Monday, August 17, 2009


I've come to a bit of a troubling problem the past few weeks. I feel that I have mostly forgotten how to learn.

I don't mean that I think I know everything, or a lot, or that there are things that I do not know. That would be absurd. What I mean is that I seem to be having a difficult time retaining and recalling new information.

I've been reading a lot more in the past 7-8 months. And I've easily read more books in the past 2 months than I have in the past 5 years.....not counting this calendar year.

I used to be an avid reader, both for knowledge/pleasure....since I'm a huge dork, those are pretty interchangeable for most subjects. But I mostly stopped reading when I left school, got married and started raising Brooke. Granted, a lot of things shifted around that time, but my cessation of learning was one of them.

Now that I've begun reading frequently again, I feel that I'm unable to acquire and retain information in the way I used to. I've had the ability for most of my life to just...well...remember most things. I hardly ever studied in school including college. I didn't have a photographic memory by any means, but I would retain important bits that stuck out to me. But more so than basic information, I easily absorbed theories and concepts.

Now -- not so much.

This is mainly a problem with my spiritual formation. I have a very hard time concentrating on, digging into, studying a specific theological concept. I feel unable to and uncomfortable 'meditating on' things the way I used to. I struggle to apply concepts to my life, to find points of reference or significance, and at times I struggle to recall certain ideas at all.

At least, in my personal study.

I've been finding more and more lately in our group that I remember things that I had since "forgotten" while we're having our discussions. It's as if i'm accessing what I've read and retained while I'm speaking with other people and haven't figured out how to bring it back up when I'm by myself.

This is frustrating....but I'm not sure if this is entirely bad.

We've talked a good deal in our group about how God desires us to read and work out scriptures in a group setting. How personal reflection is important...but more important is to talk out and work out meanings of scriptures in a group.

How scriptures were written and disseminated with just such practices in mind. How most books (save a few) were written to GROUPS of people as opposed to individuals. That people were supposed to get together and figure out what it meant collectively. To really work out their faith collectively as opposed to by themselves.

Because of this, our faith and our growth in the knowledge of God is very much a 'personal' journey but it is by no means a 'private' one. It is very much so meant to be done in a corporate setting.

I'd like to think that I need to change the way that I "learn" to include this information. That I should not be so frustrated with this development. That I shouldn't be so focused on returning to "the way I learn" as the way I remembered it 5-6 years ago.

Instead I should be embracing the method that God is allowing me to learn things through at this season of my life. That I shouldn't be fighting a natural progression or change. That I should be glad that I'm able to relearn in a way that I am not necessarily comfortable or familiar with. Perhaps I'll get more comfortable with it and less frustrated with time.

Or maybe my ripe old age is just catching up with me. I did just turn 27 after all.