Why Keep a Private Journal?

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In this day and age of social media, I wonder if anyone really keeps a private journal anymore. Since I was a freshman in high school, I have kept a hand written private journal.  But when I was introduced to Facebook several years ago, my private journal entries dramatically decreased.

Not long ago, I realized that Facebook statuses and sharing in Facebook groups have taken the place of my faithful paper and pen. I guess because it was much quicker, and I could also get a reply, and even encouragement, from others; whereas in my private journal, no one read it but me.

But lately, I’ve been drawn back to my private journal, and I’ve felt the need to stop sharing so much of my personal struggles on social media. I believe keeping a private journal can really be healthy and beneficial to our walk with God as well as our personal growth, while sharing too much on social media can really have the adverse affect.

Here are a few reasons I’ve compiled to keeping a private journal:

  1. To have a safe and private place to sort through and understand your feelings.
  2. To be brutally honest with yourself; dig deep into your own heart and find what needs to be changed and/or healed.
  3. To clear your heart and mind of distractions so you can hear the voice of God more clearly; and record what he says.
  4. To keep a record of happy, sad, and momentous events in your life.

These are all very good reasons to keep a private journal, and I could elaborate on each of them. However, I’d like to focus on the first two. Let’s start with having a safe and private place to sort through and understand your feelings.

When I write in my private journal, I do not have to censor anything. I can say exactly what is on my mind and heart without fear of hurting someone’s feelings or “getting in trouble.” My journal is my “safe place,” Its the place where I can take off my mask and be honest about how I feel about things and even about other people. I do not have to maintain a filter. What I write doesn’t even have to make sense. It is just me, pouring out my heart of all my fears, hurts, anger and yes, even happiness and joy. It is full of every emotion imaginable, sometimes all in the same entry.

The benefit of writing out all of your emotions like this is so that you can better understand why you are feeling the way you are feeling. As women, we can feel a thousand different emotions all at once and the reasons for each emotion do not have to be related to each other at all. Because of this, we sometimes get confused and we cannot articulate what we are feeling. That makes it hard for us to resolve issues, especially when other people are involved. Writing things down can help us map things out.

The second reason I want to address, is that when we journal, we are free to be brutally honest with ourselves about our own faults and insecurities without the fear of judgment. When we are truly honest with ourselves, then we can begin to work on the things that need to be changed within ourselves. We can identify the things in ourselves that have caused the turmoil instead of always throwing the blame onto others. When we do this, we can begin the healing process and take steps to positive change. After all, we cannot change others, but we can change ourselves.

I like to think of the Book of Psalms as King David’s private journal. Have you ever really read it as such? All throughout, it is full of David pouring out his heart. He cries out to God about injustice, betrayal and disappointment. But the thing that I have noticed is he always turns his attention back to the goodness of God.

When I journal, I try to do something of the same. After all my venting and complaining, I try to remember how good and faithful my God is to me and I try to turn it all around into praise. By doing this, I can truly find healing and rest from the struggles of life. I feel like this is the main goal for private journaling in the end.

So I want to issue a challenge to anyone who may read this. Let’s cut back on how much of our personal struggles we post on social media, and instead, put it in a private journal. Give yourself freedom to pour your heart out completely, but then be sure to return your thoughts back to God and give him praise in the midst of your circumstances. Try this for awhile and see if there is a change in your spirit. Maybe even come back here and tell me about how it works for you! I’d love to read about it!!

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