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journaling

Journaling: A Way To Heal

I have been “off the grid” for a couple of weeks.  This does not mean I have not been writing.  The fact of the matter is that I have been writing a lot, just not publicly.  Normally, I am a very “open” person.  Those of you who read my postings regularly know that I share quite freely about my emotions and the circumstances and events that take place in my life.

However, there are some things that come along that I need to deal with on a more private level.  I have several networks of friends whom I can turn to on occasions such as these.  I also have my intimate relationship with the God of my understanding and even when friends are not available, He is always ready to help me bear my burdens.  And, of course, I have my best friend, my husband.

But, perhaps because of my deep connection to the written word, I also use the tool of writing to help me in such times.  I find that journaling about a problem or an issue helps me to put things into perspective a little easier.  And just the fact that words appear on paper is already a balm to my troubled spirit.

When I journal I always use pen and paper rather than the computer.  I love the old-fashioned way of expressing my thoughts by manually writing them out.  There’s something more personal, more intimate, about hand-writing.  And, of course, it’s my handwriting, which brings the subject matter even closer to home.

So when I am heart-burdened, writing out the problem, the pain, the confusion, in long-hand is very therapeutic.  I can sometimes find the courage to put some words down on paper that I might not be able to express verbally.  And even though it’s subjective, there is also that sense of it being someone else’s problem.  In fact, sometimes I write in the third person singular, as though I were writing about another person.

Journaling my sorrow allows me to get what’s inside, outside.  It is yet another way to nurture myself.  I refuse to be bogged down by pain, and I surely do not want the pain to fester into anything like resentment or anger!!  Those are two cancers of the soul that I will not allow to hang around.

And so my pen travels across the pages of my journal, and as it leaves its inky trail my heart lightens and everything seems more bearable.  I always have a handful of pretty journals on hand for such writing.  Wrapping those dark feelings between two beautifully designed covers somehow lessens their hold on my heart and turns my journaling into another level of spiritual growth.    

Shared Wisdom: My Friend Max

If you follow my postings you already know about my “love affair” with Max Lucado.  In my opinion, no other modern day spiritual writer touches on the affairs of the soul in such a compassionate and human manner.  His words reach into my heart like the comforting embrace of a friend.  So I was overjoyed to receive a copy of his Grace For The Moment – 365-Day Journaling Devotional from my husband for Christmas.

In the front of this book, as part of the introductory section, are four pages of writing with which I was already familiar from a previous book.  They are what I refer to as “The Choice” pages and whenever I need some  extra grounding in my day I go to them and take a few minutes to read them. I would like to share these daily choices which, as Max Lucado explains, because of Calvary we are free to choose.

I CHOOSE LOVE…..
No occasion justifies hatred; no injustice warrants bitterness.
I choose love.  Today I will love God, and what God loves.

I CHOOSE JOY…..
I will invite my God to be the God of circumstance.  I will refuse the temptation to be cynical ….. the tool of the lazy thinker.
I will refuse to see people as anything less than human beings created by God.  I will refuse to see any problem as anything less than an opportunity to see God.

I CHOOSE PEACE…..
I will live forgiven.  I will forgive so that I may live.

I CHOOSE PATIENCE…..
I will overlook the inconveniences of the world.  Instead of cursing the one who takes my place, I’ll invite him to do so.  Rather than complain that the wait is too long, I will thank God for a moment to pray.  Instead of clenching my fist at new assignments, I will face them with joy and courage.

I CHOOSE KINDNESS…..
I will be kind to the poor, for they are alone.  Kind to the rich, for they are afraid.  And kind to the unkind, for such is how God has treated me.

I CHOOSE GOODNESS…..
I will go without a dollar before I take a dishonest one.  I will be overlooked before I will boast.  I will confess before I will accuse.  I choose goodness.

I CHOOSE FAITHFULNESS…..
Today I will keep my promises.  My debtors will not regret their trust.  My associates will not question my word.  My wife will not question my love.  And my children will never fear that their father will not come home.

I CHOOSE GENTLENESS…..
Nothing is won by force.  I choose to be gentle.
If I raise my voice may it be only in praise.
If I clench my fist, may it be only in prayer.
If I make a demand, may it be only of myself.

I CHOOSE SELF-CONTROL…..
I am a spiritual being……  After this Body is dead, my spirit will soar.
I refuse to let what will rot, rule the eternal.  I choose self-control.  I will be drunk only by joy.  I will be impassioned only by my faith.
I will be influenced only by God.  I will be taught only by Christ.
I choose self-control.

Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,
gentleness and self-control.  To these I commit my day.
If I succeed, I will give thanks.  If I fail, I will seek His grace.
And then, when this day is done, I will place my head on His pillow and rest.

Max Lucado
When God Whispers Your Name

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