What’s in Your Wallet? No, HEAD!

Sonja's Cross stitch Bookmarks

For me to live is Christ

Wallets are held close–usually with us every time we go out, with our most important personal cards or pictures tucked inside. Shouldn’t it be the same with our MINDS?

What do you hold close in your head? This question keeps coming up for me. After working on the blog series this past year about our hope in Christ, and feeling a change in my levels of anxiety and peace, I wondered what to do next. What could help me to continue to grow, to continue to replace my anxiety about our nation’s uncivility and unwillingness to compromise and work together with more good news from God? What could increase my love toward those I don’t understand?

One Sunday this spring, a woman came into my Sunday school class with a challenge. She had memorized the book of Philippians over the past couple of years and had experienced such joy and closeness with God while doing it that she wanted to present us with the opportunity to memorize scripture, too. She would meet with us after church every other week or so to hold us accountable.

Could this be the next thing to help me counter my addiction to American politics? I prayed, remembered how I “wrote lines” of poetry in high school AP English, and signed up. We could memorize any part of the Bible we wanted, short or long, but I was intrigued by the leader’s memorization of Philippians. It has only four chapters and includes a life-changing verse that I learned as a kid from a Camp Mission Meadows banner in the dining hall: For me, to live is Christ  and to die is gain (Philippians 1:21).

So, this summer, that’s what’s in my head. Philippians. It gives me something to recite and think about when I go walking, and when I am pulling all those weeds out of my garden. Have you ever memorized anything? Any tips to share on how to do it? Please let me know in the comments! What was your experience?

Perhaps as an encouragement, and to hold myself accountable, every once in awhile I’ll type out from memory what I’ve done so far, okay?

Here’s what’s in my head so far (I promise not to look):

Paul and Timothy, servants of Christ Jesus, to all the saints in Christ Jesus in Philippi, together with the overseers and deacons;

Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

I thank my God every time I remember you. In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your participation in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this: that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.

It is right for me to feel this way about all of you, since I have you in my heart; for, whether I am in chains or defending and confirming the gospel, all of you share in God’s grace with me. God can testify how I long for all of you with the affection of Christ Jesus.

And my prayer for you is this: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless until the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.

(Philippians 1-11)

I can’t guarantee that every comma and semi-colon is in the correct spot, and it took two weeks to nail down just the first couple of verses, but there you have it!

Have a blessed summer, everyone! What’s in your head today?

About Sonja Anderson

I write novels and short stories for children, and occasionally a book or article for adults, too. I grew up in Ohio, and I have lived in Chicago, Connecticut, Boston, Tokyo, and Seattle. The beautiful Pacific Northwest inspires me every day.
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4 Responses to What’s in Your Wallet? No, HEAD!

  1. Susan Redhed says:

    Dear Sonja,I couldn’t resist responding to your request for experiences with memorizing, a subject close to my heart! Early in our Christian lives (early 30’s or so) my husband Dave and I were challenged to memorize Scripture, so we began. I believe we started with something called the Topical Memory System from the Navigators. (I think it has a new title lately.) It’s a list of 60 verses organized into sets and topics to make memorizing them convenient, and they are the kind of old-friend verses you find coming in handy all the time. I still go back and review them from to time. Then we got into Bible passages, then chapters, and finally whole epistles, etc.  Two tips: (1) Do as much as you can soon; the older you get, the harder it is to memorize.(2) Your leader is right about accountability; I never was very good at it without having a fellow-memorizer to get together with weekly or so, when we’d take turns reciting our current efforts to each other, making sure each of us was getting God’s word word-perfect. Those sessions were a big motivator. A few thoughts on the value of this practice:(1) The more solidly you get God’s word locked into your heart and mind, the more of the time you will be looking at life from God’s point of view, sometimes defined as wisdom. A couple verses in Proverbs or somewhere claim that when you memorize Scripture you will be wiser than your teachers (and some other categories of people I can’t remember). That would have to affect our view of current events, etc. (2) Sometimes when I’m thinking about a verse and trying to remember where it’s from, suddenly I’ll think, ” Oh, yes, now I remember: it’s Colossians, Chapter 1!” (That is the first epistle I memorized.) There’s almost a visual element at work. (3) On occasions of talking to non-Christians about the Lord, I suspect that having a specific verse (with address) ready might be more effective than just a generic, “Well, the Bible says . . .” I could go on and on, but it’s past bedtime. By the way, I tried to respond to your post by “replying above this line,” but it didn’t work for me at all, so I hope this generic response works. Lots of love, SueP.S. Since I haven’t been following all your posts, did you ever find a publisher? 

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  2. Thanks, Sue! This is great! To answer your question, no, still working on a new publisher. Tyndale is still considering the manuscript, and Harvest House said no but asked for all my picture book manuscripts! Prayers needed!

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  3. Gail Johnson says:

    I loved reading the passage that you typed. Philippians is one of my favorites. It always amazing me how peace floods my soul when reading scriptures. Happy summer!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Thanks for reading and commenting, Gail! I hope you have a blessed summer!

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