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I am a pencil in the hand of a writing God who is sending a love letter to the world. -Mother Teresa

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Journaling for J.O.Y.

After reading some other articles on journaling, I was reminded of the persuasive speech I did in college. I found what I emailed to my professor & decided to share it here:

26 November 2007
She sits alone in her room with no noise but is still
distracted when she tries to pray. After starting over several times,
she finally ends the prayer quickly feeling more distant from God than
before her attempt to pray.

He grieves the loss of a loved one and wishes he could know
how they felt about certain situations. He wishes he could remember
their words of wisdom or have their perspective of times they had

Then there is you: lying in bed after a long day, yet unable to fall asleep. 
You're thinking of things you should have said,
should not have said, or hope to say the next day. You make sure there'
nothing you forgot to do in the rush of the day & that you
know what you're doing tomorrow. You wake up to find that you wasted all that
time wondering and worrying because you forgot what you needed to
remember anyway.

All of these situations could be avoided by journaling. I'm familiar with the many 
benefits because I have
completed at least 9 journals myself in the past 5 or 6 years. But
right now I am going to focus on JOY: how journaling helps your
relationship with Jesus, Others, and even Yourself.

First of all, I've experienced all of those situations at some point.
I don't think there's anyone who can say there isn't some point that 
they've been distracted in their prayer life. Also, is there anyone who 
doesn't miss a loved one who's passed awayAnd, according to the 
American College Health Association,
it takes us about 25 minutes to fall asleep.
That is why writing in a journal is so important for everyone. 

You're probably thinking that you already have a busy
schedule to say the least. Being a fellow college student, I know what
you mean. However, the benefits are so great, that I try to make time
for it every day.
One benefit is that it helps me stay focused when I pray. It keeps me from
just say things out of habit over and over. I really think
about what I am saying. Then when I read them years later, I see how
God answered some of those prayers.

I have been fortunate enough not to have anyone in my
immediate family die. However, if they do go before me, I would
cherish any journals they had written. There are people from my church
that have died, and since I have kept a journal, there are things I
had written about them that now I can read and remember some of what
we have been through together. I have even written journals to people.
I gave one to my mom when I left for college. I did one for a friend's
birthday. And I almost finished one for my brother. All but one or two of
you told me that you think you might have children some day. The
legacy that a journal would leave for them or your grandchildren would
be priceless. You could still have a voice in their lives even when you're gone. 
Family members who were born after you died could have a chance to get to
know you and learn from your experience.

In the movie Freedom Writers (which is based on a true
story), the English teacher gets her students to write in a journal 
about their lives and involvement in gangs. They could write poetry or
draw pictures. That's another great thing about journaling--it's
very personal; you can fill it however you want so that it is not boring
or stressful to you.

In fact, writing in a journal has helped me deal with anger
and depression in a healthy way since my parents' divorce last year.
In the book Journaling: A Spiritual Journey, it says, "There's
something about actually putting words on paper that clears my mind.
As I think through what I want to say, I realize what I'm feeling. And
somehow I feel better" (Anne Broyles 10).

Now let's go back to the people I talked about in the beginning.
She sits on her bed with notebook and pen, writing about her
day, the things she needs help with, and what she is thankful for. She
hardly even notices the mess she needs to clean or the homework she
needs to do. All of that can wait while she spends time with Jesus.

As he goes through his loved one's things, he comes across a journal
He takes a moment to read it and begins to laugh as he
remembers the crazy things they had done and the jokes they had
shared. He was glad that during their life, this person had thought of

Now imagine you--lying in bed, writing all your thoughts and
activities in a journal. Then you quickly fall asleep relatively
worry-free, knowing that the best thing you can do about your
situations at the moment is get some sleep. The next morning you wake
up and review your journal to remember all you need to do. A few years
later, you read it again seeing how far you have come. You are
thankful that you wrote in a journal for Yourself.

I hope that each of you will decide to journal for J.O.Y.)
Making this happen is cheap and easy since all you need is a
pen and some paper. You could even start one on the computer. The EC
email actually has a folder for journaling.

Because you never know when your time will come, don't
hesitate to begin a journal today. (Or continue one you've already begun.)

Here are some questions I had to answer for the speech:

Q 1. Which do you recommend most--journaling on computer or on paper?

A 1. I recommend journaling on paper because it can be taken anywhere.
I especially love to write outside. If you have a laptop, that's
great, but a notebook is still lighter, cheaper, and less breakable.
Plus, I prefer looking at paper because it is more relaxing than
staring at a screen. I also like having things in my own handwriting.
Sometimes I write so fast that it's hardly legible, but that could be
a good thing if I did not want anyone to read it.

Q 2. Do you ever get scared that someone will read it?

A 2. When I first started, I was a little paranoid about that, but I
have found that people really respect my privacy. I usually have the 
journal I am currently writing in with me so I don't have to worry too
much about anyone reading it. Although I would not like for someone to
snoop around reading my old journals, it does not scare me so much
because if they ask me about something I wrote, I can just say, "Oh,
well, that was a long time ago. Things have changed." You can, of
course, buy some journals with locks on them. They even have the
invisible pens now where the writing only shows up when you shine a
certain light on it, but I like being able to see everything I have

If you have any other questions, I'd be glad to try to answer them.


  1. Wow! This is great! It made me cry. Weird, I know. Very inspirational!

  2. Very well done. You have a talent. You really do. Loved this!