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Inwardly Digest - Notes, Quotes, and Doodles

Notes, Quotes, and Doodles

Posted by Dan Weber on

Notes, Quotes, and Doodles

This morning I inched right up to the edge of 15%. Having memorized through Psalm 28, I’m at 14.99%, with 369 of the 2,461 verses memorized.

The journey has been filled with ups and downs, fits and starts. You can see here that my progress is more lumpy than linear: http://www.stlukes-church.com/inwardly-digest/progress-report/.

Some of that has to do with life rhythms. Some of it is related to the time of more familiar and less familiar Psalms. And some of it has to do with the substance of the content being memorized.

Concrete images and physical actions stick in my brain better. Abstract ideas and feelings are more difficult. I’m come to recognize that notes, quotes, and doodles all help with retention significantly. Early in the process, I really tried to capture the essence of the Psalms with doodles. I worked to create a “drop cap” or “initial” for each Psalm that told the story of the Psalm. But I found that many of the Psalms told an abstract story. At a loss for how to capture the ideas with images, I resorted back to brute memorization.

But by the time I got to Psalm 28, it was getting difficult to keep the abstract ideas straight as I tried to memorize the specific words and synonyms. So I started taking notes. Crossway puts out a journal edition, with the text of Scripture on the left face and a blank page on the right.

Moving beyond polished images and doodles, I gave myself to make a mess of the page with a combination of pictures and words. This helped me turn the corner and complete Psalm 28.

If there’s a visual way to capture a verse or stanza, I still prefer that. But words work too. It could be a quote from Saleska, or Kidner, or Reardon: “The Suppliant Answered.” Or it might be a question I have of the text, “When have I felt like this?” It might be a series of bullets answering one of my own questions: when God seems silent, when evil is winning, when justice is needed, when physical death seems near.” Not surprisingly, taking the time to engage with the ideas and feelings and application of these prayers has made them much more vivid in my mind and memory; it turns out that integrating our hearts and heads might just be the way to go.

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