I have an outstanding memory. It’s a gift I both embrace and cherish. My husband always jokes that if one day my memory becomes “average” that’s when he’ll start to worry. However, there is one thing I long to memorize that continuously escapes me..,
- I read them;
- ponder them;
- write them;
- color them;
- repeat them; and
- pray over them
and still, they just don’t stick in my brain. This has always been a point of sadness for me. Mostly because I have never understood why.
Give me a text book, or a book I voraciously read, and I can close my eyes, visualize the page, the paragraph, and the print and recite them for you, often verbatim. But scripture? I can sometimes paraphrase, never very confidently, and I seldom remember what book it’s from unless it’s one I’m currently engaged in studying in the moment.
I think I am coming to understand why this is, and it’s two-fold.
First, the Word is living. The same words read at different points in my life have meant very different things. Sometimes the same verse can offer me compassion and other times it can covict me to straighten my ways. It all depends on where I am in my life at the moment.
If I were simply to memorize scripture, I might also memorize it’s meaning locked in the time I applied it. It may sound funny, but that’s the way my brain sometimes works; like a check box on a list. Once memorized I wouldn’t have reason to seek out the scriptures before and after again to understand the deeper context and meaning. The scripture I memorized would essentially be frozen in time, and that would not serve me, or God, well. At the very least, it would stunt my spiritual growth.
The other reason I continue to come up against is simply pride.
Ephesians 2:8-9 shares that:
God saved you by His grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this, it is a gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it. (NLT)
I think this is one of the ways God keeps me humble. If I could simply memorize scripture I can easily see myself as one who would pride myself on this accomplishment, citing scripture to the point of annoyance to those around me. And not for the sake of uplifting or assisting, but just because I can. Pride is something I struggle with on the daily.
I will admit, lacking this ability used to frustrate me to no end; not so much anymore.
I have come to embrace and cherish my inability to memorize scripture, perhaps more than I would if I could.
- It has kept me in the word;
- it has made me seek after the words God would share with me in the moment rather than relying on my own ability or database of scripture;
- it has caused me to spend time on particular verses while I try to memorize them, bringing them to life in a way it might not if I could just read, memorize and move on;
- it has allowed me to become confident in where in the bible books fall and helped me to understand the timing of the books — context makes the Word come alive for me; and
- it has surely humbled me.
So, I think I am ready to surrender; to put to rest my frustration over my inability to memorize these beautiful words.
This doesn’t mean I’m giving up or setting them aside. Not at all.
It simply means that I am ready to embrace that I may never have the abiltiy to memorize scripture; and I am okay with that. I will continue to seek the treasures within the Bible and God will continue to show me its meaning as I need to apply it in my life.
I am also ready to stop seeing this as a deficit, a failing. This “inability” in my skillset is as much a gift as any ability I have.
For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things He planned for us long ago.Ephesians 2:10
I am just fine the way I am.