At times, processing items from my childhood home has been like falling into a time machine and stepping out decades ago. Finding tiny plastic dishes and pots spun me back to a time when I was a preschooler and Daddy would come home for lunch and visit me in the playhouse he built for me. He’d carefully perch on a child size chair while I served him plastic play food and drink from a cup with his pinky finger in the air. Wading through boxes of plans and ledgers highlighted just how many houses and buildings my father built during his career, his success a product of his reputation for quality work, honesty, and integrity.
While memories sometimes dredge up events and people we’d rather not remember, memories also serve to reinforce positives, educate us about ourselves, and promote forward motion.
Following are some the positives I’ve gained from mining memories:
Although I don’t remember much about it, when I was three, my mother had breast cancer. In those days, screenings were non-existent, and treatments were limited. For many, cancer was a death sentence, yet my mother lived to be 90.
Sometimes, we look back at the lives of our parents, grandparents, and beyond, and mistakenly think the difficulties in our lives are more intense than theirs. But it’s more likely they just did a good job of shielding us from the challenges they faced. Health issues and financial strain were handled quietly. The lingering hardship of economic depression, poverty, and war strengthened them and provided insights. And faith was an important part of their lives, an element many have now eradicated from theirs. We can learn much from how they approached life, their determination, work ethic, faith, and strength.
Wisdom is gained through experience, and if we stockpile that wisdom, we make choices that enhance our lives. An accumulation of wisdom helps establish priorities that simplify rather than complicate life. While experience schools us in wisdom, our greatest source of wisdom is spiritual. Spiritual growth and development provide wisdom no person or training course can give.
Spiritual growth and development provide wisdom no person or training course can give.
When sifting through remnants of the past, memories emerged of times in my life when I was selfish, impatient, critical, unkind, and a host of other not-so-wonderful actions and attitudes. When these types of memories come, glean from them without allowing them to send you into an emotional spiral. Looking back allows you to see evidence of mental, emotional, and spiritual growth as well as spotlighting areas that still need work. Realize growth is an incremental process and continue moving to the next level.
Chronicling blessings is often an underrated activity. Our minds tend to gravitate toward negative memories and the emotions surrounding them. If we aren’t careful, those negative memories mold us, define us, and color our outlook on life. Conversely, focusing on blessings, big and small, and enumerating them trains us to see positives and appreciate them.
Even when pressures and hardships pummel us, blessings abound. Look for and appreciate each blessing and give thanks.
“So keep your thoughts continually fixed on all that is authentic and real, honorable and admirable, beautiful and respectful, pure and holy, merciful and kind. And fasten your thoughts on every glorious work of God, praising him always.” Philippians 4:8 TPT
Candy Arrington is a writer, blogger, speaker, and freelance editor. She often writes on tough topics with a focus on moving beyond difficult life circumstances. Candy has written hundreds of articles, stories, and devotionals published by numerous outlets including: Inspiration.org, Arisedaily.com, CBN.com, Healthgrades.com, Care.com, Focus on the Family, NextAvenue.org, CountryLiving.com, and Writer’s Digest. Candy’s books include When Your Aging Parent Needs Care (Harvest House) and AFTERSHOCK: Help, Hope, and Healing in the Wake of Suicide (B&H Publishing Group).
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