Sunday, August 15, 2010

A Spiritual Journal

I have always been a journal writer. It started when I was four and my mom and I did a journal at the end of each day. The entries were short, usually one sentence that I dictated about my day and then I drew a picture (something I would like to start with Pk soon). I still have a couple of the journals that we did together when I was little and they are so much fun to go back and read.

There isn't a whole lot of time to journal these days (and in some ways, I feel a bit like my blog is an online journal) and when I do write, it tends to be more of a place to vent my frustrations that anything else. My journals certainly aren't something that I would want someone else to read and, to be honest, if I die, if you can, find them for me and burn them because they probably don't show me at my best. Yes, they do contain my deepest thoughts - my insecurities and my struggles and my travels to great self-discovery but they also contain my whining, my self-pity and my frustration. I wouldn't want that to be the way that I am seen.

One blog that I really enjoy reading is A Holy Experience, which is written by Ann Voskamp. Her blog is visually beautiful and poignantly reflective. It's a hard blog for me to read because it is one that needs to be savoured as opposed to scanned and I am so rarely in that kind of place these days but often, I star her posts with the intention of going back to them later. She inspires me so much in terms of being aware -as a Christian and as a human being inhabiting this beautiful world. Looking at her followers list tells you how highly other women feel about her and what she has to say.

One theme throughout her blog is journaling and she has written some wonderful posts about different kinds of journaling - a homemaking journal, a travel journal, visual journals and, most relevant to me, a spiritual journal. I am not reflective enough as a Christian. I tend to speed though everything and finding time and the emotion energy to be quiet and think is not something that I am good at. I often regret that I don't find more time in quiet pursuits because I think that I miss hearing God and feeling God's breath in my life because I am too busy running by. Ann has a wonderful series on journaling as spiritual discipline and at the end of one of the posts, she gives an excellent book list of resources to help beginning to keep a spiritual journal.

The book above, A Pen and A Path: Writing as Spiritual Practice by Sarah Stockton, is one of the books on Ann's list and I bought it for myself several months ago. It sat and sat on my desk and I didn't do anything with it and then last week, during a day that I was nursing Baby Bean non-stop, I decided to browse through it. Quickly, I became inspired and I have begun trying to work through it. Finding the time to write is really difficult right now and finding quiet writing time, when I don't have a preschooler asking constant questions, the t.v. or music on in the background and a baby in the swing beside me is all but impossible so I am trying to make the best of it. Even with the distractions, I am finding this to be a wonderful process. I read the chapter, reflect on it for about 24 hours or so and then begin the writing theme for that section. It's wonderful. I have learned so much about myself already in terms of how I perceive myself as a follower of God and the kinds of things that make me feel closer to God. It's wonderful. I hope to read several of the other books on her list and I hope that spiritual journaling is something that I can continue to do as a way of building my faith.

Enjoy a wonderful Sunday!

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