When I was about 9 or 10, I got my first journal for Christmas. It had faint lines to guide my writing so that I could get going on the road to self-expression. My teacher, seeing some spark of restless creativity, had written a referral for a creative writing class earlier in the year. My grammar may still be a bit dodgy, but my creativity and knack for looking at things from a 48° angle has never wavered.

There are times, a lot of times I wish I could still lay my hands on that old journal, or any of my old writings, just to see where my perspective was at. I had much to say, but as I recall, could only remember to drag it out once or twice a year to make a half-hearted attempt at documenting my life, and my observations. I didn’t want someone to find it and humiliate me. This actually did happen later with one of my other journals I’d tried keeping as a young adult and the hurt was so deep, it was many years before I would really buckle down and start writing again.

As I have travelled through the recovery process, I have come to the realization that journaling is invaluable. It really doesn’t matter if you do it long-hand on notebook paper, in a fancy book or on a keyboard. Get what is inside outside, look it over then take it a step further and share it with someone you trust. The act of writing things down becomes a vital part of the recovery process. Someone needs to hear our story, but to be ready to document it, we have to spend some time with it ourselves, sorting it all out.

God truly knows the ins and outs of our hearts, but you and I have a hard time deciphering the maelstrom that is whirling about in there sometimes. Journaling helps to organize it, and I know I am surprised at what I actually do know once I get it written out, about how to take the next steps that will take me where I need to go.

The theme here (no pun intended) is being willing to submit. To allow the change to take place by writing down my thoughts, my gratitude items, my story of ruin to redemption. You have it in you (really!). Start small, if you must. Commit to writing 5 things every day that you are thankful for. After a week of this, start writing 1 thing each day that God impresses upon you about your recovery during your prayer and meditation time. Even if it’s just 1 or 2 sentences. Make it fun, if you like to draw, include a cartoon or visual representation with it. My artistic skills are limited to what you see here…bah-dum-pah. Anyway, just keep at it until you find the key that works for you. Mornings, evenings, lunch. Just write.

As you develop your journaling skills, you can look back on your journals and SEE YOUR PROGRESS. This is incredibly encouraging when you are having a tough day, week, month. We need to see that, even though we are not where we want to be, we aren’t where we started either. Yea us!

We all have a tale to tell. And someone who could be changed by it. Much love and hugs!