I am sorry to say I was not listening to the sermon. No, I was thinking how lonely, unfair, and--above all --how misunderstood my life was.
I have forgotten why, but that particular morning I was ready to boil over. It was then that an infinitely patient God, knowing I wasn't paying attention to my dad's preaching, placed a thought in my head: journal.
Of course, I thought it was my own clever idea. As soon as I got home that afternoon, I raided Mom's closet for a notebook. The victim I chose had a dark blue cover to reflect my mood, and it was college ruled so I could cram all my self-righteous assertions into its unsuspecting pages.
I wasted no time. Finally, I thought, I have an outlet for self-expression. Make that selfish expression. Every time my fragile feelings got hurt or the world didn't treat me with the respect I deserved, I marched to my bedroom, whipped out my notebook, and wrote. And wrote... and wrote.
I'm not proud of the way I began journaling. But I'm thankful, oh-so-thankful, the Lord not only gave me the idea, but also patiently guided my writing. The blue notebook was followed by the green one, and then the red one... Likewise, immature rants gradually gave way to a more balanced perspective. I began documenting my aspirations and honest soul-searching; then my meditations on God's Word and written prayers.
My journals chronicle my spiritual journey, and I've kept all of them. They contain written expression of thoughts and ideas just between God and me. But sometimes I go through a period when the journal gathers dust and the pen lies still. I'm not sure what brings on dry spells, but I do know I am not the same when I'm not journaling regularly. It means I'm not internalizing that which the Lord is teaching me.
Well, I've had a dry spell recently, and I've needed a jumpstart. Enter a remarkable little book:
Yes, I admit it. All of this has been leading up to a book recommendation.
Me, Myself and I AM is a sleek little hard-back book that packs a punch. All it does is ask questions. But when those questions are probing questions about your relationship with the Lord, all you need is a little honesty and you're well on your way to some serious introspection. Warning: you may not like what you discover about yourself. I'm on page 48, and I've had a few surprises, veteran journaler that I am.
Not all the questions are life-changing, granted. But who doesn't like listing their favorite foods and cool Christmas presents?
Then you turn the page and have to confront this one: "Three things I do currently that I am not proud of." Or how about, "The word that best describes Jesus' place in my life is..."
Bottom line: this book, coupled with the all-important honesty-factor and a little time, is an effective way to get to know yourself and your relationship with Jesus for what it really is. Even after I make it though page 83, I've got plenty of fodder for journaling on my own again.
Me, Myself and I Am can be purchased here: http://www.christianbook.com/
Want a FREE copy for yourself? Leave me a comment. Any comment.