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Edify & Encourage Entries


I’m always amazed at how quick I am to forget things that are really important to me.
I know I’ve reflected on this idea before…but I forget when, so it’s high time for a new one.

Christina and I just finished up the last session of a course on marriage this week, creatively titled, “The Marriage Course”.

It is a fantastic 8 week course filled with delicious suppers, educational talks, and marriage shaping discussions.  Both of us really appreciated the growth we experienced as we attended the sessions and then did our marriage homework through the week.  We learned some fantastic tools, things that we wanted to implement in our marriage right away…like the proper way to listen to each other, and how to resolve conflict, among others.  It seemed each week we were learning new things about each other and were being filled with new ways to demonstrate our love.  

So back to the last session.  
The final session is a wrap-up of the course and an intro session for anyone new thinking of taking the course.  As I sat and listened, to a review of the major ideas I had been taught by the course, I was floored.  The very first thing that they taught, the thing that was stressed above all else and repeated every week for 8 weeks straight, the thing that I had put into my calendar as a repeating event…that thing just happened to be the first thing that I had forgotten.  I heard them once again stress that ‘Marriage time is so important’ and realized that, in the 2 short weeks since our last session, we had dropped this from our routine.  
Note: We had taken 2 weeks off b/c Christina got sick for 1, and then it was Easter Monday so it was postponed.

There was no good reason why this had happened, it just had.  In the busyness of life, and, in a much more real way, the forgetfulness that is the human condition we had lost something that we both treasured.  

How often does this happen to us?  
We hear an idea from Scripture, or a teacher, or perhaps even the television and think, “that is amazing, I need to do that” but then, over time, it slowly fades into the background…or never gets off the ground in the first place.  This has been a constant source of frustration in my life, and I honestly don’t know a hard and fast rule that will guarantee results.  

But, I will offer 1 piece of practical advice that helps me remember more often. 

Create systems.
Systems are those mechanisms we put in our lives to keep things running despite ourselves.  The goal is for our systems to run kind of like breathing.  You breathe all the time, but you don’t have to be conscious of every breathe you take in order to stay alive.  For example, I know that I will inevitably forget my last great idea, so I leave journals and pads of paper everywhere that I usually get ideas.  In the car, by my bedside, on the couch, at the office.  
And I don’t stop there.  
If it’s something I need to implement in my life I write it in on my calendar (which pops up and reminds me automatically) or I incorporate it into my personal vision statements (which I revisit almost monthly…because my calendar reminds me).  These are my systems, and I need to rely on them more than I’d like to admit.  If you’re anything like me, and I fear many are, systems may benefit you as well.  They may not be the same as mine, but it needs to be something that helps you to remember those things that are so valuable to you that they deserve to be remembered.  
My hope is that as those God given truths get remembered they will begin to transform us by the renewing of our minds.  

Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. Romans 12:2

Father, we learn from the pattern of Your interaction with Your people, that unless You are constantly guiding us, we are quick to go our own way.  Quick to lose focus, and forget our commitments.  
Our default is unfaithfulness.  
It takes work to be faithful.  Work, but mainly grace, because we soon realize that a ton of work cannot outweigh an ounce of grace.     
God, I beg of you to transform us despite our inability to remember, and help us to discover ways that we can become more faithful.  
In Jesus’ name, the risen and victorious Lord, the author of grace. Amen.


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