A Short Memory is essential to Happiness

A Short Memory is essential to Happiness

I love watching baseball. Imagine what goes through a pitcher’s mind when in the second inning he allows three runners on base and then throws a strike pitch that is hit for a grand slam. He still needs to pitch to another batter or three. He must have a very short memory.

I love football as well. In the fourth quarter, the quarterback throws an interception that is returned for a touchdown. He gets the ball back after the next kickoff. He still must lead his team down the field for a touchdown to win the game. He must have a very short memory.

“In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy 5 because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now…” Philippians 1:4-5 (NIV)

Paul wrote the book of Philippians for the church he started in Philippi, where a woman named Lydia opened 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). 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 or short memory.

Philippi was not a happy place for Paul, and he endured a lot of persecution and suffering during his time there.

But he chose not to dwell on painful memories of his ministry in the city. Instead, he expressed his gratitude for the good things that had been done for him and through him.

The longer you live, the more likely you are to remember the bad instead of the good. Are you still clinging to some painful memories with certain people in your life? Maybe you’ve never let them off the hook, and so you can’t enjoy those relationships because you’re still holding on to the past. Or maybe you can’t live as effectively as you should because you’re still hanging on to the pain. You need to understand memories are a choice.

A friend once reminded Clara Barton, who founded the American Red Cross, of a particularly cruel thing somebody had done to her years before.

The friend asked, “Don’t you remember?” Her famous reply was, “No, I distinctly remember forgetting it.”

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 and you won’t have a healthy happy life!

Paul had a lot of reasons to focus on painful memories. Instead, he chose 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 life far beyond your expectations.

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