I am addicted to paper. Seriously. I’ll open a new package of printer paper and just sniff it for a few seconds. When I purchase a new book I inhale the smell before I even read the words on the page. Seeing a blank sheet of paper in a notebook gives me an inward thrill. Do not laugh, because I am not joking. 😛 All that to say, up until my 8th grade year, I would hoard journals and notebooks, write on one page and then move onto the next one. I wanted some NEW piece of paper to look at. Basically–I collected journals and I did not even journal.
Well, towards the end of my 8th grade year my friend and I made a “pact” (messily signed document and all) that we would “hereby and henceforth journal on a regular basis.” Where did this come from? Well, both of us had been expressing our admiration for her older sister who had a discipline of journaling all the time–and we decided that if she could do it, we could. At first my writings were a tad sporadic, but by the beginning of my Freshman year in high school I had a daily habit of journaling.
Journaling is the writing down of my life story as it unfolds. Each day I journal about my experiences, my emotions, my ideas, my dreams–what I do, feel and think. It is a way for me to process things. The page is the personal sounding board of my mind. I test ideas out by writing them down and seeing how they hold up in sentence and paragraph form. I sift through emotions to figure out if they are stupid or valid, dramatic or real. I scribble down my dreams as to remember that nothing is impossible. I use my journal to write down my prayers, focusing wholly on what I am saying to God and receiving from him in the form of inspiration, the Holy Spirit and from His word. It is during these times especially that I am grateful for my pen/paper–by taking note of the ways God teaches me, I able to better remember it.
There is, however, another blessing of journaling aside from the moment: journaling gives me the future opportunity of reading my own story. At times, I’ll climb up into the upper section of my closet to find the box where I keep all of the journals I’ve finished and then spend some time reading through one or two of them. It is so fun to read an entry from my freshman year of high school and then be able to actually remember the day of that entry! The frustrations of biology, the stress of debate research, the exhausting amazingness of basketball practice and the spiritual lessons that God was teaching me all come rushing back to me. Then, after reading through the whole of that journal, and the ones following, I can actually see the progression of maturity while (knowing what I know now) seeing how God was preparing my heart for certain circumstances with family and friends; how God was teaching me things about his character and his plan for me that would be vital for me to know, understand and be grounded in for the days ahead; how I began to grow into who I was as a person. In 3, 4, 5…20 years from now, I want to be able to read through the journal I just finished, and the new one I’m starting now, and see the same thing.
I shared with you how I began journaling, it took some time, but it is a habit that I will never regret developing. I highly encourage that you try it…it’s even better if you sign a contract saying that you will. 🙂