Inspiration

Selective Memory: Focus on the Good Times

"I
thank God for the help you gave me."
(Philippians
1:5a NCV)

 

Developing
an attitude of gratitude does not come naturally. We are not by nature grateful
people. We are by nature discontented. We always want more or something
different.

 

In
the book of Philippians, Paul was writing to the church that he started in
Philippi, where a woman named Lydia opened up her home and, along with others,
welcomed Paul to the city. The Philippian church even helped fund Paul's
missionary journeys. In Philippians 1:5, Paul says, "I thank God for the help you gave me" (NCV).

The
thing is, Paul didn't have a good time in Philippi. In fact, it was one of his
roughest churches to get started. When Paul went to this city to start a
church, he was beaten, whipped, humiliated, falsely arrested, thrown into
prison, and survived an earthquake. Then, he was politely asked by the city
leaders to leave town.

Yet
Paul told the believers, "Every time I think
of you, I give thanks to my God"
(Philippians 1:3 NLT).

What
is Paul doing there? He is choosing selective memory. Philippi was not a happy
place for Paul, and he endured a lot of persecution and suffering during his
time in that city. But he chose not to dwell on painful memories and instead
expressed his gratitude for the good things that had been done for him and
through him.

The
longer you know someone, the more likely you are to take that person for
granted and to look for faults and remember the bad things instead of the good
things.

Are
you still living some painful memories with some people in your life? You've
never let them off the hook, and you can't enjoy the relationship because
you're still holding on to the past.

You
need to understand that memories are a choice. I heard a story one time about
two friends who were talking. One of them asked the other, "Don't you remember
that time when your husband did this?"
Her friend replied, "I distinctly remember forgetting that."

Your
memories are a choice. If you want to hold on to your painful memories, go
right ahead. But you're not going to be happy! Paul had a lot of reasons to
have painful memories of Philippi. Instead, he made the choice to be grateful
for the people in his life and the work God was doing in and through them. When
you do the same, God will bless your relationships far beyond your
expectations.

Talk It Over

  • Why
    is it sometimes easier to hold on to painful memories than replace them with
    good ones?
  • How does focusing on good memories change your
    expectations for the future?

...Read More.
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