In the first couple of weeks at my new job, I’ve had several moments of complete and total joy at what I’m actually getting paid to do. This has lead to what I will call – the lift dance. It goes a bit like this;
1) I find out something cool I get to do as part of my job
2) I feel full of joy and excitement but recognize that I may lose my job or traumatize my new colleagues if I fully express this joy and excitement
3) I have to go in the lift at some point during the day to go somewhere awesome like the library (there is a basement library with a vault that has some super old books in that smell amazing)
4) I remember that no one can see me in the lift (the rumours of CCTV are false)
5) I do a silly dance and fully express my joy and excitement at everything God is doing and the life I get to live
When I sit and really let myself think about everything God has done for me, the way he’s turned everything around…it’s overwhelming. It’s from this place that I try to start every day. Even when I’m grumpy, even when it’s early, even when there seems to be too much stuff to do, even when the sadness of the people I’ve lost in the last couple of years still stabs at me, I remember.
I remember what God has done for me. And when I remember it, there is always a reason to do the lift dance.
Sometimes as Christians I wonder whether we are too keen to forget, to press forward, to move on. We are so focused on the future that we forget to reflect on the past and let it revolutionize the present. The journey we’ve been on, the road God has weaved for us and walked with us.
It’s too easy to forget.
The Israelites were good at forgetting. It wasn’t long after they had been delivered from Egypt that they forgot just what they had been saved from – a life of pain and slavery. They even wanted to go back! (Numbers 14:3). Even when they reached the Promised Land they forgot and started doing evil stuff (Judges 3).
Forgetting what God has done never seems to end well.
In the Old Testament, one method of remembering was to build a pillar or altar of stones (1 Samuel 7:12, Joshua 4:1-9). When God helps Joshua cross the Jordan river with the ark of the covenant, Joshua does just that, and tells the Israelites that in generations to come when their children ask what the stones mean, they can tell them the story of what God has done. I love imagining a little kid, hundreds of years later, being sat down and told the amazing story of God doing a total miracle.
Remembering is good for us, but it’s good for others too.
One of the last things Jesus did was teach his disciples something to help them remember. During the last supper Jesus broke bread and drank wine with them, telling them to “do this in remembrance of me” (Luke 22:19). All across the world, 2000 years later, we celebrate communion together as followers of Jesus. We stop and remember what Jesus has done for us on the cross. It’s always a powerful symbol, where perspective returns and gratitude ignites.
We need to keep building pillars of stones! For real, maybe. Symbolically, definitely. Some creative ways of doing this:
• Buy or find a cool glass jar, and put it somewhere in your house. Every time something awesome happens to you or someone in your house write it down on a bit of paper and put it in the jar. When the jar is full empty it out, get your friends and family round and read out everything in the jar over a bottle of wine.
• Keep a journal, or prayer diary. Split the pages in half and on one side write down what you’re praying about. When you feel like God has resolved it or answered your prayer, write down what happened next to it on the other half of the page.
• Write down your testimony on a bit of paper, photocopy it ten times, and see how creative you can get leaving it in random places. Doctor’s waiting rooms, train seat tray tables, underneath the windscreen wiper of a random car…you can have lots of fun with this!
• Tell your stories! Tell them to your friends, family, house group, church. Stories are so powerful, moving and untouchable. They’re useless if they remain inside of us. We must tell them.
• Do more lift dances. But check for CCTV first.