Monday, January 12, 2009

MMM: Mind AND Heart

Day is everyone doing?

I posted last week about my (not *invented* by me, but *used* by me) foolproof memorization method. I also read some of the articles Ann Kroeker linked to in her roundup of tips and realized one of the reasons why the method works so well: it forces your brain to practice recalling. Apparently the mental processes for reading and recalling are different, so the key to effective memorization is to make your brain practice remembering the text, not just keep reading it a thousand times.

The thing I've discovered about memorization, though, is that it's one thing to get a text in your head--but getting it in your heart isn't necessarily simultaneous.

The downside to the method I use is that it's very cerebral. It's quite possible (ask me how I know) to repeat a text daily, to remember it perfectly, yet to not let it penetrate your soul. And that's the last thing I want. "Knowledge puffs up" (1 Corinthians 8:1)--and I don't need any help getting puffed up. So this month I've added a step to my memorization process, in an effort to slow down and really meditate on the text. Spending five or ten minutes repeating sentences requires little of me; interacting with the words in my journal takes me deeper.

I've found that so far, this memorization effort has been much more meaningful as I sit down with my journal and Bible after repeating the day's sentences. I write out the new text from memory, then look up and copy the corresponding Scriptures footnoted by Vincent in the book. Then I spend a few minutes praying through the texts and asking God to drive the truth deep into my heart.

I don't know if that's part of why the memorization is coming so easily, but the first twelve days have not been a struggle. I will say that I'm thankful for today's memorization--I have moved on to the good news about the cross, after spending several days in a row memorizing lines about how awful I am and how hopeless I would be apart from Christ. The sentence I memorized today brought sweet relief to my soul:
"However, what I could not do, God did--and in doing it, He did it all, sending His own Son into the world to die on the cross for my sins, thereby showing me unfathomable love."

(Milton Vincent, "A Gospel Narrative: Prose Version" from A Gospel Primer for Christians: Learning to See the Glories of God's Love)


Anonymous said...

What a humble post reminding us not to let our successes go to our head (in a manner of speaking).

I'm hoping to tap into the power of the Lord Jesus Christ and His Holy Spirit who teaches all things and brings to mind the things He taught His disciples. It's right there in my passage (John 14). The Counselor, the Spirit of Truth, the Holy Spirit, is ready to help me.

So that's Who I'm leaning on this week (and beyond). Because my little brain on its own isn't cutting it.

But I shall, at a practical, human level, dip into the tips and techniques, to do my part...and look for the Holy Spirit to do His.

Jennifer said...


How true that the real value of memorization isn't more words in our brains but more words in our hearts, ready to speak to us when we need to hear His Voice.

I like the way you've worked journalling in with your memorization. Definitely something to try, as it gets more at the heart, right?

Keep it up; you're doing a great work.

Anonymous said...

Great post, Amy. Actually, I gave up on Romans 8. It was just too much for a first time trying to memorize such a chunk and I found myself very discouraged. Also, I discovered the ESV translation was more difficult than the NIV but didn't want to try to re-memorize it in a different translation to make it easier.

Soooo, I really felt like God was telling me to let go of my pride and start on something different. So He led me to Ps. 19. This has been going much better. I'm able to memorize it more easily and in my memorization I'm actually being reminded WHY God's word is so important. Because is revives the soul, gives wisdom, joy, etc. This very passage gives hope to continue on in the process of getting into God's Word and letting it get into me. I'm really happy I switched passages.

Pauline said...

What a lovely post and it sounds as if you are receiving great blessings "O) of wisdom! I find that if the verse is in my mind when circumstances arise verses pop into my head and then I see the value of the verse. Because I am memorising an introduction it is sometimes hard to see the importance but I think that the memorising context and the immersion that occurs as a result makes it very meaningful. May you continued to be blessed throughout the remainder of the month of January. And I am looking to see if I can get a copy of the book you are memorising here is Australia- it sounds wonderful "O)

Anonymous said...

A double portion reminder of what His word is for, our pastor had been emphasizing to personalize your it as if it was personally to you, which, of is!

Anonymous said...

So far so good here. See my comment on Ann's blog if interested in details.