Healing Through Journaling: A Journey to Wholeness
You don’t have to be a writer to journal.
I have pages that are full of carefully inscribed and flowery words with whimsical letters that are so delicate I can hardly read them. And I have pages that are nothing more than flagrant angry words of frustration dressed in glaring black ink that dominate the page. I have bulleted lists. I have dates, names, and ideas. There are prayers, words from God, and spontaneous racing thoughts that I knew were direct downloads from heaven — the very inspirations of His Spirit in an urgent time. Some are stained with coffee. Many are stained with tears. Some are smudged with ink; others with cheesy Doritos.
It’s all in my journal.
I have journaled all my life, although the flow often changes. There are times I am much more ‘journal-focused’, and there are times when it’s just not on the radar. Life gets busy, clogged, and hectic. And although I often feel the need or desire to journal, by the time I get an opportunity, I’m so backlogged it’s nearly impossible. That’s when I often make key entries that offer the ‘demographics’ of my day in simple bulleted lists or short phrases. For tips on journaling please read, Staying on Track: The Practice of Journaling It’s Rewards. It will aid and assist you beautifully.
My journal is not always neat, organized, and tidy. It’s often sporadic and sprawling. There are days I write pages; and others I write… none. Trust me, those blank spaces speak just as loudly as the ones that are filled. What I have found is that I journal more when life is either painful and I need the Lord’s ministry, or when life is really good and there’s a lot to record. This post is going to focus on journaling when life is painful, and how it can serve you in a manner that allows for genuine healing and wholeness. Your journal will be a chronicle of your journey throughout that healing process. If you use it wisely and well, it will prove to be an invaluable tool in God’s hands.
Life is full of ups and downs; blessings and bruises; triumphs and trials. When we have no where else to go to get it all out; when there is no safe place to scream or cry; when you need a place to unload in clandestine privacy — your journal will be a key God can use to unlock the hidden places within your soul that He needs to reach if you’re going to be healed and whole. We will often be more transparent with a blank page than we are with ourselves — or with God.
This is precisely why journaling is such a powerful tool and such a gifted practice beloved by so many.
The Gift of Nakedness
And the LORD God called unto Adam, and said unto him, Where art thou? And he said, I heard thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself,” (Genesis 3:9-10, KJV, emphasis mine).
Nakedness naturally brings about fear and subsequent hiding.
Where can we go to be naked, fully exposed, and transparent — and yet still be entirely loved and secure? Only within the LORD’s presence. Yet He is not the one placing limits. We are. He calls to us when we hide. He sought us while we were yet sinners. He created us to live with Him in a state of ‘nakedness’ that is often foreign to us. More than we realize, fear paralyzes us from unveiling ourselves before Him in truth.
We often shy away from the Lord in fear of being discovered, exposed, or known. Some of that fear is also our own inability to face what we are feeling, thinking, or experiencing. If you are intimidated by your own ineptitude, your journal offers a precious way for you to unlock those doors without any fear or apprehension.
The truth is you are never safe when you are in hiding. Allowing God to unveil you is actually the safest place you can be. In Him you are fully known and fully loved. You are totally secure. He called to Adam in his sin. He sought him out. He continues to seek us out. That pattern has been evidenced throughout the ages. He has not changed. He desires us to return to our created state of ‘nakedness’. He made that possible through Christ. We no longer have to hide in fear.
Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in his sight: but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of Him with whom we have to do.
Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession. For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.
Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need,” (Hebrews 4:13-16, KJV, emphasis mine).
Therefore, the pages of your journal are sacred. Those pages should be yours and yours alone. This is where you and God can privately meet; where you can set a lasting record that affords you immense depth and clarity. Careful introspection is a spiritual practice. However, putting your inner thoughts and feelings into meaningful words (or pictures) is a very individual style. There is no right or wrong way to journal. I often find that if I’m doodling, there is something going on within me that is trying to come out. Articulation is not always easy and words are not always enough. The lines and marks I make can be very telling. Case and point: God speaks our language. But a lot is lost when we fail to write down what God is doing within us, around us, and through us. As a child I drew pictures. As an adult, I write. Those of us who are not gifted with words needn’t worry. A journal can still serve you very well, providing an open door for God to meet with you in ways you may not have expected. Whatever your method or means, your journal is a safe place.
