Sunday, March 18, 2012

Forget It!

--

In the late night quiet that only comes when everyone sleeps but me, I relish the opportunity to concentrate, uninterrupted, on the textbook reading for my Essentials in Psychology class. I haven't fully decided how I feel about the idea of an e-textbook with no pages to turn, no heft to hold in my hands, nothing tangible to give evidence of the copious amounts of knowledge I am absorbing. Not only that, but I have to go through a measure of rigmarole to electronically highlight key words and concepts, which is one of my favorite ways to remember things I don't want to forget. Yep, the jury is still out, but I am adjusting.

As you would expect from a college textbook, this is a book with a secular viewpoint, academic in nature, and one that has no intention whatsoever of speaking to me about God . . . but it can't help itself.

In teaching me what learned men and women have discovered about the human brain, the way the mind works, concepts like motivation and emotion, and the inner workings of how we remember and forget, it just keeps teaching me about the God who created every aspect of our beings! From the complex and ingenious anatomy of the brain to the equivalent of computer software that runs everything from our heartbeat and breathing to the finest nuances of emotion and relationship (and you thought Steve Jobs designed some cool stuff!), it could not be more clear that as David exclaimed to God with insight, "I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well." Psalm 139:14 NIV

Much of what I read is relatively familiar, but one concept catches me by surprise. It says that
part of the reason we are able to remember is that we are able to forget. What? That's right! While we overwhelmingly think that forgetting is a bad thing and wish we had perfect recall, it is precisely because we can forget that we can remember so many things so well! Here is what the book had to say: -
-

Feldman, R. S. (2010). Psychology and Your Life. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill.

God's Word is full of truth that it implores us not to forget; but every once in awhile, God tells His people to go ahead and FORGET IT!!

Forget what?

“'Forget the former things;
do not dwell on the past.
See, I am doing a new thing!
Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?
I am making a way in the wilderness
and streams in the wasteland.”

While you are using all the powers of your wonderfully designed capacity to remember what is important, enjoy the freedom God gives, the built in capability He has crafted, to forget the things that hold you back. Strangely enough, in this passage, God was essentially telling His people to forget the Red Sea and His decisive defeat of Pharaoh--the biggest thing God had ever done in their history, and He said to FORGET IT!! 

Now, did God really mean for His people to completely lose their memory of what He had done for them in bringing them out of Egypt? From all the times throughout the rest of scripture where He took them back to that moment with Him, I think that would be a resounding, NO! What He did want was for His people to walk in the glorious newness of an ongoing, growing, fresh and exciting love relationship with Him. He did not want them to get stuck in what He had done for them before, but to watch what He was about to do! 

Like the way we continually remember the summarized faces of loved ones, we need to know God's work in our lives in a way that retains our accumulated knowledge of His character while moving on with Him. HE NEVER CHANGES, but we do, and our understanding of Him should be growing! We need to keep walking forward with Him, not getting stuck in the details of the past--not our failures, or even how He has worked in us before. He is making us new every day, and every day we are to forget (that is to take our eyes off of) the stuff that can hinder our ability to KNOW HIM NOW.

The Apostle Paul put this same idea into practice and set the example for us:

. . . one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.   Philippians 3:13b-14 NIV

Each and every day, He is "doing a new thing" in us and we'll miss it if we're busy gazing into our memories of the past. His work in our hearts IS that stream in the wasteland and it is ever new, ever gushing cool, ever refreshing the driest, rockiest places in us.


P.S. That "new thing" God was promising in Isaiah 43? Several chapters later we find that it was His plan to send Jesus to rescue His people, and all peoples of the earth, once and for all. Sadly, most of His people were caught looking back, and they couldn't see Jesus for who He was. If you haven't met Jesus yet, or if you are beginning to wonder who He is, maybe for the first time, read Isaiah 53 and then the Gospel of John to learn more! 

What new thing is God doing in you?
How will you apply the gift of forgetting as you walk with Him this week?
________________________________
  
Joining Ann Voskamp in counting His graces for her Multitudes on Monday

I hope you'll join in if you haven't already!
In the counting of the endless gifts I say with C. S. Lewis,
"This also is Thou!"
Counting my next 1000 Gifts, joining Ann in The Joy Dare--like a scavenger hunt for graces, gifts and glory!! Wanna come along?  I dare ya!!

The continuing JOY DARE: 
#1211-1231 (March 11th through March 17th)

11. 3 gifts read
Dictionary definitions that teach volumes
"O God, may Thy Spirit speak in me that I may speak to Thee." Anonymous (2010-07-01). Puritan
                           Prayers (Kindle Location 239). Unknown. Kindle Edition. 

The living Word of the living God!
12. a gift in wind, in water, in white
Petals that fall like snowflakes in springtime breezes
Quenched thirst
The paper that holds She So Sweet's amazing artwork
13. 3 gifts round
The mouth of my coffee cup
Scotch tape
Hamburgers made by She So Sweet for dinner tonight
14. 3 gifts found in silence
Sweet concentration (a precious commodity for this student!)
Stillness
Rest
15. 3 gifts given away
Used clothes dropped off at Goodwill
Loving advice my kids sometimes don't want to hear
Quiet little bits of Biblical thinking shared in my online classroom
16. 3 hard eucharisteos
Holy Spirit conviction about changes I need to make
Gas prices--what can they possibly be good for I wonder?
Housework that I'm so behind in doing
17. a gift turned, a gift folded, a gift hung
The beautiful bowl my little brother made out of a branch of a beloved willow tree
Fleece blankets I made that everyone likes to wrap up in
Heirlooms

   Beauty in His Grip Button
On In Around button
A heartfelt thank you to these generous bloggers
who make these communities available!

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