Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Here's Why I Have No Choice But To Journal Once Again

A recent late evening found me curled up on the sofa with not one, but three screens holding me hostage.

The TV loudly droned on and on as I obsessively played endless games of Boggle on my tablet, my ever-present phone holding court right next to me just in case something terribly exciting might show up on the screen.

It hit me how unbalanced and off-kilter it all was.




It's been more than five months since I cracked open my dusty journal.


It'd been a slow fade long before that, upended by my self-imposed, way-too-important blogging schedule ... and seemingly endless online surfing.

That long time passion for putting pen to paper in the comforting, convicting presence of God had faded off my personal radar.  The life-enriching zeal that I shared with you in the morning invitations * journal post two years ago had dissipated only to be replaced by, well, not much of anything that held eternal value.

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It dawned on me last night that maybe it's time to revisit this spiritual discipline, this compelling invitation to journal that used to be a non-negotiable part of my routine.  A far more apt word to describe this specific 'aha' moment would be convicted.  For past experience reminds me that there's something positively clarifying and freeing when pen and paper are linked in ongoing substantial, focused interactions with the Triune God.

Be still and know that I am God;
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth.
Psalm 46:10

I find my brain overcrowded these days with far too much randomness that siphons off clarity on what's most important.  It would be easy to blame this lack of focus on the aging process or life's busyness, but those are excuses, pure and simple.

What is most true is that my ever-present phone is not doing me any favors.  And I have become lazy in the presence of the One who loves me best.




Pen needs to be put to paper without hurry, without an eye on the clock, with no intent to publish ... and without grabbing the phone every other minute of my life like it's some sort of urgent lifeline.

I'm sensing ongoing nudges from the Spirit to unplug more frequently from all that grabs for my attention.  To simply sit quietly with God without an agenda.  To invite the Spirit to still my soul at a far deeper level.  To be totally present to His presence, to take greater notice of what's happening in and around me.  To delight in who He is and fully immerse myself in His great love for me.

The Lord will fight for you;
You need only to be still.
Exodus 14:14

That's where I'm coming from today ...




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stopping in at 

30 comments:

  1. "Pen needs to be put to paper without hurry, without an eye on the clock, with no intent to publish ... and without grabbing the phone every other minute of my life like it's some sort of urgent lifeline."
    Fellow sojourner, thank you for this great reminder that journaling in the Presence of the Lord is a valuable spiritual discipline. It's not a fad. It's a discipline which pays huge benefits in building intimacy with the Lover of our souls Who most often whispers to us... Thank you!

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    1. Lisa, thanks for kicking off this conversation. You're so right, journaling is no fad. And more than a spiritual discipline, it truly is an invitation from the Lover of our souls to come closer to His heart.

      Thanks for reminding us that He most often whispers. What a tender truth.

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  2. When my life was out of kilter in late 2016/early 2017 God used 2 bike wrecks to get my attention. One thing had to change: too much time on my phone texting, surfing. I play no games so that was not it. One of the disciplines I initiated was doing my QT again before all else. I incorporated New Morning Mercies (Tripp) into it. January 1 saw me commit to a new blog called Be Transformed in order to keep me accountable to myself and others. Only one reads and comments regularly but it has been a good exercise for me. I'm looking now for something to incorporate into my 2019 Quiet Time.

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    1. Along the way, your story has been powerful and your faith has been vibrant, Bill ... and God has protected your soul in the process and given you greater impact. A wounded healer.

      I, too, am always on the outlook for additional helps in my devotional life. I await your recommendations!

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  3. I feel the same in many ways. I used to journal all the time and yet I've done it less and less over the last couple of years. I was looking back over some old journals this week and thinking it is something I should get back into more.

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    1. I'd love to hear how that works for you, Lesley. I think many of us are yearning for a deeper writing than blogging offers us, a stronger connection with the Lover of our souls.

      Keep me posted. You've encouraged me by your comment today ...

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  4. Thank you for the nudge! GUILTY! My week mostly off the WWW showed me how dependent I had become. TOO MUCH emphasis on social media/email/etc and not enough on what is truly important!
    Blessings, My Friend!

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    1. Those breaks from being constantly online are like a breath of fresh air, aren't they. Sometimes they're hard to get into and other times I can't wait to completely unplug.

      Makes you wonder what our lives would look like if all we had was a phone hanging on the kitchen wall. I can't help but believe that our face to face relationships would be stronger and more focused and more meaningful.

      Ah ... but then I never would have met you along the way, friend ...

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  5. Thanks for this reminder of a great discipline. I had started the habit again in August but too quickly was distracted by less important things.

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    1. TJ, your comment had me Googling 'how many days to form a new habit' ... one link states 21 days, another says 66.

      ;-}

      Let's see what God does for us as we say 'yes' to His invitations in our lives!

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  6. Unplug, and put pen to paper . . . Sounds like a grand plan to me, Linda! I just might have to join you in this.
    Blessings!

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    1. The more, the merrier, the better the accountability, the greater the chance of reaching new goals!

      Yes, Martha ...

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  7. "To simply sit quietly with God without an agenda. To invite the Spirit to still my soul at a far deeper level. To be totally present to His presence, to take greater notice of what's happening in and around me. To delight in who He is and fully immerse myself in His great love for me." Yes, I need this, too, Linda. Thank you for being so honest. When I get lax with being present with God at a deeper level, my heart feels so empty and parched. Thank you for this reminder. Love and hugs to you!

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    1. You've said it well, Trudy. Empty and parched.

