the gentle grace of journaling
A reprint from the Heart to Heart Newsletter, July 2015 edition
The rain tapped lightly against the window glass and fell softly off the edge of the open pane. As I sat inside watching the clouds passing by, my thoughts all clambered together like the thunder and then I began to write...
I was first introduced to journaling when I was sixteen. I took a local community Journal Keeping class at Roanoke College. In that class I learned how to journal and the benefits. Sometimes our thoughts and desires all come together like one big roar of thunder. Writing it all down, helps us to sort. It helps us to see what is really important.
Write whatever you want to be, wish you were, glad you are, feel deep inside, think about your mother-in-law or boss. Write Who God is to you, Who you wish He was. Write him a letter. Write your thoughts on your reading in the morning or the night. Just write!
Journaling is cleansing. It promotes focus. It is a discipline.
Another benefit that I have found is the discipline of thought. At times I am intentional about my gratitude or rather I need to be intentional. I write down things that I am thankful for each day and this in turn improves my attitude. Some people even have a separate journal for this; it is called a gratitude or blessings journal.
Journaling also helps us to track God in our lives. As the days busily pass and I remember to record a verse that impresses me or a word spoken, an answered prayer or unexpected detour, I can look back and see God's steps in my life.
Often I write down my prayers. There are two benefits to this. One, I must think through my prayer, rather than quickly spouting it out and secondly, I can record the answers which may be useful for encouragement for others and myself. Also, I can stop and record Scriptures that may go with that specific request.
Sometimes it is hard to know what to write. A good writing exercise is to put on some instrumental music and sit in a place you can relax. Set a timer. Write for five minutes. Just write whatever comes to mind. Your initial thoughts oftentimes are junk and then as you continue to write, the real issues will come out so don't fret about what you are writing at first.
Some say that stress and repressed or misplaced emotions cause physical illnesses. Journaling can also help relieve stress when you have no other outlet.
Journaling can benefit your life in so many ways. Why not give it a try?
Michelle Gill is a website designer, trail hiker sometimes runner, disc golfer's wife, barista, Jesus lover, book collector, mama, old house explorer and writer of Tupelo & Marmalade. Learn more at www.tupeloandmarmalade.com