Saturday, December 17, 2011

Memory Overload

Twice in the last month, I’ve had notices about too much data: both on my phone and on our family’s internet service (modem and router).

Both resulted in us being unable to use the services as they were meant to be used: our computers stopped connecting to the internet, or our internet service became spotty. And my phone stopped allowing texts and even internet browsing.

I know, sounds all techy. But I have a point here. We can get overloaded with memories to the point we sequester ourselves away in our thoughts and become burdened, run slower, miss the moment because we’re distracted by what’s happened before.

Part of the reason for our rumination is because the memories aren’t pleasant ones, or we’re rehearsing arguments in our heads about painful situations. But those painful memories aren’t serving us in the moment.

Why do we hang onto them?

Why do we rehearse them, come up with better arguments?

Why do we waste one moment of the present dwelling on the past?

No closure. The issues may be unresolved and sometimes we don’t have a choice. We can’t go back to Aunt Susie and talk over the issues that happened twenty years ago. Aunt Susie is dead. In this case, we have to lay the situation down at the feet of Jesus. We have to forgive, if necessary, and trust God with the situation. When the negative thoughts try to come back, when our minds default and we start ruminating again, we have to take a stand. “No, I’m leaving Aunt Susie and that situation with the Lord. It’s not mine anymore. It’s His. He can handle it. I’m going to live this moment and the rest of my life in the light of the lessons, and without hauling that burden around.”

Regrets. We may have left the situation without having a chance to apologize. And sometimes by the time we’re ready to apologize, by the time we’ve agonized enough that we’re willing to do something about it, it’s too late. Again, we can only ask forgiveness of God, forgive others (as necessary), and let it go. Once again, only God is able to bear the past, present, and future. We’re finite. Let the infinite God have that situation. Hand Him your regrets and lay that thing down. Then, live in the Light of His love and forgiveness. Burden-less.

Pride. Sometimes we have the opportunity to seek forgiveness because the other party is still alive (for example), but we don’t because we’re ashamed or because our pride gets in the way. When you imagine addressing that other person, what comes to mind? Do you imagine them berating you if you sought their forgiveness? Do you imagine them rejecting you? Being indifferent? Yelling? Do you imagine yourself getting the last word? Best thing to do is ask God both for direction (maybe reconnecting with that person now would do more harm than good) and for softened hearts. Our ever tender-hearted God loves to redeem situations, soften hearts, restore relationships. If you pray along those lines, you’re very likely praying His will. Don’t let pride keep you from asking for forgiveness. God resists the proud, but He gives grace to the humble. (see James 4:6)

Once we’d cleared the stored memories on both my phone and the modem and router, both systems worked again. Imagine how free you’d be to go about your day, your Christmas season, without all that baggage in tow. Imagine your memories under the blood of Jesus, your heart washed clean, and your burdensome or painful thoughts rendered powerless. Imagine freedom.

Perhaps it’s time to hand those ruminations to Jesus, cooperate with Him, and get free.