      Maybe the secret is for us to be more discerning about what fills our spiritual and emotional wells and claim the best ways to get those wells to overflowing.

      And wisely limit what, in excess, leaves us kinda crispy around the edges.

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  8. I so love this Linda. Recently I was trying to figure out how I got 30,000 words of a novel done a years ago when I had more demand of my time from family and work. What changed? I was also journaling daily and blogging at a different place back then, lots. I realized it was social media that changed--started taking up a lot of time. But I also realized that journaling was what created the momentum and decluttering to do all that was important! It's refreshing and encouraging to read your nudges to journal again. Thank you!

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    1. Interesting that journaling created the momentum you needed, Lynn. I guess that's one of the benefits of regularly unloading our excess baggage so we can run the race encumbered and free of heavy distractions.

      God is yearning to carry our burdens, to have us dependent on His strength so we can do great things for Him.

      I'm seeing a pattern here ...

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  9. Linda, thank you SO MUCH for this post which NUDGES me towards journaling again! I started journaling regularly (probably 5 days a week) in 1999, and in the past couple of years, that has really dwindled to just a couple of times a month! And I have a LOT to write about! I wonder what my problem is! The internet has been a draw since way before I started journaling and I'm not on Facebook (thankfully my family isn't on it much either, so need to be on to keep up with them). I am on the computer, iPad and phone too much, though. Much of it doing productive research about what Kindle books are on sale, Modern Mrs Darcy, the library's website, etc, but I NEED to be journaling again!! Hopefully my comment goes through. I chose "anonymous", though I'm really not - it just hasn't worked on other sites when I use the Google thing.

    Susan, aka Soozie4Him

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    1. Susan, hi! How good to see you again!

      You're so right when you talk about all the productive activities we can do online. But for many of us, our boundaries get sloppy slowly but surely ... and then one day wake up only to discover that our world now revolves around the world wide web instead of the real life and real people right in front of our noses.

      And that's when we lose our way.

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  10. Yep, that's for sure! Thanks for your blog, Linda - I get so much encouragement from it. And I'm going to go write in my journal TODAY!!! :-)

    Susan

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    1. Trust me, it's like visiting with a dear friend once again ...

      ;-}

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  11. Linda -
    Thank you for sharing these powerful and honest thoughts. Obviously, a lot of us resonate with you! I have let this go too! The thing is, as you have said before, when we journal, it's really like part of our own prayer - just between ourselves and God - and when we write it down, it's there to remind us of our journey and where we have come from and how God has led. I love the verse you have at the end:
    The Lord will fight for you;
    You need only to be still.
    Exodus 14:14
    What an amazing reminder. Thanks for sharing!!

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    1. I'm so glad you're here, Heather!

      And yes, Exodus 14:14 the most reassuring verse ... especially for those of us who are prone to orchestrate / fix / control / do battle.

      Being still opens us up to all He is and yearns to do in our lives ...

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  12. That question of what to follow for a devotional time is a real need and constant search for me. Most devotionals are not what I call getting into the Word. I just read through the NT chronologically in the Message Bible but unfortunately, the plan I followed was too many chapters to read in one sitting. I broke it up so it worked for me. I would love to hear what others do to GET INTO God’s Word not just peek at some author’s comments or follow after someone else’s agenda.

    I have a different view of internet and screen time. When you live alone, it can be either that or TV so I vote www. I don’t miss my devices at all when I have real time with friends and family. I also never feel like they consume me or my time but I bet there is excess ——especially when I am purchasing something. I am a research junkie.

    See ya soon, pal o buddy

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    1. I appreciate your perspective {as ever} as a single woman, Carol. Living alone presents certain challenges that all of us need to be aware of and sensitive to.

      The good thing is that no matter what our marital status, our hearts are all yearning and craving for a depth of relationship that can only come from intimacy with Christ. Our devotional times are pivotal ... and sadly, the invitation we receive from Him to draw closer is often met with a ho-hum or jaded attitude. We too often put little creativity or energy into nurturing this, the most important relationship we'll ever know.

      How it must grieve His heart.

      Thanks for going there tonight. I think a number of us are feeling convicted and motivated to go a bit deeper. I can only hope He is pleased ...

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  13. I can relate to this. I just started daily journaling again and it is providing so much peace as I begin my day. I can easily get sucked into my own screens and then before I know it I have no idea where the time went.

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    1. Mary, hi! I'm guessing this has been a hugely busy screen season for you with the kick off of your weekly link-up! And it looks like you've got a wonderful following!

      I am so happy for you.

      And so inspired that journaling is lending you peace even as you celebrate this new opportunity.

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  14. Ah, Linda ... that last verse. It's hanging on my bedroom wall and has a very special place in my heart. I hope you are finding stillness and peace as you return to journaling, my friend.

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    1. Yes, Lois, getting back to journaling has been like reconnecting with an old friend on a deeper level. I'm guessing He is pleased with our conversations. I know I feel like I've come home ...

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  15. You are right Linda,we do not have excuses at all why we are not prioritizing things of God,need to put pen to paper.

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    1. Amen, Sister. I'm too easily drawn to a variety of excuses. Thank God, He loves us so ...

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Dear Reader ~

Technical glitches happen.

* sigh *

Doesn't seem to be a place to leave your comment? Or your comment doesn't show up within an hour or so?

I'd love if you'd email me your contribution ... I'd be delighted to hand post it as soon as possible.

lindastoll @ juno . com

My apologies. And thanks for the grace ...

Linda