using evernote in church

Posted: January 20, 2013 in Uncategorized

I am a note taker.  I mean, it’s my JOB to take notes at work.  But I am and always have been a note taker, everywhere I go.  It’s how I capture truth.  It’s how I see a new angle.  It’s how I save a delicious nugget of something to write about later.  It’s how I process as I listen.  If you sit through gatherings and run through life without notebooks and pieces of scratch paper and the margins of printed programs and between the lines of text in your books (especially the Bible) and backs of napkins and sticky notes abounding…uhh…good for you, I guess…but as for me, I GOTTA TAKE NOTES. 

This morning I was in church in Chicago, more specifically, at my heart’s home, JPUSA, listening to a pastor who consistently speaks a language that produces a flood of notes for me.  I didn’t have my regular Bible where I keep notes.  I didn’t have a little notebook.  I had a printed program, but no pen.  And here came the flood. 

Being the “techno-fresh” person I am (my boss coined that term to describe me), I just whipped out my Iphone, got into the Evernote app, opened a fresh page there, and started typing.  Evernote is a handy thing for a writer to have; besides tracking grocery lists and bike mileage and to-do reminders, I keep pages of writing prompts that I encounter, with the hope those prompts may aid me on days of having no words, but needing to keep my promise to write every day. 

I was sitting with my guy, Gary.  We are one of those couples who generally hold hands almost everywhere, almost all the time.  I know this makes some of you groan and roll your eyes (which is better than last fall, when I was giving him a long goodbye hug on a street corner in downtown Chicago and a homeless man – to whom we hadn’t been able to give any money – made a point to walk by us again to tell us to “get a room” – please…hugs are a crime now?  REALLY?)…but in our defense, we have both done some long, hard walking in the land of Maybe I’m Just Going To Be Alone Forever.  But I digress. 

I was holding Gary’s hand and listening to the message.  Getting one rich bit after another.  Each time I got another bit, I had to disengage from the hand-hold, pick up my phone, get back into Evernote, and type it out. 

After awhile this made me self-conscious. 

What if I was distracting or annoying Gary with my constant repetition of this cycle?

What if the Pastor happened to see me doing this, and thought I was surfing the internet instead of listening?

What if others around me saw it, and thought I was texting friends, or playing Angry Birds,or whatever?

Here’s the evidence I have grown up a bit:  not so long ago, these worries would have been mostly about *not wanting others to think I was being bad* – as I’ve mentioned in a recent blog, I am a highly compliant person.  My uneasiness would have been that Gary or the Pastor or someone seated around me might think I was Breaking the Rules.  This would have made my stomach hurt. 

BUT NOW my concern was different.  I didn’t so much care about their impression of me being wrong. 

I cared that Gary might have trouble concentrating on the message, because of all my movement.

I cared that the Pastor might feel like his (excellent) message was falling flat.

I cared that someone watching me might get so wrapped up in judging me for the moment, that they would lose the thread of the important stuff being said. 

In the end, I didn’t stop taking notes.  I decided to trust that if God was working on me, He was capable of working on others.  He could help those who wanted to hear, to hear.  He could help the Pastor who was willing to speak, to speak.  He could even stay in that important place in Gary’s life…more important than me.  I decided to trust that if He gave me a powerful message with a long page of tasty tidbits for later, it was okay for me to catch them by whatever means necessary. 

Guess what?  Gary enjoyed watching how I process and hear from the Lord.  The Pastor did not take me aside later to say I had stumbled him (and no evidence pointed to any problem there).  No one around me gave me any dirty looks or took me aside afterward for a proper tongue lashing or bit of loving-but-unsolicited counsel.  In other words:  ALL WAS WELL. 

Growing up is a good thing.  It’s funny, that the same problem (being self conscious) still comes up, even as its motivations change so much for the better.  It’s good, to be clear that I have in no way even begun to reach the point of thinking I might have “arrived.”  It’s great grace and mercy, being surrounded by people who let me grow freely, without the tether of irritation and unmet expectations.

Yeah, you could say I’m blessed.

How about you?

  1. Lee Bezotte says:

    Cool Evernote feature: If you have old post-its or scratch paper with notes on them you’d like to keep, you can use your phone to take a picture of them and save them to Evernote. Evernote reads your handwriting and will pull them up for you later if you do a text search for them (just as if they had been originally typed in the program).

  2. karen says:

    Lee, you are even techno-fresher than me! LOL I’m still cravenly envious of your pen that writes into your computer notes…Thanks for the tip!

  3. Elizabeth Bollinger says:

    So funny you blog about this today. I was in church this morning with no pen — and whipped out my phone to make a note. After finishing, I had a terrifying thought: what if someone saw me “playing” with my phone in church?! Me, breaking the rules. But just as quickly, I was calmed by the knowledge that God knew exactly what I was doing and he was good with it. (And I LOVE evernote — just discovered it five days ago. My fave new app.)

  4. Dave Rogers says:

    Karen, I do this all the time. Makes it super easy for me to review the notes later. Plus, I’ll always have them; usually the notes that I had taken during a sermon are lost/tossed out within a few weeks. I’ll even take photos of handouts that go along with the sermon.

    I used to get freaked out by what people might think about what I was doing, but like Elizabeth said, God knows and is fine with it.

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