A great series on journalling is running Wednesdays at Holy Experience.
1 I lift up my eyes to the hills—
where does my help come from?
2 My help comes from the LORD,
the Maker of heaven and earth.
3 He will not let your foot slip—
he who watches over you will not slumber;
4 indeed, he who watches over Israel
will neither slumber nor sleep.
5 The LORD watches over you—
the LORD is your shade at your right hand;
6 the sun will not harm you by day,
nor the moon by night.
7 The LORD will keep you from all harm—
he will watch over your life;
8 the LORD will watch over your coming and going
both now and forevermore.
I take a cue from Julia Cameron's "morning pages" - three written pages, longhand, first thing in the morning to unlock creativity and clear the muddle of the night. "Brain drain" or "stream of consciousness." There is no wrong way to do it. These are not meant for show, for publication, not even for re-reading within the first few months. They are not meant to be art or even writing, Cameron says. (The Artist's Way: Creativity as a Spiritual Practice, p. 25). No one benefits but me - perhaps I will go back at some point and glean ideas for further expansion, for articles or other writing, but this is a cleansing, a release, a primary tool of creative recovery. Moods don't matter, grammar doesn't matter, just getting thoughts out and on the page.
Some days it's a laundry list. Some days it's a conversation with my best friend, the One who loves me no matter what, passionately and completely. It is an essential emptying of myself into the hands of my Creator who knows me completely and pursues relationship with me in the intimacy of every moment. I can say anything. It's okay.
Authenticity can be born out of such practice. The impostor, the Pharisee, is laid bare. The repentant, forgiven sinner surfaces. The saint by God's grace, by Jesus' sacrifice - not by my own efforts or performance, these are the characteristics I want to find, the genuine faith midst fear. For if I can live life in my own strength, then what purpose is faith? If I can save myself, what value is Christ's death?
Though I speak with tongues of men and angels and have not love, it profits me nothing
- I Cor. 13
So I journal. I scribble in a lovely leather book, I write perfect cursive on a throwaway napkin, I grab a notebook, the backside of a rejected article, a perfectly clean foolscap pad, the backside of a grocery receipt, whatever I can get my hands on... and I journal.
Journal and journey. Same root. Travel a day at a time, a word at a time, a prayer at a time.
It will change you. It has me.