Do you ever feel like you’re in a funk? Like…you had goals and vision for your life, but somewhere in between 10 hour workdays, fighting off the flu (again), and unexpected personal drama, you lost sight of where you were at?
Do you ever think, is this really where I’m supposed to be?
How did I get here?
Life can feel discouraging and exhausting even when we’re on the right path—that is, a path that is intentional and purposeful, leading straight into our dreams and ambitions.
Perspective is everything. But perspective can be difficult to attain when our eyes are fixed firmly on the ground beneath us, trying not to stumble. When all you see is dirt, you might forget the expanding blue horizon above you, the epic mountain peak just ahead, or the miles of trodden path behind.
You may forget just what it is you’re aiming for…how you’ve grown…or the bigger, more beautiful experience of simply being alive and created.
That’s why I journal.
I’ve been journaling regularly since I became a Christian, 9 years ago. It’s an act of prayer and reflection for me, and it’s also a way to remind myself of where I’m at—without the haze of the day’s discouragements or my immediate (usually unfounded) anxieties. Journaling is a way to stay aware of my Creator and connected to purpose.
Here are 3 reasons why journaling will help you stay motivated and empowered in any season of life:
1. Journaling helps you stay envisioned and purposeful.
You may have days where you feel especially refreshed, alive, and motivated to pursue your dreams. You’re well equipped and freshly inspired to take on the mountains ahead. Most of the time, these are the days when we have decisive moments: Yes, I will sign up for CrossFit. Yes, I’m finally going to start my own business. Yes, I’m going to make the phone call and reconnect with that old friend.
You may scribble down these aspirations, sure that nothing will hold you back.
And then, there are the days when you’re stuck; overwhelmed; just doggy-paddling to stay above the surface. The days when everything seems hazy and you’ve forgotten why you took the risk…or forgotten the risk you meant to take.
These are the days when you’ll return to your journal and have a moment of AHA clarity. You’ll see those scribbles [Yes, I will…] and you’ll remember your big-picture dreams and vision. “You” two days ago – or two years, or two decades – may just become your biggest cheerleader for persevering in your goals when things get tough.
2. Journaling helps you sort through fear and anxiety.
Oftentimes I have journaled about something I fear, or worry will happen, only to find myself unable to finish the sentence. In the process of actually penning my thoughts, I can see how groundless – or even ludicrous –my fears really are. And that is often the nature of fear: false and fabricated, set in our minds to cause us discouragement on the path to something greater.
The bible says that God “laughs” at our enemies.*
Likewise, journaling may just help you to laugh at your own fears…yes, I mean the very same scenarios that have kept you up at night, caused conflict in your relationships, and threatened to destroy your dreams. Writing them down may will help you to stay on the path—and remain free of unnecessary burdens.
3. Journaling helps you connect with God.
No one and nothing will encourage you more than the One who made you—with all your gifts, passions and brilliant ambitions.
Journaling creates space for God by helping us to process our own thoughts…so that when we’re finished (usually doesn’t take very long), we can wait for the still small voice described in the Bible—the voice of our Creator, nudging us in a certain direction, highlighting an issue to be resolved or simply speaking His love and peace.
When I began to journal at the age of 20, I didn’t initially acknowledge I was addressing God in journaling. I simply began to write about the intense, movie-like dreams I was having, sorting out their meaning and significance. And in doing so, I found that I was connecting with God—and that He was speaking.
Journaling comes more naturally to some than others, and it requires thoughtfulness about what comes most naturally to you. My journaling style is pretty straightforward: I usually write ½ page to 2 pages every day, pen and ink, lined paper, dated with the location in a plain notebook. I sit in a quiet space a couple times a day to journal for 10 or 15 minutes.
But journaling may look different everybody—you may want to experiment with what works best: different tools (pencil? Lined paper or blank?), formats (you may journal on a computer) or even what you include in your journal (notes or cards from friends; photos that inspire you; the inside of a fortune cookie).
In any case, it’s a practice that will almost surely encourage you; help you remain brave and calm when you need to the most; and continue to flourish and thrive in your purpose.