28 January 2005

Chronicling the Journey

I have journals stacked up from when I was 13. Till I went paperless with my first PC and then the Palm, pen and paper was the only way to bring the deeper currents of life to the light. Today, journalling for me is a matter of scribbling on my Palm and reviewing them on the Desktop later. It's an exercise of ventilation and of making sense of the journey.

Chuck Swindoll himself has this to say: "I have been journaling for years, and the benefits are more than most would believe. A journal is a splendid way to spend time alone remembering and recording God’s dealings in my life. When I enjoy solitude, it is easy to think that those insights He reveals will stay in my mind forever. Not so. It isn’t long before they are submerged under my daily load of responsibilities and conversations."

He also shares some tips in an article on the Internet:

'As you record your experiences in your own words, you'll begin to see God's purpose working itself out in both times of peace and turmoil. Looking back over the pages, you'll see His hand in decisions made and paths taken.

As you begin your record of God's faithfulness, here are some hints to keep your journal fresh:

Write in it often. But don't feel obligated to make it a daily discipline. Some days you'll have a lot to write about. Other times, you will only need to scribble a few lines.
Keep it private. It's OK to keep this a dialogue between you and God. You'll find greater freedom to express your private struggles, and victories if no one else is going to read it.
Give yourself plenty of time. Writing brings things to mind that weren't necessarily there when you sat down. Deep spiritual insights take deep prayer and thought.
Remember that your life is significant. When you're tempted to think, "I don't have anything to write," write anyway. Your life and times are more significant than you realize. You never know how important your experiences will become.

As in any spiritual discipline, time and commitment are essential to establish the pattern of journal keeping. As this exercise becomes a natural part of your devotional life, you'll cherish both the process and record of walking with God.'

It's true that the real story only comes to light over days, weeks, even months. Every day is like a story within a larger story that is ever growing.

I envy the Abrahams and Noahs of the Old Testament. Their faith was raw and alive. They had a spirituality and community that doesn't have to be politically correct and is not artificially tied up to any institution, structure or code. Out in the desert, under the star-strewn sky, with no church, no bible, no written code. Only a heart hungering for meaning, a God to walk and talk with, all on a journey with friends - on a road travelled behind and a road unseen ahead.

Journalling is unravelling mystery. Journalling is experiencing life and God in our lives in the world that matters - the raw and real stuff of daily living.

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