Journaling. You either love it or….you don’t. It’s true. When asking others if they journal, they often tell me of the notebooks stacked in their closet. Or, they roll their eyes and insist journaling is not for them! While I’m inconsistent in how often I journal, journaling is vital to my prayer life. And I believe it was the first spiritual discipline I embraced as my own. I’m not sure if it was church camp or Sunday School, but somewhere along the way I learned about writing "Dear God" letters in lieu of “Dear Diary” letters. In my struggling teen years on through adulthood, I’ve poured my heart out to God on paper. I remember clearly the three ring binder where I kept those first love letters to God. And, I’m pretty certain I wrote in green ink on those pages (I do still use colored ink, it seems to liven things up a bit). Journaling has taught me more about myself over the years than any other spiritual discipline. There is wisdom in reading the words that come from your heart to God and I believe they give clarity.
Here’s the secret, writing letters to God does not have to be eloquent or complicated. Pick up your pen (or pencil or head to your keyboard) and share your heart. Your "Dear God" letters may simply be bullet points on a list, they may be sketches on a page, they may not even use a pen/pencil and instead stored in a “cloud” electronically.
This week, as you spend time with God, consider writing one or more “Dear God” letters. Consider sharing with God things like: how scripture is speaking to you in this season, where you see the holy in the world around you, the truth of your relationships, your daily triumphs or struggles, and the dreams of your heart.
God knows. But, do you? Be BRAVE. Pour out your heart to God.
If you regularly journal, consider exploring your previous prayers (or journal consistently for a week then review to notice any patterns or prominent longings of your heart). How have your prayers changed? What prayers have been answered? What prayers continue to tug at your heart?
Watch for research this week (I'll be posting links on social media) about WHY journaling is good for the soul (and the brain). In the meantime, just write.
If you've stumbled here for the first time, welcome! On Mondays through this Fall, I'm posting a list of scriptures for reflection as well as a different way to pray each week. Pray one scripture or pray them all, this is simply an invitation to journey deeper as we explore God's peace together. Click here to find out more and join us on the journey.
Whitney R. Simpson
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Whitney R. Simpson,
Exploring Peace Ministries, LLC