Journaling: What Is My Why?

Prompt: “Why journal? What benefits are you hoping to experience? If you’ve kept a journal before, how has journaling been helpful to you in the past? How would you like journal writing to help you in your daily life? What issues do you think journaling could help you solve?”

This is certainly not the first time I’ve kept a journal. My first official “diary” had a brass lock and key and was all mine, a big deal for 10-year-old me. Even then it bothered me to mess up the pristine pages with writing, especially in various unmatching shades of blue pens.

But how rewarding it was to see the pages fill with my own words. I wrote about what happened each day, but more important is that I began to write out my thoughts and feelings. It’s this emergent self-reflection that I look back on with curiosity. I was so young! My internal life was surely active, but my awareness of it and communication of it was only just beginning.

Putting words to my feeling and experience as a person living in this world one day at a time, with others living in the same world one day at a time (yet in our own little worlds) fascinates me! This challenges me. I want to look out, observe, reflect, record, describe–not so much to analyze, as to fully experience.

Travel journaling was incredible for this. I remember sitting on a street corner in Malaysia just watching, writing, taking everything in. Like wanting to breathe deep, more deeply, and deeper still–the more I could experience in a moment by writing, the more engaged and aware I felt. It was so dynamic and energizing.

And I want that now. I want to feel that vitality, energy and engagement again. After these difficult years–I want to stop holding my breath, I want to open up and breathe deeply again. When writing, I feel so much more alive! I have this expansive sense of living more fully when I am writing. And a conviction that I am being more faithful to the life I do have, when I write.

Through depression, confusion, anxiety–yet also through wonderful events, vivid inspirations, joy and spiritual growth–writing has been there for me. It’s a place of confidence for me. When I “give into it” and just go with it,  the process of writing never fails me. God has given me a love of reflective and expressive personal writing, and I want to cherish.

To borrow the famous Olympic runner Eric Liddle’s line from the movie Chariots of Fire, I say, “God smiles when I {write}.” And I smile too.

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