They say your earliest childhood memories reveal something about your personality. Whatever was first to burn an impression deep enough onto your brain to stick is usually something that you intensely like or dislike.
I believe my first memory happened around age three:
I was in church in the balcony. My parents were sitting behind me, and had allowed me to sit in the row just ahead. We were singing and I had my hymnbook open, and was enthusiastically joining in, just like all the grown ups.
Suddenly, there came a hand from behind me. It wasn’t my mom or dad–it was some other grown up. The person reached out and turned my hymn book right side up, then handed it back to me. When I glanced back, several adults were smiling in (what I considered to be) a patronizing, condescending way. I stiffly turned myself to face forward, and rotated my hymn book back the way I had it. I then continued to sing, standing tall with my chin up.
Socrates wisely urged his students to, “Know thyself.” Know what you’re good at. Know your limitations. Know the areas you are often found lacking.
It’s that last category–the ‘found lacking’ one–that my first childhood memory serves to highlight. This little episode, is so fitting, given what I know about myself. Namely:
- I crave independence deeply.
- I intensely like to be right.
- And I hate to be proven wrong.
In other words, I struggle with pride. And while the hymnbook story is cute, and makes me laugh at my little self, the grown up version of my pride isn’t cute. It’s very ugly.
Since before I could read, God has been drawing me to himself. Like a hand from behind, reaching out to correct my course, God wants to recreate me into the best possible version of myself.
I have stubbornly resisted, time and again, but he has persisted. He has reached into my life and shown me the way. And as I look back, both to my earliest memories, and to my most recent ones, learning to ‘know myself’as he already does, is a positive step toward surrendering to his Lordship.