Have you ever written down your prayers, or journaled an experience that you don’t want to forget?
I have found this process can be both revelatory and a way to process emotions, spiritual growth, and focus.
Setting aside time and space for life reflection and re-evaluation is a valuable priority, but one that can so easily get lost in the daily demands of life. Though I continued to work outside the home 24-30 hours a week, for this past August I made two proactive decisions: 1. Stay off social media. 2. Calendar chunks of time to rest, reflect, and renew my vision and purpose for the days ahead.
I also spent time writing.
As far as staying off social media… Well, honestly, the way August unfolded as a chaotic, catastrophic, conflicted, combative, compassionate month of untold complications all over the world and even closer to home, I was perfectly content to be publicly silent. More time for prayer and listening – to God and people that matter.
And those times of contemplation, rest, and seeking God? Sweet and satisfying.
And while God’s will and way shall continue to unfold, I am filled with new resolve to heed the words of Paul in Ephesians 5, “So be careful how you live. Don’t live like fools, but like those who are wise. Make the most of every opportunity in these evil days. Don’t act thoughtlessly, but understand what the Lord wants you to do. And give thanks for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (v15-17, 20)
As a word girl, I continue to read some incredible books which I shall most certainly share in the days ahead. Today I wanted to mention that I also found it valuable to work through “Present Over Perfect Guided Journal” by Shauna Niequist. Allow me to share some of her “prompts” from the journal, so you can get an idea.
“A pastor of a fast-growing church was telling the story of how the church had exploded, how they couldn’t stop the growth, an inexplicable, unstoppable phenomenon. The other pastor, seasoned by experience, pushed gently, “You’ve built this, and it’s okay to say that. You’ve intentionally and strategically built a very large church.” The young pastor insisted, “We had nothing to do with it.” “Well, not nothing,” said the older pastor. “You kept putting up chairs.”
Journal Prompt: We can get so caught up in pursuing our callings that we sometimes forget there is more than one way to steward that calling. We don’t have to pursue bigger and faster. We can take down some chairs… Where will you start?________________________________S. Niequist
Honey, I took down a few chairs.
Journal Prompt: Along the way you will disappoint someone. But here’s the good news: you get to decide who you’re going to disappoint. Who are you willing to disappoint? Who are you absolutely not willing to disappoint? __________________________________________________
Journal Prompt: Each season will come with its own purposes and priorities that call out for your time. What are you committed to in this season?_______________________________________
Journal Prompt: Of all the things we get to leave behind, one of the heaviest is the opinions of others. Whose opinions are you still clutching with white knuckles? Why are they so difficult to release?____________________________________________
Journal Prompt: You get to make your life. In fact, you have to. And you can remake it too. We get to shape our days and our weeks, and if we don’t, they’ll get shaped for us. What are the best words to describe how you want to live? (my answers in photo)
As with any workbook or guided journal, it is only as valuable as the time and effort one puts into engaging with it. But perhaps you might find such a thing helpful.
May I also humbly submit to you that my own book “Soul Strong – 7 Keys to a Vibrant Life” is a very interactive journey through important areas of life which, if addressed through prayer and study, will help prepare you to hold strong in faith through every season of life. It is available in Paperback, Audible, Kindle, and AudioCD book.
Everyone journals differently. You don’t have to be a great writer and you don’t have to journal regularly. But processing through a pen may be a positive way to both dialogue with God and discover what’s going on inside yourself.
“Journaling is a way of paying attention to our lives — a way of knitting the vast ball of our experiences into something with shape that attests to the state of our soul. On the pages of a journal, in the privacy of a moment, we can take tentative steps into truth and scour our feelings, hurts, ideas and struggles before God. During times of transition, travel, loss, joy, illness and decision making, journaling can provide a way of processing the hopes, fears, longings, angers, and prayers of our heart.”Adele Ahlberg Calhoun, “Spiritual Disciplines Handbook”
May the grace of Christ, the love of God, and the friendship of the Holy Spirit bring you comfort and strength, Lucinda
“Helping You Choose a Life of Serenity and Strength”
©2021 Lucinda Secrest McDowell www.LucindaSecrestMcDowell.com
Lucinda Secrest McDowell is a storyteller and seasoned mentor who engages both heart and mind while “Helping You Choose a Life of Serenity & Strength.” She has authored 15 books including “Soul Strong – 7 Keys to a Vibrant Life” and “Life-Giving Choices – 60 Days to What Matters Most.” She writes from “Sunnyside” cottage in New England and shares encouraging words at LucindaSecrestMcDowell.com