A Journaling Tool for Forward Movement
Ever feel stuck?
Picture being in the office at your desk. Your boss makes you nervous in the best of circumstances. You’ve been hurt by male authority in the past and he represents that well. He’s overbearing, demanding, demeaning. Now he’s standing over you waiting for you to finish typing out something he asked for. You feel tense and it’s hard to think clear and not fumble and mess it up. Later you just can’t stop thinking about what a jerk he is. Journaling in your devotions can bring victory.
Has someone treated you poorly and you just can’t stop thinking about it? Maybe it’s a personal challenge, a battle you’ve struggled with for years. Maybe it’s a family member that won’t respect your boundaries no matter what you do. These types of things can really affect us emotionally, locking us into a state of agitation and anger or worry and anxiety. When our minds cannot make sense of something and don’t see any way forward, we feel stuck and play the tape over and over again.
Journaling for Emotional Health
Sometimes you need to receive prayer ministry. Yet, often you can work it out with the Lord. Here are some steps:
1) Treat your emotions as an objective reporter. Distance yourself a bit. When you get stuck, you enter a state of mind that impairs your ability to think clearly. Step back and look at yourself.
2) Write out step by step what’s occurred that bothers you. Remember, you are just journaling, putting it all down between you and God, so there’s no need to hold back.
3) Write out your feelings as best you can at each step of what happened. By making note of your feelings and emotions, you engage the right side of the brain which then works together with the left side’s logical documentation of events. With the blending of the two together it helps to make sense of what happened.
4) Write out why the other person may have acted as they did. What may have been their motives? What may have been their insecurities? Again, trying to journal this out as an objective observer, not judging it right or wrong, appropriate or not, in context or not. Simply brainstorming different scenarios. Try putting yourself in their shoes.
5) Tell the Lord what makes you angry about it, why it seems unfair. Tell Him what makes you fearful about it, what makes you feel threatened, how it makes your body feel. By notating your body sensations, this too, helps make connections in the brain that will open the way for better understanding.
6) Ask the Lord His perspective at the different steps of what happened. Write out what you think He may be telling you.
In reflecting and journaling about an issue, we can gain much understanding about ourselves and others. We may begin to see some core issues of why we are anxious or fearful, or stubborn or irritated. And by engaging both right and left sides of the brain, science is proving that we are able to make sense of the events in our life, get unstuck, and continue to move forward. And isn’t that what we all want—to walk with the Lord, not stand still? This is a great tool and life skill to help us tend well the garden of our heart.