As the new year of 2013 began I, like most people, was dreaming of the things to come. What would 2013 have in store? What adventures would arise? What new disciplines would I try and take up? With the sweetness of dreams, however, comes the hard reality that resolutions can be so fickle, and often enough they end in failure and shame. Does that keep one from the pursuit though?
As I tried to wade through my thoughts I found myself searching through others ideas, plans, failures and successes. It was then that I discovered Ann Voskamp’s booklets on memorizing scripture. My brain lit up: a year plan… only 2-3 verses a week… structure…. goals…. memorizing the Sermon on the Mount. I found a friend who I knew I could be accountable with and today we are 80 verses in. The Sermon on the Mount has been with me every day of this year. Jesus’s Discourse on the Hill, as Dallas Willard refers to it, has gone from vaguely familiar to a part of everyday life for me. It continues to change and morph as I learn more about it and as I speak the words over myself. It has become a resting place and a dear friend.
When I began to consider what it would take for me to stay with this challenge, I drew from memory tactics. A few years ago a boss recommended that I read Moonwalking with Einstein, and it successfully captured my attention on how memory can be trained. Along with Ann Voskamp’s suggestions on how to memorize long passages, I took all of these pointers and started off my year.
First off, I designed a fun little cover which kickstarted my interest (art + scripture is always a good start for me). From there I ventured off the computer as I’d learned writing is extremely effective in memorization. Each chapter is color coded in card and text color. Chapter 5, blue and blue. Chapter 6, yellow and orange. Chapter 7, pink and (yet to be determined). Verses are separate so I don’t run them altogether in my mind and verse numbers are on the back to encourage flip card usage (I also use the StudyBlue app on my iPhone.)
I’ve also tried to push myself to invest in a few outside notes and texts on the Sermon on the Mount to ground it more in my memory (namely The Divine Conspiracy an excellent, though time consuming read). I’ve enjoyed this commitment as it continues to get harder and more demanding. I feel a treasure growing in me, simply because I am writing His words on my heart.