This may be the key that has helped me through difficult change more than anything else.
Everyone needs a private life with God and one great way to express yourself in this relationship is to write letters to Him, and then let Him write back to you. How does he "write back to you"? This happens by getting quiet, listening for Him to speak to your heart, and then writing down whatever He says. I differentiate Him speaking in my journal by giving a different heading to His communication with me such as this...
June 20, 2012 Today the Lord says...
Then underneath this heading I write whatever I hear Him saying.
After this I give a new heading to my communication before I begin writing my thoughts again.
Doing this gives you a place to express your thoughts and receive from Him as well as keep a record of where you've come from. Having a record of things makes some people nervous, which is why I highly advise an online journal that is password protected. My advice is, don't share the password with anyone, not even your spouse.
I was mentoring a woman who followed through on this advice and her husband got very upset that she wasn't going to share the password. He wanted to read it and felt it was unwise to have a secret password from your spouse. I disagree wholeheartedly. While there may be wisdom in that for other things, even most things you do online, I believe everyone has not only the right but an absolute necessity to have a private personal relationship with God. This would include private thoughts, prayers and writings.
I have kept handwritten journals, and still have one that I periodically write in. However, I've noticed that I greatly hold back when it comes to these. By contrast, the online ones are raw, uncut, and quite honestly - real. This is because I'm not afraid of who's going to read it. Having a diary under lock and key doesn't really bring this kind of freedom because I've often heard people say that they don't write transparently because they are afraid of who might find the journal, including their children, after they die.
Again, for this reason I recommend online journaling for this kind of intimate writing. When you perish, so does it.
A few key rules of the road that make this type of writing work for me:
- No holding back - ever. Not on language, not on emotions, not on anything. God already knows I'm thinking it anyway. If it's a thought, it goes there.
- No word count, no limit - tapping away on the keys for 2 hours about one irritating issue is perfectly permissible in this world of private journaling.
- No editing - no spell check, no going back to make something sound more eloquent. This isn't about eloquence - it's about honesty.
- No guilt. This is a prayer. A plea. This is conversation with my Daddy God who already knows my good and bad. He's delighted that I've shown up to talk even though I might not be happy. He loves spending time with me when I'm not happy. He wants to make it better and the awesome thing is, I'm actually talking to the person who has the power to.
Have you tried journaling through changes, and if so what was your experience?