My Brain on Paper

June 2008

I’ve always been a list maker. I came across a long to-do list I made while in college. I marveled at how much I managed to do in just one week. My life isn’t much different now. I still make lists and rely on them to keep me going. I like to think of them as my brain on paper. Of course, I use my computer now, and share the fear with many that if it were lost or stolen I’d be in big trouble. Sometimes it seems as if my brain is on my hard drive! I wish it were as easy to back up my brain as it is to back up my computer.

Inspired by a time travel movie, I’ve started making notes to what I like to refer to as my future self. The computer is great for that too, as I can access the calendar feature months and years in advance. If only my future self could give me some advice.
Our brains are wonderful – quick, powerful and with a lot of available memory. The only problem is retrieving things. I watch the game show Jeopardy! and get frustrated when I can’t recall an answer. I’m sure it’s in there, but I just can’t find it.

Sometimes when I can’t find something or can’t remember something, I think, God knows, but he’s not talking! Wouldn’t it be great to have his recall ability? He never forgets unless he wants to. I forget when I don’t want to! But we never have to worry that he will forget about us. He remembers even when we don’t. His faithfulness is constant. In Isaiah 49:15 he asks, “Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has borne? Though she may forget, I will not forget you!” (NIV).

As we grow in our relationship with God, it’s important to remember he is not like us. He doesn’t think or act like us. We tend to humanize him, ascribing foibles and weaknesses to him as we see them in ourselves or in others. One of my favorite passages in the Bible reminds us to be careful not to do this. “’For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,’ declares the LORD. ‘As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts’” (Isaiah 55:7-9, NIV).

This is a positive thing as it helps us keep our lives in perspective. Even the best virtues and noblest acts of humanity pale in comparison to the greatness of God. There really is no one like him.

“Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable his judgments, and his paths beyond tracing out! ‘Who has known the mind of the Lord? Or who has been his counselor?’ ‘Who has ever given to God, that God should repay him?’ For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be the glory forever! Amen” (Romans 11:33-36, NIV).

How wonderful I can rely on his memory even when mine fails. I guess you could say he’s my backup.

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