What’s your earliest memory? Do you remember blowing out birthday candles when you turned 4? What about the fear or excitment you felt when you were learning to swim or ride a bike? Do you have a hazy recollection of a vacation or receiving a special gift at Christmas?
For myself, my earliest memories include playing dress up and snatching cookies from the cookie drawer at my grandparents. They aren’t ground breaking memories, but then again, to a 4-year-old, maybe they were. I’m sure my parents did tons of exciting, educational and impact-full things with us girls when we were growing up, but before the age of 5, things are pretty hazy. And to be honest, a few decades later, I’m not much better at remembering all the little details that made up even the big life events I’ve experienced, not to mention the everyday tasks, conversations, or activities that made up all the minutes, hours, days and years of my life thus far.
So what am I getting at? I guess this question; if we tend to only remember the big events of our life, and not the everyday details, should we stop trying? Should parents stop encouraging their children to eat vegetables or stop practicing colors or singing the ABC’s? Should we stop meal planning, studying, paying bills, cleaning our homes and disciplining our children?
Of course not.
Few of these everyday tasks will likely stand out to us a month from now, but what happens when we look at them as a whole? Our daily routines, experiences, relationships and tasks are what truly form us and those around us.
Of course, going sky diving or on a European Cruise or dog sledding in Alaska will stand out, but will those define us? Will they define us as much as the everyday goals we set, the responsibilities we take on, or the daily choices we make of how we will use our time, money and gifts?
Paul writes in Colossians 3:17,
“And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.”
WHATEVER you do. All my words, all my deeds. Are they a reflection of my love for Jesus, of His love for us and are they full of thankfulness?
Honestly? Definitely not all of them, and definitely not all the time. So what will help? How can we heed Paul’s advice? Let’s jump over to James where we read,
“But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror. For he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like. But the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing.
That’s it. We need to do it. Then do it again. We need to learn about Jesus, we need to remind ourselves of the Gospel. And then do it again. It can’t all be built upon mountaintop experiences. We need to rest in God’s truths found all throughout scripture and we need to memorize them. We need to share with other believers what God is doing in our life. We need to ask questions. We need to show up to church on Sundays. We need to share our hope in Jesus with others.
All these things, all these thoughts, tasks, conversations and habits are all ways that God grows us to be more and more like Himself. It doesn’t happen all at once. And you likely won’t remember all the details…but He wants to shape us. He wants to mold us into the beautiful masterpieces He has already planned out.
We will still have some great memories…some great mountaintop experiences that will help spur us on during the days, months or years spent in the valleys. But don’t just live for those, or depend solely on those.
God is part of the everyday. The daily choices you make to have a quiet time, to not join in the gossip, to put another above yourself, and to be honest even when it’s hard…these are the fruit of His hand in our lives. So keep your eyes open, and one day at a time, trust Him to lead you on this amazing adventure we get to be a part of. All for His glory…not just the memories.