I have been resistant to journaling for years. I would like to be able to write out my complaints, heartaches and prayers to God the way the psalmist did. Writing is confession, says my pastor. It would be rewarding to embark on this valuable spiritual discipline and dialogue with the Lord on paper. But a certain and very real fear holds me back.
I don’t journal because quite simply I fear someone will read my journal. You can call my reluctance to journal unreasonable (OK, even stupid) but what if somebody did read it? Even after I am dead and gone family members could pry into my most private and innermost thoughts. I freeze at the thought.
I recently shared my journaling fears with a friend. I explained to her that there was just no way I could journal because of the chance that other eyes might trespass into the deepest recesses and issues of my heart. What would these people think of me then?
My confidante asked me what it would take to begin to journal my walk with the Lord. I told her I would have to have a secure lock and key (seriously). In addition, my journals would have to be destroyed when I died. She then pointed out that she believes the enemy of my soul doesn’t want me to begin to journal because he knows that the process will bring great healing to my soul. That simple statement gave me pause to rethink the issue. Perhaps she’s right, I thought.
“Who says it has to be in a fancy fabric-covered journal anyway?” she continued, emphasizing the word “journal” as she continued to challenge my way of thinking. “Write postcards instead. Just start writing on a piece of paper, prayerfully go over it with the Lord, and then immediately destroy it. Do you have a paper shredder?”
A paper shredder. Yes, I did have a paper shredder. And a good one, at that, as I began to recall the sound of its motor. My friend was right. Who says a journal has to be something stiff, handsome and hardbound that sits around the house for years or decades? Her ability to look differently at the situation had arrested my complete attention. “I can just think of it as writing postcards to the Lord,” I excitedly began to think out loud. “I’ll write out all my struggles and hurts and anger on paper, then take it to the foot of the cross and shred it.”
Maybe the way that I journal won’t be the conventional or usual way that everybody else journals, but what freedom of mind and spiritual release to know that I can shred dozens of spiritual lament-laden postcards in my sturdy and dependable paper shredder.
“What in the world are you shredding up there?” my husband asked the other day. Oh, honey, it’s not what I'm shredding in the world. Rather, it’s what’s getting shredded out of this world.
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