Keeping a Journal

Keeping a journal is sure a marvelous way to watch for the Hand of the Lord in our lives.  I say marvelous bcz of the many times I’ve seen the “rest of the story” or the completion of the story as I’ve gone back and reread passages written in days gone by.  Had I not kept a note or had I not written a thought, a description of an event, a heartfelt prayer, or lamented a painful sorrow, I’d not have connected the beginning to the end of a trial — an answer to an ache or God’s plan for the experiences of sorrow, regret or pain.

I remember thinking {fearing, really} that I wouldn’t want someone to find my journals, read them and know my deepest thoughts.  I’m not so concerned about all that anymore — probably bcz I can’t imagine why anyone would take the time to read them.  But there’s still an occasional pang in my heart that my journals might be read by others and they’ll misinterpret what’s written, pin me to that entry, miss the bigger picture or misunderstand why I write what I do or how I do.

Keeping a journal is so much more than just documenting events — it’s really an exercise of discerning current “reality” and what I think about it (at the time).  It’s in the writing that we come to grips with what we really feel about a matter as if the instrument of our writing is a spotlight giving clarity or illuminating that current reality. I say this bcz it’s sure interesting how after writing down the thoughts or the feelings of an event/circumstance/season, I’ll look back and reread those thoughts and see that either I feel the same way or I was seeing that circumstance all wrong and am glad for the passage of time to see things differently. This is (or should be) encouraging — encouraging bcz it shows growth — encouraging bcz it shows God is at work — encouraging bcz it reaffirms to me to be teachable, flexible, open to God’s work in my heart and life. And, it’s encouraging to see growth especially if you’re like me, the devil sure attacks by trying to Superglue me to my past failings (and keep me there).

From time to time, rereading what I’ve written in days gone by is really quite humbling.  I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve opened an old journal and thought:  Omygoodness, I never want to repeat that stupid behaviour, or think/say those self centered things!  Reading past thoughts/feelings reveals a lot of things — helps me to reevaluate my thinking and to, if necessary, realign it with God’s Word and not according to how things seem(ed) at the time.

Another thing that “looking back” does, is to reveal God’s workHis ways and His purposes for various trials and temptations I/we face.  We can’t learn much if we don’t look back and remember what He’s done. It’s in the remembering that our faith is made surer, stronger, more secure. It’s in the looking back that trust is built and/or strengthened. It’s in the remembering that we can give thanks.

Keeping a journal ultimately shows us that God is writing our story. He is working all the stuff — everything — together for His glory and our good. When I write in anguish over an event, it’s almost a blaring signal to me now: watch! wait and see! God’s working! this is so hard! this is so big: God’s surely in it!!

And, what do you know? It’s always true. God’s at work. He’s in the big things. He’s in the little things. He’s working for His glory and my good.  And I’ve got His Word on it.  And, to God be the Glory:  I’ve got my own words to remind me of this incomprehensible truth.

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