I have had a journal for as long as I can remember. This habit has transformed my life, and looking back on the beginning is sort of comical – it’s sort of developed in phases.
Age 7 through high school was what I’d like to summarize as the “dear diary phase” – mostly superficial and on a rare occasion (in HS) a glimpse into what was truly going on in my head and heart. It was mainly daily/weekly/monthly/season of life summaries: Boys I liked followed by the reasons I no longer liked them a month (truthfully most of the times weeks) later ; relationship challenges that left me clueless ; and how much I hated doing things I didn’t really like/ want to do.
Then life got more complicated. Things got deep. I went to college and learned a lot more about myself, my heart, the world, and had a host of new experiences. I went to counseling. I felt a and had to deal with a lot of toxic emotions, relationships, and lies.
As these things began to unfold and weigh on me, and as my dependence on the Lord began to grow, journaling changed. Writing in my journal became an outlet. It was a way to pour out my heart to the Lord and remind my heart of truths that were threatened to be drowned out by the noise of my life. At the beginning of my senior year of college I told the Lord “I don’t know what’s going on, but I know I need you. So I am going to read your Word trusting you will do something with it.”
I was desperate, and I wrote about this desperation as I read. I wrote about what I was learning. Eventually writing truths became songs as looking back over the Word and meditating came with melodies. There was, however, one particular marked point that transformed my journaling that I come back to often.
This turning point came while reading in Deuteronomy where God tells the Israelites numerous times not to forget where he has brought them from – “out of the land of Egypt, out of the place of slavery” (Deuteronomy 6:12)
“Be careful that you don’t forget the Lord Your God by failing to keep his commandments…” (Deuteronomy 8:11)
“Be careful that your heart doesn’t become proud and you forget the Lord your God who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the place of slavery. He lead you through a great and terrible wilderness” (Deuteronomy 8:14 – )
and Chapter 8 verse 17 – 18 says…
“You may say to yourself, ‘my power and my own ability have gained this wealth for me, but remember that the Lord your God gives you the power”
And my absolute favorite is Deuteronomy 2:7 “For the Lord your God has blessed you in all the work of your hands. He knows your going through this great wilderness. These 40 years the Lord your God has been with you. You have lacked nothing.”
These truths ring true even more today ! We must be careful not to forget God and become prideful, forsaking his Words and His will for our lives. The remembrance God calls the Israelites to exercise can be and should be done by us – remembering God’s Word but also remembering past deliverance in our lives – starting with our salvation ! That is what journaling has been for me – a much needed reminder of deliverance. The same pattern we see in Deuteronomy where their hope for future deliverance was rooted in the past is true for us ! But here in the already and not yet – in between Christs death and second coming – it is a wilderness ! Life is hard ! Continue reading