What comes to mind when you hear the question, what are some of your favorite memories? Or what is good that has taken place in your life?
Much of the time we focus on the negative. We remember where we’ve been wounded or bruised, beat up or neglected. These things are real and should not be ignored. But they are not the whole of our life’s story. They tell one side of the story. And often when we are working through issues or in painful times, we can only visualize or remember the negative.
Remembering the negative is almost second nature. We do not need much to remind ourselves of when we were forgotten or the most painful words ever spoken over us. And in the very same way, remembering the positive can be difficult. It is just as easy to forget the good as it is to remember the bad.
It takes work to remember good. It is a discipline that must be practiced. And when it is practiced, it is life altering.
I remember a time in my life when I was experiencing a great darkness. I was very sad and that sadness overwhelmed me. I could not see past the dark clouds of my circumstance. I went to a mentor to share my woes, look for encouragement or more honestly I wanted someone who would commiserate with me. I apparently went to the wrong mentor. She did not want to sit and wallow, no, she encouraged me to praise. To actually begin to praise and thank God. What?!!!! I was supposed to praise God and be thankful in the midst of this! It seemed foolish.
But, I found myself that night praising God and looking for things for which I could be thankful. I was tentative at first, saying something like, “God I know I’m supposed to praise you, but I can’t see how I can. Life really sucks.” Then I heard a question. “Cari does My character change because of your circumstance?” No, I thought to myself. Of course the character of God did not change just because my life circumstances were sucky. So I began to do something very unnatural. I began to sing. I sang hymns, worship songs, songs with the name of Jesus. I began to quote scripture with His name in it and I found my soul that was once spiraling downward, lifted.
God is good. Even when our life feels dark. He is still light. Even when all we can remember is negative, He continues to make good things happen. Praising God for who He is changes our outlook. Remembering what He’s done, reminds us of His character.
I recently bought a roll of butcher paper. It’s about 20ft long. I started filling it with every good memory that would come to mind. It has been remarkably easy. One word leads to another and soon this butcher paper has become a story of faithfulness and goodness.
Remembering is important. We have to practice the art of remembering good so that we can celebrate the good when all we can taste is bad. God’s character will never change. He will always be the very essence of good. His goodness expressed will always be testament to that.
This week take time to remember good. Make a list, start a journal, share memories with a friend… do whatever you have to, so that you can begin to practice the discipline of celebration. I promise, it will be good!