(By John Joseph*)
One of the simplest and most effective tools in my recovery has been soul journaling. There’s something powerful about the act of writing out the pain, the people, and the prayers (positively and negatively) that put them all in a better perspective. I don’t know if it’s the power of the words themselves or just the fact that I write them out of my head that brings some relief, but time and again I’ve experienced good things from journaling.
I’m not a write-in-the-journal-every-day kind of guy. I write when I feel like I need or want to. It’s sporadic, and weeks can go by in between entries. Sometimes I write four or five pages; at other times, only a paragraph.
Recently, when I needed to do some journaling about my mother, I could write only one sentence: “Mom . . . upside down spells ‘wow.' ” Obviously I have some work to do on that relationship.
I think it’s important to write positive things as well as negative. It’s good to celebrate even the smallest victories in our recovery from abuse—a day with less depression or the realization that each day is a gift. It’s also possible to address the true self in our journals—that part of our soul that responds to nurturing through self-affirmation and blessing. There’s a lot of healing we can gift to ourselves through positive words.
Writing things out is an ancient prescription for soul health. Journaling, even sporadically, can be part of your journey to the center of who you really are.
(*John Joseph is a pseudonym of a pastor. He's a regular contributor to this blog.)