The past few months, I’ve been working through Tsh Oxenreider’s course, the Upstream Field Guide. It’s been slooooow going. This is mostly because I’m easily distracted, always looking for the next thing, and try to do everything at once. That’s why I’m still not done yet.
A few weeks ago, I shared with you my desire to swim upstream for the rest of my life. I’m a part of this world, but with Christ living inside me, I know I’m made of different stuff than the world. I’ve got some amazing role models to inspire me and give me a practical idea of what being a world-changer looks like. I might never have taken note of the impact they’ve had on me if I wasn’t forced to sit down and think about who my role models were. That’s something the Upstream Field Guide encouraged me to do in one of the lessons.
Tsh also asks the course participants to think about their favorite quotes. I took a look at my Pinterest board, “Quotes for Life” where I had saved quotes that really moved me. I went through my Kindle notes in my favorite books to find the quotes that had made me think “yes!” while reading. I started paying attention to things people said in movies and in presentations I heard on board the Africa Mercy.
Although, I’m always open to hearing more amazing quotes that inspire me to live life in abundance, I’ve narrowed a few down that I just love!
My Favorite Quotes For Abundant Life
“Wear the world like a loose garment.”
This quote comes from the book Simply Tuesday: Small-Moment Living in a Fast-Moving World (affiliate link) by Emily P. Freeman. It’s a rather strange quote standing alone, but I loved the comparison between wearing a loose fitting garment and not making the world all about me. Tight clothes make you suck in your gut. They leave no room to grow, no room to move. There’s no wiggle room, no room for flaws or mistakes.
Ten years ago I was a nanny throughout a week-long conference because the parents were directing the conference during the day. I was paid and the children were relatively easy to tend to. At the end of the conference I sat in on the closing banquet where many working behind-the-scenes were thanked and acknowledged. I kept hoping they would publicly thank me but the list came to an end and I had not been named.
That’s wearing the world like a loose garment. It’s not about me. I can “take a backseat” and be real with myself. My worth doesn’t come from public affirmation or the (so-called) amazing things I do.
“Success isn’t in believing I can do anything but in knowing I can do nothing.”
Another one from Emily P. Freeman. I love this book because I need more practice to stop thinking I’m so freakin’ awesome. The whole book could be summarized by saying, “Be small. Embrace that smallness.” As a female who grew up in the 90’s I heard the message loud and clear that I can do anything I set my mind to. It’s not hard for me to believe I’m beautiful, I’m worthy, and I deserve to be here. But truly I can never save the whole world. The truth is that the camera pointing at me is actually so far zoomed out that I’m an invisible speck in a vast universe.
“At first it can feel terribly exciting to imagine anything is possible. That is, until I sprint flat into my own limits in the form of lack of time, lack of energy, comparison, competition, and distraction.” Freeman reminds me of those little devils that sneak into every part of my daily life. I think I can do anything until I get distracted or spend hours reading articles online. All of a sudden it’s 1 AM and I haven’t spent time with God or practiced my French. Or it’s 5 PM and I’m not finished with a project I should’ve had time to finish. Knowing I can do nothing actually brings a light airiness, just like a breezy T-shirt.
“What you focus on expands.”
Some time ago I saw a Facebook comment from a friend lamenting the endless hatred, prejudice, and discrimination she saw while scrolling down her newsfeed. I remember thinking I must be lucky because I rarely see that level of negativity on my feed. My dad responded with this bite-size quote about focus and I realized I probably wasn’t lucky. Rather I had unknowingly crafted my community both on Facebook and IRL.
See, Facebook will show you more of what you like and react to. If you always like stories about weddings, you’ll see more of that. Additionally, it’s easy to hide things you don’t want to see on Facebook. I don’t usually have to hide stories from my newsfeed, but I’m sure I have in the past. The way Facebook gives you more of what you want to see represents the message of this quote.
In all areas of life, what you pour energy into, invest time into, and focus on takes up space. Your life has limited space, therefore certain things get pushed out. So it’s not luck I have. It’s my positive attitude. The negativity is crowded out.
“If you love deeply you’re going to hurt badly.”
It was the last few shifts at my hospital working on a med-surg floor and my coworkers knew I was leaving soon to volunteer with Mercy Ships. None of us really knew what kind of experience I was walking into. All we knew was I was leaving a stable job to help people I didn’t know.
I shared with a coworker that I was worried I would have my heart broken by the stories of the patients I’d be caring for. My coworker was a new dad and he shared with me some deep wisdom that gets casually handed out over a nurse’s station. He knew the existence of this baby meant the condition of his heart hung forever in limbo. He loved that baby so much that he had opened his heart to the possibility of irreparable pain. But he was willing to take that risk out of a deep love for his son.
This quote sounds like a threat, but I read it in reverse: If you want to avoid deep hurts, avoid love. I can’t do that for long without my heart turning cold. I want a soft, tender, living heart, so I need to keep loving, no matter what the risk.
Read my other posts related to the Upstream Field Guide:
What are your favorite quotes? Do you have a quote that stays in mind all the time or do you have a different one resonating each week? Share your thoughts in the comments below!