Her Views

re:view – journaling

I know a lot of people who think journaling is important in living a meaningful life. I, however, am not one of them. The following is a re:view of my previously-written thoughts on journaling.
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I have never been a journal keeper. And yet over the years, I’ve collected several nice journals as gifts, or from spiritual retreats. I love them. I love to write, and I like the smooth feel of all those lovely empty pages waiting to be filled.

They’re still waiting. Because I just don’t get it. Writing every day about me – my day, my “high” or “low” – who cares? My brain is constantly processing every minute of the day and I just don’t see a reason to document any of that. Frankly, I’m just not that interested.

Lots of my friends write in journals. They explain to me the benefits, the incredible insights and answers from God they have tracked over the years, the growth they see documented. It sounds wonderful. But… where do you store all those accumulating volumes? And what happens if you get hit by a bus and your relatives end up having to sort through and dispose of all your things? Um… no thank you. There are some secrets I’m taking with me to the grave, and everyone should just be happy about it.

I’ve attempted writing in journals several times. Usually with the intention of connecting with God, or remembering answers to prayer. I discovered I mostly wrote when I was upset, or things were going badly. Then things would turn around, and I’d neglect writing. And I’d tear out the pages I’d written and throw them away. I’m apparently less introspective when life is going well. Live and learn and move on.

My favorite situation is at church, or a spiritual retreat, when you’re given a limited amount of time – usually around 10 minutes – to “listen to what God has to say to you.” Then you’re supposed to write his message in your journal. I have to be honest – this never works for me. I suspect God knows this about me: if I could assign him any 10 minutes of my day in which to speak, I would constantly “manage” him that way. But He insists on being wild and unpredictable, often silent on demand, and frequently whispering when I’m merely available.

Anyway, technically blogging counts as journaling.

3 thoughts on “re:view – journaling

  1. Nice to read an honest reply. Yeah, I journaled for four years in my life. I did it pretty regularly and I think as I was doing it it helped. It seemed like a lot of self talk in ink or pencil…and actually it helped…after a few years I went back and skimmed through and saw the growth…and yes…through it all away…because seriously I had changed and the worries and concerns I had no longer were…so neither here nor there with it…it served a good purpose but for no one else to ever read…

    I once came across a four year journal my father kept. It was written by my father who abandoned me , my mom and my baby sister before I was even age one. Through a series of events looking for my long lost dad in my 30’s…I visited his last known address. His landlord saved the journal up on top of his refrigerator!!! My Dad had passed away 12 years before and this journal was the only piece of my Dad left to me. The saddest part of reading that journal was, first my Dad was still searching for love in his final years and second…he never mentioned me, my sister or my mom…I still hold on to it…and I wonder if I should let it go…write a novel based on its very honest content or let it gather dust on the shelf…

    The Lord makes all things good for those who believe……

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    1. Wow, Sheila – what an incredible story. Thank you for sharing it here. It can be hard to see into the reality of our parent’s lives… but it can help shape who we are and who we choose to become. God is working all things together for good in your life.

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