God gave me a special gift this past December: three weeks of illness! A gift? Yes, because most of the time I still could read and think, and could go through another pile of gifts: past journals—in the most extensive diary search and seizure I’d ever done.
In three entries of last December’s journal, I wrote about it (as shared below). I highly recommend it to all other journal-ers…
… heard Dr. David Jeremiah encouraging journaling as a spiritual discipline—especially journaling the working of God in your days. His role model for this was his never-married eccentric uncle, who visited sometimes for a stretch of days. At the dinner table he’d ask if anyone knew what had happened on “this date” for the previous seven years.
Jeremiah spoke much on journaling’s value [for] 1) remembering what God has done, 2) connecting with Him more intimately, 3) getting real with God—it’s hard to be phony for long in a private personal journal…
I think to do what the eccentric uncle talked about: …see what was going on in and around me, on and around today’s date for the past seven years.
I look first at 2009 because I’ve been reading that, and what I see there in myself is abhorrent to me right now, especially after focusing this morning on the actual commands of Romans 12-15—and the lack of [my following] them [evidenced] in certain passages… I am shamefaced with embarrassment, repent “in dust and ashes,” and only leave the odious… pages in the journal to stay honest and see in present and future review the repulsive mindset they exhibit. It’s a vain and self-focused mindset and a kind of disgusting pride. Ugh! God forgive me and cleanse me!
Doing more foraging in old journals around this day of this month [previous years] I am chagrined to see myself wringing my hands over the same uncertainties… It’s pathetic! And it has to end. I am determined not to continue in this same doing of something while I have no certainty that it’s God’s will for me.
I felt so disgusted with myself and this pathetic rerun-after-rerun, I decided I’d better try to find something in which I’d grown over those years. Searching now, remembering a few things, too…
People really do go around in circles when lost, in woods or deserts, at least under cloudy skies, although no one’s been able to figure out why.
I’ve deeply grieved that my last 7 years’ journals show me doing the same thing in life—going in the same circles yearly—for 7 years (or more)! I had no idea I’d repeated my folly so long!
When lost in the woods, or deserts, or mountains and valleys of life, the wisest thing to do is stop right where you are and be still. Send up signals for rescue and wait to be found. Do what you can right where you are, as wisely as possible. Don’t try to head out, even if you think you know which way to go…
[Also] I’ve repeated so many mistakes and feel so discouraged to discover this… that I really need to note anything I’ve done that was not a mistake, especially if it was a new tactic/practice. At first I felt I wouldn’t find any, but I did…
[And for the next full page I list them:]
“It was not a mistake to…”
[Later I find more…]
Just a few values of journaling. And of reading and considering the journaling you’ve done in the past!