When it comes to life experiences and faces, I’ve been known to have a higher-than-average memory. Although I have to say that nowadays, either age is catching up on me, or today’s tech-infused instant lifestyle is simply more distracting.
But when it comes to tasks, I just cannot remember as well. Household chores have been left undone too many times to count. Once I put a kettle to boil, and the next time I came into the kitchen (for something else!), all the water had evaporated and the kettle close to melting. I’m thankful that nothing more dangerous happened!
If it’s tasks affecting only me, it doesn’t matter if I forget. But I’m prone to saying “Yes” to completing a task or helping someone out, and then find it wiped clean from memory. I suppose it’s okay if it’s a small task. But my negligence have led to several painful consequences and the loss of trust. Those repercussions and the fact that they’re my fault keep me up at night sometimes.
To give an insight into this, here’s a story. Once someone had passed me CDs of kids’ praise songs and asked me to write them out on boards to be used in a certain Sunday School. I happily said yes, went home, kept the CDs and boards nicely so I won’t lose them… and forgot. Months later, the lady approached me about it, and I couldn’t even remember her asking in the first place. We didn’t know each other very well, so I certainly don’t blame her for not trusting me with work after that. Add to that one or two similar incidences that year, and my reliability was questioned with a severe rebuke that truly honestly hurt.
Perhaps not everyone sees this problem of not keeping promises as important. But I value integrity highly, and this time I had to look in the mirror.
One verse became instrumental in pushing me to take action and do better. Psalm 15 is a description of a righteous man, and verse 4 describes him as:
“He who swears to his own hurt and does not change.”
That’s the NKJV version. The other versions are such:
- “who keeps an oath even when it hurts, and does not change their mind;” (NIV)
- “He keeps his word even to his own disadvantage and does not change it [for his own benefit];” (AMP)
- “who keeps his word whatever the cost,” (HCSB)
- “someone who keeps their promise even when it hurts;” (CEB)
The gravity in which a promise is taken impresses on and convicts me. Sure you can say that a promise is not as “big a deal” as an oath. But if one can’t even keep a promise, who’s to say that one can keep an oath or vow, or stay committed? The true character of a person is revealed in the smaller insignificant things.
So I had to ask myself: Am I forgetful because it’s just my natural make-up? Or is it actually a true measure of my heart and how much I value others?
In these few years, I’ve been working extra hard to remember and fulfill promises I’ve kept, small or big. I do this by listing down every single thing I’ve been asked to do, even it’s just a request for a short prayer.
Also, I’ve been more careful with the promises I do make. Instead of saying yes to everything, I check my time and capability. It’s made me give more weight to my ‘Yes’ and ‘No’s.
I still forget and make mistakes. I still stay up some nights. But the only thing I can do is to try again in the morning in renewed grace and mercy.
Do any of you struggle with keeping promises?
Habit tracker: Week 2/4 Post 2/5