When you journal, you’ll be amazed at what God will do deep inside of you, simply because you’ve been willing to unveil yourself, giving Him access.
Behold, thou desirest truth in the inward parts: and in the hidden part thou shalt make me to know wisdom. Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean: wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow. Make me to hear joy and gladness…,” (Psalm 51:6-8a, KJV, emphasis mine).
When we understand God’s original design for mankind, we suddenly realize the gift of nakedness. Only with those whom we are most intimate, do we unveil ourselves. Only with those we trust, do we become transparent. Your journal is a key that can unlock the deepest parts of you in a way that is safe, secure, and private — so long as you have the strength to face what’s really inside you.
It is one thing to allow God to see you. It is quite another to face yourself…
The Mirror of Truth
Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord,” (2 Corinthians 3:17-18, KJV).
2 Corinthians chapter 3 speaks of the veil being removed in Christ from the hearts of those who would believe. That veil is a spiritual one. The removing of that veil allows us to see and experience His truth face to face (see 2 Corinthians 3:1 — 4:7 in context).
For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ,” (2 Corinthians 4:6, KJV).
Try as we might, God is the only One who can truly unveil us. We will never see ourselves in the light of His truth until we allow Him to remove that veil Himself.
The revelation of ourselves can be surprising, to say the least. I never know what’s going to come out of me. It remains in darkness until I’m unveiled before Him. I have anticipations — and yet I’m always surprised by what I find. Furthermore, I am even more surprised by God’s loving response to my ‘naked’ introspections that He lovingly withdraws. When faced with myself within the context of His holy Word, in the face of Christ, and in the presence of God, I am enabled to align by the power of His Spirit. But as long as I remain hidden, I am bound by darkness. What may appear to be straight is often left crooked unless I allow Him to reveal it, measuring me by the plumbline of His Truth.
Sometimes the most painful part of journaling is squarely facing what is actually inside of us. Your journal is where the ‘hidden’ or ‘secret’ parts of you (as David calls them) can come to the surface in a manner that can be effectively articulated, read, explored, and understood. With that help from God to see the truth in our innermost being, comes an opportunity for genuine healing — precisely because we are being genuine. God cannot meet us in a cloak of falsehood or pretense. Whatever our immediate needs, He is able to reveal what was once hidden in darkness with His marvelous light if we are willing to allow Him to unveil us.
The tools with which we often measure ourselves prove faulty when they are measured themselves.
Your journal should always be accompanied by the Word of God and the presence of God.
There is nothing that sets us free like the truth — even when it’s our own. Knowing what is within the deepest parts of me, and being given the strength to face it with God’s love, wisdom, and truth is a great gift. However, many times the only way I come to achieve that is through the practice of journaling. That is often where it begins. It unlocks the door to the deepest parts of me.
If you are struggling to pray, your journal will afford you an alternate method that may prove very valuable to you. It merely requires a little effort. You’ll be amazed.
The Glory of Revelation & Genuine Change
If there is no hope for change in us, or in our lives, we are left to despair and despondency. One of the wonders of walking with Christ is knowing that you’re never stuck. He is always willing to change you. When He brings the change so desperately needed and desired, He has a reputation for exceeding expectations. Therefore, let your expectations be extraordinarily high.
For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us,” (Romans 8:18, KJV).
We indeed go from glory to glory — when He is revealed. The revelation of God coupled with a willing and humble revelation of yourself with Him brings intimacy that allows genuine change to take place. God will always reciprocate by unveiling Himself before those who are willing to be naked and transparent before Him.
Genuine change is only possible when we are genuine with God.
Being genuine with God is made possible by creating a safe, secure, and private place where you can unveil yourself and return to your original created state of being ‘naked’ before Him — secure, loved, and unashamed. When that is realized, you will find yourself in a place with God where He can meet you where you truly are, instead of where you pretend to be. He will meet with the real you, instead of the person you’ve created who is cloaked beneath a veneer.
I encourage you today, if you need healing, there is wholeness to be had. Christ promises to meet us where we are. However, getting to that place where we really are is not always easy. Journaling can help.
A pen and paper can be truly miraculous.
Cheers & Shalom,
Image Credit: Free Photos | Pixabay