Friday, January 25, 2013

Short Term Memory

How soon we forget.

I am one of those people who has a photographic memory, or at least I used to, back in the day.  In the middle of an exam, I could close my eyes and visualize my notebook, or the exact paragraph of the textbook where the answer to the question lay.  Even today, over 40 years since I graduated from high school, I can remember notes to self or phone numbers I've written them down once or twice.

So why is my memory so bad when it comes to relationships?  Why is it so easy to forget the promise I made nearly 40 years ago, to love my husband until death do us part? I do love him - don't get me wrong.  But it's very easy for me to be discontented or frustrated in our marriage, simply because my husband is so different from me.

Barnabas Piper would understand.  He wrote about his frustration with his wife when she critiqued a bit of writing he had done.  When she gave her honest opinion that it should be scrapped, Barnabas became sullen.  He forgot that his wife is his greatest supporter and encouragement.  His memory failed him.

Barnabas wrote,
 Memory isn’t only what happens to come to mind as we turn our thoughts to past events; it is a purposeful act of looking back. It is intentionally recalling the moments that led to this reality.
Purposeful.  Intentional. 

 Memory must be controlled.  

So when I go to bed alone, again, I must remember that my husband loves me, that he considers me his best friend, and that he is not intending to cause me pain when he stays up reading while I go to sleep.  I must remember that he is a night owl and I am a morning lark.

When I do not get an answer to a question I've asked for the sixth or seventh time in a row, I must remember that he is a thinker and he's pondering what to say.  Just because I am quick to respond, doesn't mean he has to be.  God made him a deep thinker, and that is good.

Our Personalities are Different

Rick Thomas wrote about a simple way to figure out what type of person someone is.  The article makes the case that the Bible's assessment of our personalities is not very flattering - we have a problem with the deceitfulness of sin.  This problem does not end when we become Christians, although the Holy Spirit dwelling within works in our lives to sanctify us daily.

Personality is not the Point

The point is this:  We are to die to self, daily.  We are to grow in Christ, daily.  We are to exhibit the Fruit of the Spirit as we love God and love our neighbours, moment by moment, hour by hour, every single day.  The best way to do that is to sharpen our memories, holding fast to what is good and rejecting what is evil.

Sharpen the Memory - Look Back on Life Through Biblical Lenses

This world is broken, but it's also beautiful.  When I look at life I must see the greatness of the Creator as well as the fallenness of mankind.  I must use my transformed memory to look back and see how the Lord has been good, working in our family, showing His power and His great love.

Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.(Romans 12:2 ESV)

My husband bought me this beautiful ring, simply because he loves me.  It has 12 tiny diamonds set in the edge (one for each of our dozen children).  The inside of the ring is filled with hearts - 14 of them!  The perfect number to represent the two of us and our large family.

I have made a promise to myself, that every time I look at this ring on my finger, I will remember.

I will remember that

  • God brought us together!
  • God has blessed our marriage.
  • Our relationship matters - to God, to our family, to the world
  • My husband loves me.
  • I love my husband.
  • We are in this together, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health
  • We are a reflection of Christ, the Bridegroom, and His Bride, the Church
  • We are together until death do us part.
I will remember.

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