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Sarah Starrenburg

Moving. Forward.

Posted on Mar 16, 2013 in Life | 0 comments

I have some very exciting news!

It’s been a long time coming, but I can now officially tell you…

That I…

Sarah Starrenburg…

Am NOT moving to Europe.


Okay, that may need some explaining.


There’s been the question, for some time, for QUITE some time [you may remember from this], as to whether or not I would be relocating overseas.

I’ve been very open to the possibility of either staying or going, depending on various factors playing out in various ways, but I had a deadline. And the deadline was this week. And so various factors have led to [finally!] a decision. I am staying.

And I am excited.

I am excited to be all-in, when I have psychologically been one foot in and one foot out for so long.

I am excited to dig in, to re-invest, to make plans, to say yes to opportunities. To really be here.

I am excited because for the last almost-year, and more intensely the last few months, I have mentally prefaced every thought, plan or idea with one of these qualifiers –

“If I stay…”

“Depending on whether I leave…”

“If I’m still here by…”


And that’s no way to live. Not for long, anyway.

There’s nothing wrong with the land of uncertainty. It has its charms, actually. The air is sweet with the intoxicating aroma of possibility. The moments are crisp with the immediacy of small joys that may soon be gone. The horizon is far and wide, and calls to your thinking to come chase it.

But you don’t make your home there.

The land of uncertainty is the place where you decide in which direction to jump. It’s not the place where you land.

It’s C.S. Lewis’ wood between the worlds. It’s the airport terminal. It’s a big, wide, four-way intersection in the middle of nowhere and everywhere.

And eventually, you need to choose. You need to commit. And you need to move forward.


The thing is, even if you don’t currently have an international move on the cards, it’s still possible to be living in the land of uncertainty. The law of the land is simple and easy to apply, no matter your circumstances:

Just value hedging your bets over tending your hedges.

Keeping your options open is of more importance in the land of uncertainty than investing, nurturing and building where you are. Now, this can be wholly appropriate for the right season, when big changes are in fact in the air – no-one wants you to “commit” to something and then just disappear.

But there comes a point at which you’re just putting off life. Real life. The kind that costs, but that also pays off. The kind of commitment that is to this place, with these people, for this season.

This is the kind of investment that yields dividends.

Because, at the end of the day, the land of uncertainty reminds me of a line from Robin William’s brilliant Genie in Aladdin –

“PHENOMENAL. COSMIC. POWER!!!!….itty bitty living space”


The land of uncertainty lets you see EVERY. POSSIBLE. DIRECTION…and not take any of them.

It has you trapped on the the other side of the glass – it only lets you look. Not choose. Not pursue. Not invest. Not attain. Not build.


Everyone should pass through the land of uncertainty once in while. It’s exhilarating. It lets you reassess things you would have otherwise never questioned.

Just don’t stay too long though. You’ve got places to go. And the road there might be closer than you think.






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Did I make the wrong decision?

Posted on Feb 26, 2011 in Faith | 3 comments

There’s a world of difference between making a wrong decision, and making a decision which doesn’t turn out at all the way you wanted.

For those of you who believe, as I do, that God has a plan for our lives, I suspect we often also believe on some level that there are two kinds of decisions. There is a God-ordained ‘right’ decision, which will, naturally, work out the way we want. And then there is a wrong, or at least, ‘less-God’s-perfect-will’ decision.

And we seem to tell ourselves sometimes that a decision must fall into category number two if it didn’t go the way we hoped.

But there’s a flaw in the logic somewhere.

When something doesn’t go the way you expected or hoped it would – when a trust is broken, or a relationship ends, or a deal goes south, or a job offer goes to someone else – we shouldn’t necessarily tell ourselves that if we’d only prayed more, we could have avoided it, or at least have seen it coming.

That’s a lot of pressure. And often, it’s just not that simple.

Jesus himself told us that in this world we would have trouble. We’ve already heard those words from God. So I’m not sure why we – why I – sometimes delude myself into thinking that if I just listen hard enough I can hear other counsel from my very same God that will allow me to, without exception, get out of what he’s already told me will come along from time to time on my journey.

It’s not that God necessarily wants or wills the trouble that comes our way. And it’s not that he doesn’t help us to make wise and even supernaturally guided choices that avoid some unnecessary pain. But we messed with the world. Our human brokenness has made this a world where, no matter how much we pray or listen or obey, we will have trouble sometimes.

The only simple part is this –

We know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose (Rom 8:28).

In all things, God is working.

In all things, your best interests are being taken care of.

Sometimes, it’s not because we aren’t listening to God. Sometimes, it’s just that we live in a troublesome world.

Things don’t always make sense. But out of all things, God can still make good.

So no matter what trouble or uncertainty we’re trying to find our way through, we can keep trusting him, and listening to him, and loving him.

He’s got this.

(Image copyright sacks08)

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Five for Friday

Posted on Feb 25, 2011 in Art, Faith, Society | 0 comments

God at the Grammys: The Chosen Ones – “One night last summer, Lady Gaga sat in a tour bus in England, covered in stage blood from her concert that day. She told me that she had cried hysterically before a recent show because she’d had a dream that the devil was trying to take her…”


Why Group Decision-Making is Faulty – Apparently people arrive at better decisions when they consult in pairs rather than groups…


Good News! You Don’t Die. – Great inspiration for anyone thinking about taking a risk to follow their passion and skills.


Missionaries, Mercenaries and Misfits – A long-term aid worker tells how she and her husband came full circle in their work through idealism, cynicism and back to passion.



A finally, a good reminder that sometimes what ‘everyone knows’ is true, or good, or healthy, or reasonable, is a lot more up for debate than we think at the time :)









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Rapid response

Posted on Jan 15, 2010 in Life, Society | 0 comments

“You can choose to organize to make decisions quickly. Or you can have the market ignore you” – another from Godin

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Who’s at your board meetings?

Posted on Mar 2, 2009 in Life | 0 comments

“Every day, we make decisions at a board room table encircled by the key influencers in our life – doubt, fear, money, intimidation, naysayers, etc. Our greatest challenge is not listening to their ‘no’ before we give the opportunity a shot” – Ben Arment

Arment, by the way, has the incredibly cool job title of ‘Experience and Innovation Director’ at Catalyst in Atlanta (I have been eyeing their conference for a while – would sooo love to attend one day!)

More to the point though – I love the quote. I know for myself it’s so crucial to deliberately keep myself in a ‘why not?’ mentality, rather than slipping into a ‘think not!’ default.

I also love the mental image of the board room table as well. I was thinking further, though, about how crucial the appointment of those seats are! Because the first voices I hear shouldn’t be the voices of negativity – they should be the voices of the Kingdom – faith, joy, hope, sowing… I find though, that sometimes I have to concentrate a little harder to hear those voices – and that that’s a whole lot easier when there’s an open bible on the table as well!

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