desired. As I have gone back and looked at previous journal entries they frequently
are raw with emotions, angry at perceived injustices to me and others, silly, rambling, short, uncouth, even vulgar! My entries seem to stylistically vacillate between the Psalmist and Anne Lamott.
Journaling speaks to me because I have come to appreciate the power of story and story-telling. Story has the power to transform your life! From the very beginning, societies have evolved and been shaped through the power of story. Story as communicated through words and music and dance cultures with identity. I cannot help but consider how our faith has been transformed through the power of story. For the Christian, our sacred literature is understood to be the Bible. My understanding of the Bible is that it is a collection of human stories endorsed by God. These stories tell of the early faith community’s understanding of God and God’s relationship to all of creation. This is my understanding of inspiration.
Journaling is a ‘spiritual’ activity as spirituality is concerned with discovering meaning and meaning-making in one’s life. As we pour out the emotive and cognitive dimensions of life on paper, we get more in touch with our “true self” (as opposed to the false self.
According to psychotherapist John McGee, there is incredible power in sharing stories. Here are four reasons you should be writing them down and sharing them often:
Stories remind us of God’s goodness and power to transform. Intellectually and theologically we are confident that faith can be transformational. As we journal and write stories of God’s presence and transforming influence in our life, we cultivate a deeper and more intimate relationship with God.
Stories give hope. Many times people feel like no one understand them or has been through what they have. They believe their pain is different than everyone else’s. They believe they have failed in ways unique to only them. Journaling helps us to bring balance and new perspectives to our circumstances. Journaling even allows us to vent, writing our true feelings in ways that we would never make public. Through this process we can find renewed hope for moving forward.
Stories are great teachers. Through journaling, stories allow us to look back and see – really, re-experience – how our faith journey transported and navigated us through the difficult, less desirable experience in life.
Stories cast vision. Through journaling, stories illustrate what change could look like in the future, both immediate and long-term. Furthermore, writing down our stories sometimes helps us to see and name the changes necessary for our growth.
So there you have it. The power of story. Journaling. I highly recommend it to you. Give it a “trial run.” If it works for you and you see the benefits, make it a regular part of your spiritual disciplines. If it doesn’t work for you, don’t do it. Find another discipline that cultivates and nurtures your faith.