Journaling not for faint of heart

To be alone with our own thoughts means setting aside time, every day, for ourselves. Getting alone with our thoughts, reading, praying and journaling is a trustworthy spiritual practice that fosters an inner restfulness and attentiveness that blesses whoever we come into contact with that day. We can’t hope to reach others if we’re not in touch with ourselves.

Yet, daily, hard-core journaling is not for the faint of heart.

Debriefing life play by play can be exhausting. On the other hand, the unexamined life is hardly worth living. I believe the Lord wants each of us in close contact with Him; to tune in to our life below the surface. To voice our tender, strong desires. To name our fears. To live in response to his invitation to go deeper; to know God.

As a writer, I find journaling the ideal venue for this kind of spiritual work.

For me, daily journaling is essential to my soul, my craft and my coherence. When I go too long without a journal (e.g. on vacation/on the move) things pile up inside of me and by the end of a week bereft of journaling, I’m a mess. I talk faster, knee-jerk react to situations, interrupt people and growl at those who love me.

As a result, my colourful, oversized journal collection is really a hopeful investment in the quality of my inner life. Journaling clears my mental skies and refines and strengthens my emotional core. It orders my responses and informs my voice. In many ways, it informs who I am and what I’m about.

I journal daily. It’s not a habit; it’s a way to grow the inner life. 

I can’t imagine who or what I’d be without my journals. I fill one a month, sometimes two. What will become of these thoughts, prayers, rants and quotes? I have no idea. Sometimes I worry; so I journal about that too.

Whatever happens, I need to process and attend to the significant signs of God at work in my life. I need to record the pain and celebrate the joys of life. I need to be honest and vulnerable and fierce and strong.

For all of these reasons (and more), I need to journal. And so I do.

 

Note: another version of these thoughts  first appeared as a blog post for Inscribe Writers Online.