I got to the end of another year and 2016 greeted me with rain, port and a host of decisions to make I decided to focus on the important things; like untangling my necklaces from my earrings and getting rid of clothes that no longer fit me!
When I had stopped my mental eddying and finally came to rest, I realised that I had not filled ONE journal, throughout the whole of 2015. NOT EVEN HALF of one. (Cue inward breath from Christian women everywhere and a spluttered "maybe she has just not found the right journal, or right moment or pen).
You see; I probably have the right journal and the right moment. I just have not sat down and written in my journal. I had to stop for a minute and think about it. I have a lot of thoughts at times that seem to make no sense; half-drawn mental sketches and watercolours of things that might be and paradoxically I am able to formulate where I am going or what I am doing or plan strategically in just over a minute.
Or, if I do not know then I am pretty sure that God does. Why have I not journaled though? Am I less of a Christian because of this?
I journal, therefore I am.
Currently, we seem to be obsessed with sharing everything with everyone. Facebook is a classic for this – it is great to hear what your friends are up to and I am glad when they are going through major life decisions and changes and share this with those that they know and trust.
But do I really want to hear what you had for breakfast? Or do I really have to know if you are saying something that others are saying, or just being plain mean? Is it necessary to share all that you think and feel with everyone else?
I hate to break it to myself and to others, but are my views really so interesting? It seems the same for journaling. I feel like at times I need to process something quite big and I am sure that you know what I mean by this. But do I need to journal every single life event? When someone has said something to me that I do not like do I need to write about it?
When I have found something that bothers me or a mid-level decision that needs a bit of thought, do I need to put pen to paper or can I just...wait for it... make a decision. I am not saying this because I know the answer, I am asking because I am not sure myself and am journeying this (and ironically will probably end up journaling about it)
You are not as messed up as you think you are
I respect that some of you as you read this, may take offence. You may think that I am being trite and a bit, rude? I am not saying that you may not be suffering from a past, a present or a future that is beyond challenging. The one thing that I do know however; there IS a God that sees a challenging situation as "all in a day's work".
But for the things or situations or moments that are slightly less challenging, that still require mental energy... do I need to "process it" or is it just a matter of applying some hard-fought energy and pressure to the situation, in order bring change? I mentioned that I was facing the beginning of 2016 with some decisions to make.
Now I can go about it one of two ways. I can attack everything all at once; frazzle my soul and exhaust my reserves because I am thinking about everything ALL THE TIME and journaling my frustration and head-mess, ALL THE TIME. Or I can apply myself to thinking properly, about one problem, fixing it and moving on.
If Jesus was a running shoe...
May I tentatively suggest to myself and to you that you may need to stop journaling and processing on a problem and actually fix it. I need to speak to myself on this. I have battled serious confidence issues all my life. I have noticed how I feel worn out and worn down by it. I know what I need to do. I need to be more confident.
I do not need to journal this or make a picture about this or fast or pray about it. I need to do it. Sure, the practical reality of how I go about building my confidence in Christ and not in my job or pay-packet may take some changing. But actually that change can begin with doing it, rather than journaling it. The Bible has words to say on this. In Ecclesiastes 3 it says "For everything there is a season, ....a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted; a time to kill.... a time to mourn, and a time to dance".
I feel like there is a season to journal and a season to journey. Now is the time to journey for me. What about you?
As an analogy to end on I take you back to my jewellery. I must have spent ages tweaking at the knots and trying to loosen the various cords and ends, so that I could actually wear the earrings, rather than just look at them. I was getting quite frustrated because I was making an effort, but not achieving anything.
When I stopped for a second and actually focussed on one bit of jewellery and on untangling that one necklace, things started to change. I would suggest that my mantra of 2016 should be "just do it", rather than "just journal it".
Rosie Robinson resides in Manchester where, in between feeding herself coffee and bagels she works for an international financial services organisation. She attends a lively church called Audacious, enjoys reading, running and watching films and slowly discovering life with Jesus.
Rosie Robinson's previous articles may be viewed at http://www.pressserviceinternational.org/rosie-robinson.html