How to Stop Zipping through the Years

If you’re looking for a fun and festive game for all ages, this might be it: Zip Bong. Everyone sits in a circle and uses their lips to cover their teeth, pretending to be elderly. If you’re elderly, you have a clear advantage—no pretending for you.

Someone begins the game by saying “Zip!” If it sounds funny, you’re doing it right! Play continues around the circle to the right, “Zip . . . zip . . . zip,” until someone chooses to say “Bong!” in a loud voice, which reverses play in the opposite direction. If players mess up and say “Zip” when it’s not their turn, or if they don’t say “Zip” after a “Bong” changes the direction, or if they show their teeth, they’re out.

While the Zip Bong game brings laughs, it’s anything but laughable when the name of the game describes your life. How is it that we zipped from January to December? Am I the only one who feels as if the year has slipped by, that somehow, we’re now only moments away from the bong of midnight that begins a New Year.

Though we can’t turn back time or hold it in our hands, it is possible to live it with more stick, and less zip. It’s a stick that anchors us to the gift and meaning of moments instead of getting lost in the waves of days that roll into years.

Research suggests that marking moments makes life feel as if it slows down. Remembering gives life more meaning.

It’s what God said from the very beginning! And He gave it a name: Ebenezer.

Now, I don’t mean the “Bah, humbug!” Ebenezer Scrooge in Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol. Instead, it’s the Ebenezer you may have sung in the hymn written by Robert Robinson in 1758, “Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing.”

“Here I raise my Ebenezer;

Here by Thy great help I’ve come;

And I hope, by Thy good pleasure,

Safely to arrive at home.”

It’s the Ebenezer that causes little children to pull on a grown-up’s coat sleeves for a modern translation, “How do I raise my Ebenezer?”

Good question, little one. The answer is as simple as a box of rocks. Ebenezer means “stone of help.” In the first half of the Bible, it was literally a stone. Basically, it was a memory rock that helped people remember that God helped them in the past and He would be there for them in the future as well.

People still use Ebenezer reminders today. I read about an elderly woman who keeps an old suitcase by her front door to remind her that this world is not her home; she’s going to live with Jesus in Heaven one day.

I have a stuffed bunny near my computer where I write. It’s 45 years old and looks ratty and worn. My dad gave it to me when I was five years old and very sick in the hospital. During my nine-day hospitalization, that bunny stayed by my side. Today that bunny is an Ebenezer daily reminding me of my dad’s love and my Heavenly Father’s healing.

Ebenezers are a way to mark moments and remember. Because remembering matters if we’re going to stop zipping through our everyday lives.

Remember God. Remember who He is and what He’s done. I’m seeking to do just that as I open His Word and think about His attributes from A to Z. God is Awesome, Beautiful, Caring, all the way to Zealous for me. For you. Then I seek to see His grace by entering each day expecting to see Him and what He is doing. I look for His awesomeness in creation, His beauty in a child’s laugh, and His care through a thoughtful text from a friend. He’s there, not just in the super cyber moments, but in the small and mundane. And then I mark—I remember—by sticking pen to paper and writing at least one sentence a day of where I’ve seen His grace. Because, friends, forgetting what I did yesterday or why I walked into a room is a real thing.

Remembering matters. It slows the zip and anchors our days to meaning. To Him.

Start a “Remember who God is . . .” list on your phone, in your new journal, or—my favorite—on sticky notes. It’s the stick that slows the zip as we grow in our relationship with God and savor the life He gave to you and me.

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