Packed away with my notes from college and seminary that I can’t bear to throw away are the journals I kept as a young girl. I was faithful in this practice. I wrote every night about all of the happenings of my life in beautiful bound books some of which had lock and key so that my brother wouldn’t snoop.
It’s a practice I’ve picked up here and there as an adult. Most recently I tried morning pages from Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way. I only did it for Lent when I was in the midst of a huge life decision so that once Easter came, I didn’t feel sustainable. Change had come and I needed a new practice.
And while I have lots of thoughts in my head right now, I haven’t wanted to put them down on paper. My faith has been the messy sort of thing where there are big questions I have been asking and hard truths I’m confessing that I don’t really want to go back and read about in some beautiful bound book.
My spiritual director recently encouraged me to revive my practice of journaling but the instructions were a little different from what I’ve tried before. She told me to pick up a notebook. Not a pretty one that I’ll be tempted to keep forever or worry about the words that I scribble inside for all prosperity. “Just get a simple, cheap notebook.” That’s what she told me before encouraging me to keep it by my bedside with a lovely pen and write. Write all of the thoughts and ideas to God because God can handle it.
I joked with her that I will be tempted to burn it after I’ve filled every page. “Perfect!” she exclaimed. Release it and be done with it and then pick up another notebook and start again.
I needed this encouragement and so I share it with you because faith is not perfect. Sometimes it’s messy and we don’t need to hold it tight. We need to release it and our whole selves to God.
If you have never tried journaling before, you might find these prompts for the spiritual practice of writing a helpful place to start.
Or if you are looking for something a little bit more structured, Rachel Hackenberg has this wonderful devotional that is supposedly for Lent but could be used for any 40 days that offers a simple prompt to find words for your deepest thoughts.
For those that struggle with words, there is always Praying with Color which can fill the pages of that notebook with simple drawings that name the truth of all that we are holding. I love words but this is a resource I return to again and again to find line and shape to my prayers.
Do you journal? Do you write letters to God? How does this simple practice to putting pen to page help you to see the holy threads of your life?