When you’re in the middle of a super-sized problem, a journal can help you unearth solutions and grow closer to God.
Today’s guest blogger is Jeanette Levellie, author of Touchable God: Finding the Lord's Friendship Through Prayer.
“Sandy told me I should keep a journal about this horrible time I’m walking through,” I told my friend Rachel, “but it’s just too painful to write about.”
Rachel agreed with Sandy. “Even if you write just one sentence a day, it will help you get a grip on your feelings, and that’ll be a start. You don’t have to write a book; just a sentence.”
When I finally took their advice, I was amazed at how much healing I experienced because of this simple yet powerful exercise. It’s become a soothing friend in my anguish, a haven to run to when I’m overwhelmed. And since no else sees it, it’s safe from anyone who might be offended by my candor.
What factors about journaling our prayers help us when we’re in the midst of a super-sized problem?
1. It’s Cathartic
Getting our feelings and impressions down on paper allows us to analyze our situation objectively. As long as our emotions stay locked away in our souls, we can’t find answers for what hurts. When we allow ourselves to say, “I’m mad at Mom when she embarrasses me in public,” or “My kid’s choices scare me,” we can begin to seek the healing we need.
2. It’s Empowering
When we share what’s been stuck inside, even if it’s ugly, we’re allowing God to get involved in our lives on a deeper level. We’re opening our hearts to His voice—thus to His wisdom and love. We might even choose to write down what we sense Him saying to us in answer to our cries. That’s when we start to heal.
3. It’s Faith-Building
Weeks, months and years from now we have a record to look back on. We see how the Lord brought us out of calamity or gave us wisdom in a sticky situation. That builds our faith to expect Him to move again when another mountain stands in our way.
4. It’s Enlightening
Journaling helps us gain fresh ideas and insights. As we write, we prime the pump of creativity and ingenuity. We leave behind yesterday’s thoughts and the stale, unoriginal ideas of the negative people who surround us. We open our minds to the bottomless well of God’s mind and heart so He can show us how to think and behave like He does. Wow!
5. It’s Cheap
My friend and fellow writer Jim Watkins reminded me of this fun benefit: “Journaling is cheaper than a therapist. My journal always listens to me and never judges me, even if my ramblings could be used as possible evidence in a sanity hearing.” So . . . if you can’t afford a therapist (or even if you can), write down your problems—as prayers—and let the healing begin!