Forward by Forgetting

Today, there is a quest for memory tools, aids, and strategies. Electronic tools that are daily engaged to aid memory are widespread. These include alarms, calendars, audio/voice-over reminders on computers, iPads, tablets, cell phones, residential phones, televisions, and a variety of other electronic gadgets. Tactile individuals may prefer to write reminders in personal calendars, year/month/week/day planners, and/or journal about daily happenings, achievements, plans, and projections. Still others, who are more visual, may remember best by creating graphic illustrations of situations, plans, and goals. They may also create mental pictures or make real-life associations that assist their memory.

Many an advertisement promotes brain food for superb memory—special nutrients for youth and adults alike. Others promote brain boosters, including the use of crossword and jigsaw puzzles, as well as brain games, such as chess and Scrabble®. Additionally, brain-stimulating activities that are endorsed include the creative conduits of learning a new language, painting, and learning to play instruments. In fact, that is precisely the reason why many families invest yearly in instruments and music lessons for children and adults.

Though many youth and young adults may boast “youthful brains,” and great short- and long-term memory, numerous individuals across their life spans are challenged by forgetfulness. It has become a daily struggle for many to employ the aforementioned means by which to augment their ability to remember. Furthermore, individuals are often embarrassed to admit that they struggle with memory loss.

In Philippians 3:13, Paul admits that he is intentional about forgetting. His deliberate activity highlights an outcome that propels the forgetter out of this world. He posits that God’s people are best poised to press forward to the everlasting kingdom that they were created to inhabit when they cultivate the art of forgetting. Paul also identifies what the forgetter should focus on leaving behind—primarily earthly accessories—the possessions, the sense of prosperity, and/or the position of power that are calculated to obscure the focus that should be on Christ.

Today, God is calling all youth and young adults to avoid living and dwelling on the failures, problems, losses, and hurts of the past; for in the midst of all the challenges, we are still here. God has been faithful. He has been good and has great plans for us. He declares, “For I know the plans I have for you . . . plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future”—Jeremiah 29:11, NIV.

We may not readily find strategies, aids, and tools for forgetting and pressing forward, but Christ provides the power and faith needed in this process. A heavenly home is the reward for those who purposefully seek to forget the things and circumstances that impede their ability to press toward the heavenly goal.