Have you ever come home, walked in the door, put down your keys and the next time you needed them you had no idea where they were? Afterward, you blame the loss on memory, but the real problem is you didn’t pay enough attention to what you were doing to remember it.
We’ve all done similar things. Without thinking about the fact that we are putting down our keys, we put them down. There is nothing to remember because we were never aware enough of what we were doing to make it a memory. But when our minds are alert in the present—when we pay attention to what we are doing—our memories are surprisingly functional and reliable.
This principle is important in other areas of our lives also. I read an interesting definition of spiritual and non-spiritual this morning. The author wrote that spiritual beings are those who have an awareness of physical existence and non-physical existence while non-spiritual beings only have an awareness of physical existence. As scientists have discovered, we hear what we are listening for, and when we are listening for something our hearing is actually more acute.
Just like the principle of making our memories more useful, and listening for a particular sound, if we are watching, waiting, expecting spiritual things we will be aware of them; we will notice when they occur in our lives. But if our minds get so busy with only the physical part of our existence, we often miss the spiritual things of life. The answer to both the memory problem and the spiritual problem is the same—awareness. God has instructed us to “be still and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10). Being still isn’t always possible, but paying attention to the present and being aware of what is going on around us does the same thing—it helps us recognize God working in our lives.