Have you seen news coverage on people with “super memory”? These are rare people who can remember every day of their lives! It is called highly superior autobiographical memory (HSAM) or by the technical name, “Hyperthymesia”. (I’ve been having some fun even trying to remember that name. It is safe to say I don’t have this condition!)
“Individuals with hyperthymesia can recall almost every day of their lives in near perfect detail, as well as public events that hold some personal significance to them.” And, a neat defining factor here is that, unlike people with other forms of exceptional memory, people with HSMA have an ability to recall their lives with accuracy that is unconscious, meaning they don’t choose to remember or store the details of their memories of life, it just happens.
Is that you?
It sure isn’t me. Though some have accused me of having the memory of an elephant (are you familiar with the phrase, “An elephant will never forget”), I am quite aware of the gaping holes in my memory.
I find memory an interesting topic. Have you ever been in a group of people, maybe even family members, as they start discussing things that happened years ago? People can be so SURE of their recollection… and yet the person next to them will recall the situation quite DIFFERENTLY. I have even seen arguments ensue because of the difference in how people remember.
For many of us our memory betrays us: memories fade and things that never should be forgotten are lost; sometimes time skews our recollection of events.
As I have been wrestling with these posts over the last few Wednesdays, I am struck with this thought:
Our problem of keeping proper perspective on God in the present stems from our inability to accurately recall the goodness, faithfulness and working of God in our past.
God is awesome and just as all of this was percolating in my mind last Wednesday, I read a blog post that says all of this better than I think I ever could. You should go read what Jon Acuff had to say about this!
Did you read it? No? Click on this highlighted text, it is a link to the blog post.
You definitely should read it before continuing here 🙂
The Old Testament shows us repeated examples of the danger of what happened when the Israelites forgot who God really is and what He did for them because they didn’t remember or share that memory.
When God moves in our lives we see it for a little while, but then our memory fades or twists. We need to strive to become people who remember.
Sometimes God acts in BIG ways, you know, like when someone was diagnosed with cancer only to go into surgery and the doctors find the tumors have COMPLETELY disappeared. Those BIG, MIRACULOUS events that cannot be explained away by anything other than an act of God.
Other times, God moves in such powerfully small ways, a “chance” run in with an acquaintance that leads to a heartfelt conversation where friendships are built, needs are met, or comfort is given. Small events, which result in powerful encounters.
I likened these moments before to, “Thin Moments,” moments when God seemed near enough to touch. They are so powerful!
Yet we are forgetful people.
So what do we do about that? How do we purposefully remember?
Like Jon Acuff said in his blog, “we forget to stack some rocks during the moments that God shows up. Grab a stone today and start building a pile. You might not need it right now, but someday when life is hard, you’ll be glad you have a reminder of a God who is good.”
In Joshua chapters 3-4 we see God miraculously stop the Jordan River from flowing so the whole nation of Israel could cross the riverbed on dry ground. And when they reached the other side safely, “The Lord said to Joshua, ‘choose twelve men from among the people, one from each tribe, and tell them to take up twelve stones from the middle of the Jordan… to serve as a sign among you. In the future when your children ask you, ‘what do these stones mean?’ tell them…”
Stacking rocks and making a monument served to help the people remember, not just for a little while but for generations.
How do we remember? Do we literally pile rocks on the site of a God encounter? Maybe, but I think property owners might get mad at us.
Here are some ways I am trying to work on really remembering:
Reflect: look past the obvious and digest what God really did in that moment
Share: tell others of the moment, it helps them and helps you
Respond: how does the experience change you, in the grand scheme and small daily differences?
I think these key points of reflect, share and respond are key for me because too often I settle to just let those “thin moments” in my life stay as happy memories I play back in my mind… when really they are destined, placed there by God for so much more!
To change me.
To impact my world.
But to do that I have to make a choice or that powerful experience will simply become a nice memory that often fades away.
Wednesdays with Jillene posts are one way I am putting this into practice.
How about you?
Are you a blogger, journal writer, artist, photographer, speaker, teacher, comforter, sympathetic listener, encourager…
And even if you don’t think that you are… maybe God has that role yet to unfold in your life. Make the choice to really remember the moments, “big” and “small,” that God has been at work in your life. Start today.
How will you stack rocks and allow proper recollection of the past shape proper perspective on the present?