Hey, look at that, it’s Thursday!
This week has not been very conducive to writing, in case you couldn’t tell by the lateness of this email.
I could spend the entire email updating you about this week, but that may take too long. I think I will just say that I will update you when a couple of these things begin to settle in.
What I want to talk about this week is Context.
Any of you who know me or have studied the Bible with me will know that this is one of my favorite words. If you talk with me for ten minutes about The Word you will hear me say “If you read the verse, read the chapter. If you read the chapter, read the book. If you read the book, read the Bible.” Context. It is so important to my understanding of God’s Word. But that is not what I want to say about my favorite word today (How do you like that for a cliffhanger transition?)
When I was driving my son to school, he began a conversation about memory and the brain.
He forgot Mommy was a Psych major, ahem.
So, it began with a simple question about why he remembers what he remembers, to which Mommy gave a highly complex answer regarding neurons and synaptic pathways (no, seriously, I went there. Guess I forgot he was 7, oops.) He was a trooper and really did ask all of the right questions. He even followed my weak analogies of what we think the brain does. And then, after a moment, he asked me if his brain was really like Riley’s in Disney/Pixar’s Inside Out.
Hmm, so Mommy thought this was a deeper conversation and may have included info that he won’t need till high school, but I think we firmly answered his question.
The conversation had me thinking all of the way home though.
When I was in school I was introduced to an idea called Context Dependent Memory. It has a lot to do with learning and the definition per alleydog.com (a psychology student’s best friend) accessed today says:
“Context Dependent Memory refers to the phenomenon of how much easier it is to retrieve certain memories when the ‘context’, or circumstances around the memory are the same for both the original encoding and retrieval.”
Ok, so unless you are attending a psych class this is a bit much.
Basically, remember this: if you were chewing spearmint gum and were anxious when you read the material, it is more likely you will remember it later if you chew the same gum and feel the same anxiety when you are trying to remember it.
What does this have to do with God and my life, you say? Why is she rambling?
Here’s why: God made our minds. He knew that our minds, once started on a thought with certain context, were very likely to stay in that context.
If you are feeling depressed or hopeless, if you just had a fight with someone, if you just ran into the seventh thing to go wrong today, you will find that your thoughts naturally stay in that context. (This is why I can remember every time my husband didn’t take the garbage out when I am mad about taking the garbage out.)
So how do we change these circumstances?
How do we get out of the context that our emotions and thoughts have put us in?
I said it before but it bears repeating: God made our minds.
Here is the advice given to us from the Holy Spirit through the hand of Paul:
Philipians 4:8 ESV”Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.”
If we will make a concerted effort, with the help and grace of our Almighty Father (who again, made our minds) we can extract our thoughts out of the well worn contextual paths that have not helped us and drag them into the context of our God and what He has for us.
And He KNOWS this about us!
Isn’t that cool!
He knows your mind.
He knows your context.
He is outside of your context and He is sitting in that context right beside you until you come out.
Jesus died for our context.
God loves you and he wants you to concentrate on the true, honorable, just, pure, lovely, commendable excellence He has for you.
He understands that it will take your mind a bit to get out of the feelings and thoughts you’ve been in for years.
I hope that your day is full of wonder at God’s excellence.