In this age of instant messaging, with texts, emails, phone calls, you may wonder why I am writing you a letter? Well, I thought it might be good to find something other than a bill in your mailbox, and also you asked if I would send you some of the points we covered in our conversation about Journalling. So here goes…
I was introduced to the idea of writing a journal by Joyce Huggett, when I went to her course on Listening Prayer. She suggested we write a daily letter to God telling him how we were feeling and how life was treating us. When we had expressed our thoughts and feelings about ourselves and our circumstances, she advised us
- to pause,
- to listen,
- to maybe meditate on an object or a Bible passage (remember to check the meditation downloads!)
- and to seek God’s perspective.
Then she encouraged us to write down anything which we felt God was showing us or speaking to us about.
To be honest, even though I had written a daily diary for over 17 years at that point, I felt highly resistant and sceptical about this approach! But my desire to explore silence and listening prayer and to go deeper with God was, thankfully, stronger than my resistance. So I tentatively began to follow her advice.
In the midst of a busy schedule, taking time to stop, to write and record the feelings, events and situations, became a good discipline and a positive way to reflect on life and most of all a great way to develop my relationship with God and to begin to become more familiar with the way he speaks and guides.
We can often find that the speed at which life passes by, leaves little room for reflection and so we begin
- to loose touch with how we are feeling
- how we are behaving
- how we are impacting those around us
- how those around us are impacting us!
Writing a journal helps us to address these points. It enables us to gain insight, perspective and together with revelation and wisdom from God enables us to change and grow.
Joyce encouraged us just to buy an exercise book and start writing. Initially I did just that, but after a while, I began to use hard backed books. Recently I have begun to use more beautiful hard backed books which I have received as gifts. There is a sense that a nice book with an attractive cover can be more motivating to write in! It also shows an expectation that this is a valuable activity in which significant insights can be revealed and duly recorded.
What about privacy I hear you ask? Well, with my writing being described as the handiwork of an aphasic gorilla or a drunken spider on roller skates, that has never really been an issue for me, since my scrawl is not that easy to read! But it is a valid question, though I think our inner lives are probably less interesting to others than we might imagine.
We do need to be honest in our journals and we do not want to be overly worried about their contents being read. So, take reasonable care over where it is kept and if you feel it is necessary, you could use a code for any entries which might be damaging to anyone’s life or reputation.
So why write? There are many reasons, but in these letters we are just looking at three of them.
- First reason, as I have outlined above, is to clarify our thoughts, feelings, views and experiences.
- The second reason is to chart the journey and we will look at that next time!
Keep running the race marked out for you!