Does anyone else find it nearly impossible to remember anything? I was on a walk this afternoon because (praise God) it’s 66 degrees and the sun is out! During that hour, I thoroughly analyzed at least three different areas of my life and briefly had a few other thoughts I gave attention to. Sitting here now just a few hours later, I am struggling to even remember the topic or train of thought, much less the details and/or clarity I received.
My point: I suck at remembering. And my guess is that you may struggle as well.
This is no wonder with all of the distractions and urgent matters constantly flooding our minds. You know - social media, to-do lists, expectations, schedules, relationships, personal desires and everything else that begs for our attention. As soon as I wake up, it’s often like I tap into this movie reel where every picture draws me into a different scene in my life, and every scene requires something specific from me. Does this happen to you?
How can we hold all of these thoughts in our mind? Thankfully, there are systems, apps, and practical tools to help navigate and alleviate the stress from just about each of these areas. Most of this is simply information we need to navigate our day to day, which is highly important. Even more weighty though are the stories of our lives - the real, heart things. The moments that make us who we are, the continual moments of becoming. I cannot afford to dismiss one part of my story. It’s who I am. And how I got there is just as important. If only I could remember.
In the Bible, there’s a constant theme of remembering. I recently read through the book of Deuteronomy and was deeply moved by the emphasis on the story of God delivering His people. Before entering into the promise land, they are reminded multiple times of their history - the journey that had now positioned them to move forward and take hold of a promise. You see, there is such power in remembering. Throughout the psalms, David cries out in great agony over the reality of his circumstances and emotions. Yet, in his writing we see that by the end of his emotional expressions, he comes back to proclaiming who God has been to him. We read his meditations on how God has delivered him, comforted him, and been his safety in times of distress. Remembering invites thankfulness, and thankfulness cannot yield anything less than hope. This is displayed in David’s life, time and time again, and I personally have experienced this as a reality in my own life as well.
So how do we remember our own journey?
About two years ago, I found myself complaining often about my inability to recall information from memory. So, I started praying for my memory to improve. Literally, I added it to my list of daily declarations where I would say multiple times out loud “I have a great memory!” (You have full permission to lol at me). After several months with no improvement, I began asking God to show me what to do. He started speaking to me about journaling. I have journaled since the
beginning of my walk with God, because every good Christian should do that, right? Well, the Lord began to show me that while I had somewhat developed this practice in my life, I was only focused on the crisis and mountain top moments. As I looked back in all of my writings, there was so much missing. The everyday, average moments seemed nonexistent in my life, yet as I began to dig deep, I realized those days had brought me so far. Those walks with God had taught me lessons that had built the foundation I was standing upon. The minor frustrations, simple joys, and seemingly insignificant revelations were small deposits that I never knew would add up to something so wonderful.
You see, not only did Moses call the Israelites to remember their story of deliverance, but He reminds them of the covenant God had made with them AND the directions He had given for a fruitful life. Personally, I have found these directions, promises, and encouragements from God buried within my day to day. As I walk with God, it’s the little treasures that I am collecting that have began developing a story of great value. The beauty of this is that it’s not just for me. My life (and yours as well) is a story of victory that the world is longing to read. In every story, the climax is only possible because there was a road that lead us to that point. If we neglect our process, we have no story to share.
I want to pause here for those that are thinking “My whole life is one of pain, why should I go back and remember?” This is even of more value for you. First of all, I guarantee there are simple moments for which you can choose to be thankful. In the midst of all hell, the God of breakthrough is more powerful and is available to you. So, what an opportunity to write down your story, day by day. You will have a testimony of deliverance that will be hope for another soul to cling to.
Thankfully, on my walk today my iPhone was nearby. When I got to my car, I wrote down the whispers I heard from God and the thoughts I was processing. I know that today (the most normal and uneventful day), a good deposit was made that will bear fruit in the garden of my life. My story continues.
Now, if only I will remember my process of becoming, my life can be a seed of hope for others.