Life Lesson: Journaling

Red Bar
Sugar Blues
Keep It!
Best Lesson
Woman writing
I t's my custom to spend the first hour or so of each morning by myself. I love those quiet hours when my head is clear and my heart is open.

When I open my Bible, I listen until something catches me and causes me to stop and wonder. I jot that sentence down in my journal and write my reactions. Here is one that astounded me and took my breath away:

"The Lord waits to be gracious to you." (Isaiah 30:18)

What exactly does the word "gracious" mean?
I checked my dictionary (ever present with me when I listen to the Bible), and then made a list of all the definitions in my journal:
implies kindliness and courtesy, especially to inferiors and strangers: cordial, affable, genial, sociable
warmth and heartiness
approachability and readiness to talk
the qualities that make for good cheer, such as warm sympathy, a fine sense of humor
a genuine liking for the companionship and a readiness to engage in social intercourse.
God waits to be this way with me?!?

I felt just like Job, and I put my hand over my mouth and stepped backward in awe.

"Agree with God, and be at peace"

P lease don't get the impression that after a few journaling sessions like the one listed above, I was instantly "struck by lightning and changed." Oh, I wish it were that easy. No, it's a long, slow process, consisting of being willing to take time to listen to the truths of the Bible, ponder them, be honest with myself as to where I am now in this process. Then the next important step is to implement them into my life - that same day.

Writing in my journal helps me to get my thoughts outside of my self and see them objectively. Sometimes it is shocking to see them in print. Sometimes I write down my reactions about them and then God and I talk about them.

"The power of God is mighty to the pulling down of strongholds."
II Cor. 10:4
The "strongholds" in my life have been my survival skills, the tools I developed as a child to survive in a hostile world. Now that I'm an adult, these survival skills are not an asset, but a liability. One of the greatest problems is that these conditioned reflexes have become such a part of me, and usually, I am not aware of them.
As I listen to the Bible and open myself to God, the power of God shines into my being and reveals the hidden strongholds that are now destroying me instead of helping me. Only God's power can reveal them and only God's power can pull them down. God will not do it without my cooperation, so each morning we work together, one little step at a time, day after day, year after year. It takes a long time to change habits!

"Agree with God, and be at peace"

Lessons learned the hard way:

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ESL Ministry
Walnut Creek Presbyterian Church
1801 Lacassie Avenue Ball Walnut Creek Ball California 94596 Ball  925-935-1574
Joanne Rae Meads Ball
September 16, 1999

© Copyright 1999 by Joanne Meads, All Rights Reserved