The Fear of Spiritual Journaling

Journaling the spiritual life.

Probably nothing strikes more fear in us than the idea of writing down (that others may see) our most intimate thoughts and feelings. How in the world do I talk about my struggles with fear, anger, sex and relationships, just to name a few? How do I reveal the inner struggles that only God and I know about it, when the possibility exists that someone else, possibly my own children, will one day read these most intimate thoughts. Should I really do it?

The answer to that – at least for me personally – is yes, without a doubt.

First of all, it’s good for my spiritual life. It lets me clarify my thoughts; it lets me open up to God and put things on the table that need to be dealt with and resolved. And it lets me see the consistency with which God deals with my strengths and weaknesses.

Secondly, it creates an honest, authentic person that my children and grandchildren are much more inclined to relate to in the struggles of life. God never hid the struggles of the people who loved and followed him. Remember that he called David a man after his own heart, even though David committed adultery, and then murdered the his lover’s husband. What?! And God loved and esteemed Elijah, even those he succumbed to depression and despair.

This quote from Kahlil Gibran is so true: “If we all confessed our sins to one another, we would laugh at each other for our lack of originality.” Like it or not, my journey contains much sin – and much confession and repentance. To deny that would deny my humanity.

Most of us would be willing to admit our sin, but not with any specificity. We don’t want to address what we did, only that we did “things.” I happen to believe that those particulars are important. Our children need to see the sin we have dealt with, the ways we struggled, and the ways we overcame that sin. These are important things! The actual details of sin may not need to be revealed, but the sin does. Learning and growth are an important result for the young disciple who follows in your steps.

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