Why I Journal

Why I Journal

I originally wrote this post for Joanny White. Click here to read the original post.

 

Journaling has been something that I’ve done for a long time. Whether I completely realized what I was doing or why, when I was younger, I’m not completely sure. However, I do know that keeping a somewhat-consistent journal has benefited me immensely as I’ve grown – both physically and spiritually.

 

So without further adieu, I give you five reasons why I journal.

Continue reading “Why I Journal”

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Joy in the Mundane

Joy in the Mundane

I know I’ve been focusing a lot on the topic of joy recently.

You would think that I’d be a joyful person all the time (hello, joy is part of my name!) but honestly, I’m not.

(Perhaps I’m simply rehashing everything I’ve been saying for the past couple of weeks. Sometimes, I just need to write things that teach me, because I’m far from perfect or complete!)

A few days ago, I got into a terrible funk where I was moody and depressed for a few hours. Why? I have no idea why. I wrote in my journal to get out of it, and realized that no part of my writing had anything to do with joy in it.

But wait, we don’t have to be happy all the time, do we?

No. Nowhere does it say that we have to be happy all the time. Why? Because happiness is dependent on circumstances – and circumstances are never 100% perfect.

True to my blog’s name, I’m going to share a journal page snippet with all of you.

“Wow, I just read what I wrote earlier. It sounds so dark and hopeless. But it’s not. If I can’t find joy in the mundane, I’m making my joy circumstantial. A horrible decision, really. Life is really okay. Even when it doesn’t feel like it. My joy should come from Jesus, and not from accomplishments or possessions or circumstances. No, it’s never easy or pain-free. But I will make it through. For this isn’t the end.”

Joy is always possible because hope is always always available.

 

I started to get fed up with my mundane life in which I do practically the same exact thing every single day. I wake up, I do school, I go to karate (or at least practice it), I read and/or watch TV, I write, I go to bed. EVERY SINGLE DAY. (Maybe a little exaggeration there, but I think you get the point.)

I veer toward the side of believing that joy comes from great things that God gives us. Like: opportunities. books. money. friends. freedom.

Joy isn’t happiness. Joy is a life choice and lifestyle. I recently read an amazing blog post about marriage and it talked about making the mundane and ordinary days just as wonderful as the particularly romantic parts. It struck a chord with me, because I often forget that same concept in my daily life.

For me at least, I tend to find “joy” when things go my way, or I’m happy. But that’s not joy.

Joy comes from hope.

Hope is knowing that I’m never alone.

It comes from gratitude.

I am so thankful for my salvation because I am so undeserving of it.

I have joy because I am blessed down to my soul. I am loved and treasured and I belong to my Creator.

This has nothing to do with happiness, because it’s an attitude.

I still have my days where I feel like I’m in darkness, but we all do. It’s absolutely impossible to be always happy.

But we can always put on the attitude of joy. Joy is substantial because its foundation is on hope. This hope isn’t wishful thinking, but assurance.

Hebrews 11:1

“Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.”

When life is mundane and difficult, joy is possible because we have assurance that faith in God – the only solid foundation – will never fail us. Our souls are saved and secure. We are loved. We were bought with a high price. We are new creations.

Life is hard. Yeah.

But it isn’t the end, nor should we let it be.

Joy is beautiful. Joy is possible, even when it’s impossible to be happy. Joy is amazing, because no matter what, we can find it because of what Jesus has done for us.

That’s where we find joy.

*aj

Do I Really Trust? Let’s Find Out…

Do I Really Trust Let's Find Out...

This blog is titled Scattered Journal Pages for a reason, and it’s time I use the theme more than I do.

These are my contemplations, and the equivalent of what I would write (sort of) in my journal. My contemplations. Things I’m feeling, and learning, and growing from.

Yesterday (Monday) was a miserable day for me.

Actually, it really wasn’t miserable, but I was miserable. My attitude. My feelings. My outlook. And yes, a few days before, I had just written about not forgetting my joy.

I felt like a hypocrite, I really did. This girl who claims that joy lasts is not living with a joyful spirit.

