Journal On!

I considered removing the previous 3 ½ pages from my journal last evening.  My voice sounds rambling and agitated and my thoughts wander around like whiny children needing a nap.

Through years of journaling I have discovered that agitation and irritation are sure-fire catalysts for filling up journal pages.

I purse my lips and set my jaw and chronicle the general aggravations of life.

Write away.

This is not the case every night, of course.  A survey of my journals would find those descriptions of marvelous moments, like the birth of a child or grandchild, familiar to journal-keepers everywhere.  I think with my pen through a passage of scripture. I pray on paper.

And journals are big business, with over 10 million sold annually.

There has, however, been a question at the back of my mind as to whether I will leave this lifetime of soul-searching for posterity. Business philosopher Jim Rohn said, “There are three things to leave behind: your photographs, your library and your personal journals. These things are certainly going to be more valuable to future generations than your furniture.”

Well, sure, Jim. And it would be a great if a son or daughter or grandchild found these pages profound in observation, wise, a treasure trove of lessons learned.

However, I rather worry that they might simply be seen as the messy ramblings of a generally dissatisfied woman.

But life is messy. Sometimes terribly.

The question remains: Should I leave my journals for others (note to self: define “others”) to read?

If the answer is “yes”, I have a few guidelines:

  • Do not self-edit. A journal is, by its very nature, an honest account of the goings-on in one’s life. It probably won’t make it to the big screen (unless there’s something YOU’RE NOT TELLING US), so let it ride.
  • Do not just list what happened that day. Not to get too touchy-feely here, but include how you felt about what happened. It’s cathartic. Trust me. And you might, just might, avoid having to pay someone later to listen to you process how you feel.
  • Remember that, by the time someone gets around to reading your account of your life, you will be gone. Hopefully to heaven. Leaving them a few things to wonder about might lend a mysterious air to your memory. In case that’s important to you. If they are wide-eyed in shock or gasping in horror, well, there it was and there it is.

Hopefully, my words spilling over page after page, journal after journal, will simply testify of a woman who walked through life with a God who loved her, a God who read every page, and, in the end, smiled and said, “Well done.”

I’m happy to think He won’t be standing there with a bottle of whiteout and a big red pen.

Do you keep a journal? If so, how is your experience similar to – or different from – mine?

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3 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Charity on September 20, 2012 at 11:53 pm

    I thank you for encouraging me to write in a journal.

    Journaling has been building blocks for my life story. I like you; have times in my life that were messy. Sometimes terribly! Reality is life can be messy, as you stated; yes sometimes terribly. I am thankful that I have written these times down along with my prayers to God for guidance through those times. I am thankful when He sees me through and I can journal those results also. I hope that whoever reads my journal will know that life happens, and they too can turn to God for guidance. They are not alone that there is someone who cares enough to listen, whose arms you can run to. Someone that loves them because they MATTER!

    I pray that the person/s will see a woman who testifies to LOVE.

    THERE IS NO GREATER LOVE GOD’S LOVE!

    Romans 8:37-39
    But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God.

    Reply

  2. Posted by Erin on September 21, 2012 at 10:36 am

    I have recently started journaling. I know that you have encouraged me to just….”write”… However, it is still tempting to only write the beautiful and lovely that God is speaking to me. “Righteous” only journaling:(. It is so much harder to write those not so pretty thoughts down. Maybe because those not so prettys are not so easily processed. I am a work in progress though and maybe as I get my feet more wet I will wade deeper in the cathartic waters of journaling. Thanks for the encouragement. Again:)

    Reply

  3. Posted by Mary Lucas on November 5, 2012 at 1:24 am

    Thank you for directing me to this blog. In my life journaling has been an exercise that I have practiced in extreme grief/stress or extream joy (ie: traveling) I would love if I could find some place in the middle. It is interesting to think who could potentially read your thoughts someday, and what a testimony they could find…or as you suggest a raw authentic view into a real persons everyday walk. It is a discipline, that does take time, but as you suggest could save in therapy bills later:) As I move through this challenging
    journey with my mom, it would be a good practice to pick back up!

    Reply

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