie it up neatly, make it black and white, contain it on a 2 x 2 slip of yellow paper, will always leave me disappointed.

The ladies had moved on to a different topic, but I hung back in the recesses of my heart, breathing in freedom and wiping my eyes as my own Post-It® chains loosed. I can throw away the yellow scraps. I can stop striving to live up to impossible, never-ending lists. I can find my worth somewhere else, in Someone else, who has nailed all my damned sticky notes to His cross.



  1. This is soooo me! I know – it’s awful. But, it’s nice to know that someone else feels this way, too. I constantly make my notes and have to check off my list or I have failed for the day.

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