On any given afternoon after school, my mom would play old records (yes, I’ve seen a 45) while she was cleaning or balancing her checkbook and just doing the “mom” thing. The Statler Brothers were played often and I always wanted to hear “Elizabeth”, because that’s also my middle name. It was a lot harder to just “go back” on a record player, but she would do it for me anyway. Lee Greenwood’s “God Bless the U.S.A.” is another one of the songs that plays in the background of some of my earliest memories. It was also not uncommon for Natalie, Andrew, and I to come in and watch Mary Poppins (or Mary Popkins, if you were still learning to say it). Duke Basketball is another one of the many “I grew up on that” things.
I’m amazed at how long I can go without hearing a song and with just the intro being played, I can still sing the whole thing flawlessly. I don’t know that I’ve heard “Elizabeth” in twenty years, but as I sit here and type—I can still hear the chorus in the back of my mind. To this day, I can still quote that old Julie Andrews movie in casual conversation. And I’m pretty sure, if pressed, I can probably still name the starters of the 1991 and 1992 Duke NCAA Championship teams.
It’s not even childhood memories that I seem to have compartmentalized in my mind. For example, why can I tell you that when you die, your hair still grows for a couple of months? Did you also know that the reason Sean Connery was casted as James Bond is because he won the Mr. Universe pageant? If pressed, I can probably name all 11 American Idol winners. Is there any reason to just remember any of that? Absolutely not.
I can quote and rattle off all kinds of not-so-important (I can’t quite bring myself to admit that I should say “useless” right now) facts and statistics. However, I cannot quote many Bible verses verbatim. I can’t tell you where some of my favorite stories in scripture are actually found without stopping to really think about it. And, even if pressed, I may not be able to name all 66 Books of the Bible in order from start to finish. Something’s gravely wrong with this picture.
I thought about that tonight as the scripture given to me was Psalm 119:11. It says, “Your word I have treasured in my heart, that I may not sin against You.” Some translations use the word hidden. Either way, the point is that the writer had considered God’s Word to be the most valuable thing. It’s what his heart and mind would dwell on. “That I might not sin against You”—that I might be continually guided by it.
I took on memorizing scripture as my “Lent Project” this year. I do so much better if I don’t try to “sacrifice” something, because—let’s be honest—what on earth makes me think that I can come up with anything that remotely compares to the kind of Sacrifice God made for me? Yeah no, I can’t. Anyway, I took on scripture memorization. I posted verses on the bathroom mirror, hall mirror, my door, my bedroom dresser mirror, and my desk at work. And ya know, you really have to be careful with that because before you know it—God’s going to have you memorizing something that changes everything!
My prayer is that I’ll be burdened to desire God’s Word more. I don’t want to just memorize it for the sake of memorizing. (That’s kind of how my Lent Project worked) I want to want to know it. To hide it in my heart—past the movie quotes, random facts, and Duke Basketball stats. I want to soak it up and really know it in a fashion that it makes me more confident in knowing the heart of God. If I know God’s heart, I’ll know His desires for how to use me in this lifetime, what the right choices in my decisions are, and what the future actually holds for me. And something tells me that… everything else will just fall into place as a result.