Hello my friends! It is a beautiful sunny day in Indiana. Oh, how I long for the sun to shine in the wintertime. Sunshine just helps me feel better mentally. How about you? In my last post, I talked about the importance of reaching out for help when you are struggling with your mental health. I spoke about how important it is to get help from counselors or a pastor. There are many other important aids available like taking medication, prayer, reading, and journaling. Everything I mentioned is a vital puzzle piece in your story.
Journaling has been one of the pieces that has helped me open up spiritually and emotionally. Now, before we get started, I know some of you might be rolling your eyes and thinking, “There is no way I have time, nor do I want to sit down and write words on a piece of paper.” I get that! I understand your feelings. I used to feel the same way. But, if you want to build intimacy with God, in a way you never thought was possible, I would like for you to keep reading and consider it. This is a new year, so why not try something new?
I will never forget the first time I entertained the thought of journaling. I was going to a Bible study at my church. I was listening to the teacher talk about the impact journaling had in her life. While I was listening to her, I started thinking, “Lord, I don’t know if I am going to be able to do this. But, I am willing to try because I need as much help as I can get. If this is something that will help me, please give me what I need to do this!”
When I got home that day, I couldn’t get her words out of my mind. So, I went to the store, walked over to the school supply aisle and bought a spiral bound notebook. It wasn’t one of those fancy leather journals that we have today. It was just a plain old spiral bound notebook. You don’t have to spend a lot of money on a journal.
I took that notebook home with anticipation in my heart. I felt very accomplished that I had taken a step towards attempting something new. The idea that journaling could make a difference in my life made me want to try it even more. I desperately wanted to move towards healing and I was hoping that journaling would help me move in that direction.
When I opened my notebook to the first page, I really didn’t know how I was going to start. So, I wrote down the date, January 3, 2001. Then, I noted what I was learning in my Bible Study and a scripture that meant something to me. And finally, I wrote a prayer to God to help me stay close to Him. That was my very first page of journaling.
My first journal entry was written 22 years ago. I am currently writing in my 28th notebook. I still prefer a spiral bound notebook. I guess I am a student in my heart and love using notebooks. You should use whatever makes you feel comfortable.
There are days I only write a few words and there are days I write page after page after page. For me, it is the absolute best tool for getting my feelings out. Journaling is therapy. Journaling has brought me closer to God than I ever thought was possible. Journaling has given me intimacy with my Savior.
My notebooks are filled with conversations that I’ve had with God. He is my best friend. He knows me better than anyone else does. He knows what is best for me and He knows my heart.
Writing has also helped me get my feelings out in a constructive way. It has helped me sort through my trauma, my issues, my depression, my anxiety, my panic attacks, my relationship with God and my relationships with others.
It is kind of hard to explain what happens when I write. God meets me on that page. For me, journaling is a holy work. He speaks to me and shows me what I need to learn. He comforts me and shows me the way I should go. He heals me with His words. He gives me wisdom. He loves me with His great compassion.
Look, I know it is hard to open up. It took me a really, really long time to build intimacy with Christ. I had so many trust issues that I didn’t realize I had. Every day I had to learn to trust Him. It took a long time. But, now that I look back, I am so grateful I kept at it.
I kept talking to Him. I persistently asked questions. I wrestled with Him over so many different issues. The conversations that are in my notebooks are about everything I have doubted or wondered about. Everything I have questioned, or was angry about, or longed for, or cried and cried over (that happened a lot!!), or laughed about, or mourned over. Everything that has happened to me before I started journaling, and everything since, are on the pages of those notebooks.
I have also written down scriptures that have gotten me through my suffering. I have filled many pages with what I have learned from Bible studies, books and my reactions to the things I have learned from counseling and from sermons. Those tear and coffee stained pages are my testimony that you can heal. You can move forward. You can have intimacy with the Trinity.
Sometimes it’s just hard to get things out verbally. That’s why I talk to Him through words written on paper. It is so important to seek Him. He wants to help us through every difficult situation that we face. He wants us to open up to Him.
I realize you might not be like me. That’s okay. Journaling might not be for you. You might not want to entertain the thought of writing your feelings down on a piece of paper. You might feel more comfortable talking to God verbally. That’s great too! I am here to encourage you either way.
I am here to cheer you on to communicate with God in a way that you haven’t before. He wants a relationship with you. Invite Him into your life. He wants to help you. He is always near. All you have to do is talk to Him. If you pursue Him, you will find Him. You will get to know Him in a way you never thought was possible. Go after Him with all your heart!!!
“You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.” Jeremiah 29:13
Until next time dear friends. This is my journey to joy!!!