Updated: Apr 20, 2022
For most of my life I have been writing in a journal. When I first started writing I called it my diary. My first diary was given to me by my grandmother at age twelve. I believe it was not so pleasant circumstances that moved her to get me a diary as an outlet for me to write my frustrations and to be able to say what I wanted to say – easily. Being bullied as a child, there was a lot I wanted to say but could not. I was angry and frustrated.
You see, I had a stuttering problem. At times I would get “stuck” on words and could not say what I wanted to say. The more I tried to push out the word, the worse the stammering and stuttering got. Fortunately, I had a teacher at school that helped me focus on what I wanted to say, one word at a time, the diary was another resource.
Little did my grandmother know that from the time I started writing, I would not stop. In my teen years the word “journaling” sounded so much classier and more grown-up, so I switched terminologies.
Over the years journaling has become a huge part of my life. Each morning my spiritual practices include prayer, meditation, scripture reading and journaling.
I am a huge champion for incorporating journaling into one’s life.
I have been asked why I journal, well, writing brings me clarity. It is an outlet for out-of-control emotions and helps me to process through some of life’s many challenges. I do not have a particular formula, but I describe the situation and how I feel about it. I do not mince words either. I am very honest and descriptive about how I am feeling. I write about good times, joyous and happy times, as well as times of despair, darkness, and the feelings of hopelessness. Just going through this writing exercise will help me sort through my feelings, whether good or not so good.
I speak to God when journaling. Sometimes it is like a letter to God. I will ask God to help me as needed; to see me through a difficulty or challenge; to bring clarity, peace and hope; to thank Him for good times; for his provision; wisdom, grace, and mercy. I am writing to get the myriad of thoughts out of my head and onto paper which helps to clear my mind.
Journaling puts time and space between me and the situation that is concerning or worrying me. As I write, I feel as though I am taking the power out of the situation, allowing my perception to shift. The mole hill is no longer a mountain.
Writing helps to make sense of my feelings and to put a name to my them. Once I have identified what the feeling is, I ask myself why do I feel that way? Many times, until I write about it in depth I don’t know why I feel a certain way. There were times I have surprised myself with the answers I have given. Answers that were not so obvious.
I recall a time when I was in such emotional pain that I felt there was no hope whatsoever. I was overwhelmed by a seemingly hopeless mindset. I grabbed my journal and began to write. I began writing freehand, in which I write whatever words come to mind. There were many misspellings, little to no punctuation, run on sentences, and disjointed thoughts. I wrote pages and pages of stuff. I felt every emotion as I wrote. I was distraught. I was crying out to God for help. I wrote about wanting to end my life. I did not see a way out. The thought of ending my life seemed the only way out. It was not and is not the way out. EVER!
Later, I discovered that my written confession was the beginning of a divine healing process. It afforded me a clearer mind and chance for God to speak to me, to help me. From that experience I came away believing, “as long as I have breath there is hope”, no matter what the situation may be. You see, I was in a “seemingly” hopeless state of mind. The word “seemingly” is key here. No situation is ever hopeless. I was still breathing. Breathing means life. God gives life. Where there is God, there is hope!
Yes, all this came through journaling.
Periodically I will go back and read through some of my journals. It is amazing, as I can clearly see the hand of God on many of the pages. I can see how he has orchestrated my life and weaved all my life experiences into a beautiful tapestry. I have the written proof. I have the documented memories.
My experiences and journaling have led me to become an author. My latest creation is my book “Life in Words, A Guided Journal of Gratitude”. You see, all my life experiences, the tears, scars, doubt, joy, peace, and trust in God have led me to the foundation of my life, GRATITUDE. There IS life in words. I believe journaling helped save my life on more than one occasion and deepened my faith in the process and for that I am forever grateful.
Follow all that Marsha Sherrill is doing on her website http://marshasherrill.com
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