And I mean, that totally happens. Sometimes we just succumb to our dark circumstances and make ourselves see only bitter dark tunnels with no end.

Some things have happened that have weighed on me emotionally, and I let that become the end.

Some people say they ‘can’t feel,’ but for me, it felt like I was just feeling so much. And for my future, I’m scared.

I have to do my own invented version of self-analysis when I feel this way.

Why am I so down?

I’m down because I’m scared to death.

Why am I so scared?

Because I have no idea what’s coming in the future.

Do I trust God?

Of course I trust God. Don’t I?

Do I trust that God’s plan is best, even when I can’t see it?

Well, I know it is.

 

Yes, but do I really trust? Do I trust that He will bring me through everything that happens to accomplish His plan?

Yes…I think so.

 

Do I trust that even if He doesn’t bring me through, that it’s for the best?

I don’t know. I should. Because I know it is. So, yes.

 

Then why am I still afraid?

Because…what if things never get better? What if my life stays just like this forever? What if I’m hopelessly lost for the rest of my life?

 

Should that really be my concern, though? Okay, let’s say things never get better. Say I have to live with my circumstances how they are long-term. Do I still trust that God’s way is perfect? Do I still believe that God has my life under control, that what happens happens, and that He will never leave me or forsake me?

*thinks for a long while* Yes, I do trust.

The light is what we make of it.

I told myself I was fumbling around in darkness. I told myself I had to be miserable. I told myself I was in a tunnel without and end. I told myself that there was no light.

 

But those are lies.

 

I forgot (temporarily) what the Bible says.

1 Thessalonians 5:18

“Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”

I wasn’t giving thanks and living with what God had given me. But now I am.

2 Samuel 22:31

“This God—his way is perfect;

the word of the Lord proves true;

he is a shield for all those who take refuge in him.”

I wasn’t trusting that as hard as God’s plan may be, that it is the best. Now I am.

Jeremiah 29:11

“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.”

I wasn’t trusting that God’s plans for me were for my welfare, future, or hope. But now I realize that they are.

Isaiah 55:8-9

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.”

I was basing my fear of insecurity off of my perception of what was going on. Instead, I’ve refocused. I’ve realized that things may look like they’re impossible, but God has a plan through it all. That His ways are far better than mine.

The verses speak for themselves.

I want to encourage all of you today, don’t give up on trusting God.

Don’t give in to the lies that hold you captive.

Never lose hope that God’s ways are best, and whatever happens is for your good and His glory.

And please remind me of all of this when I feel like I’m in the dark!

*aj

A Journal Entry: Will I Ever Be Good Enough?

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For a while there, I *thought* I had it pretty good.

I’ve kept straight A’s, I guess I’m pretty smart. My friends call me a genius. (Trust me, I am not.) People tell me I’m talented, beautiful, and godly. I have a lot of friends, and I guess I can be pretty popular.

At least I turn in my assignments on time. I sit in the front row of every class and my teachers like me.

I read my Bible every day without fail, I teach Sunday school and youth group, and I’m on our youth group worship team.

So I’m pretty good, I thought. (Big mistake. Pride does come before a fall.) My life had become a checklist, and I was doing well. Or so I thought.

But God changed everything.

He said “no”.

“No, AJ, you can’t be good enough for me.”
“I’m not good enough? Just show me what to do!” I screamed.

And he said, “Do nothing, Amanda.”

And I cried “WHY?! You’ve blessed me with talent! With a brain! Aren’t I supposed to use it?!”

And he said to me, “You don’t need to be smart. You don’t need to be beautiful by the world’s standards. You don’t need to do all this for me, because my love for you does not depend on what you do. You are my child, and I love you. I sent Jesus to pay the price for your salvation. And I see HIM in you, not the things that you do. (See Colossians 2:10 “And you are complete in Him, who is the head of all principality and power.”)

“You are to do things for my glory, not for your benefit or to look good.

“Amanda, I love you anyway.”

He loves me anyway.

I’ve spent too many hours crying over feeling like I’m incomplete. But Jesus makes me complete. I’ve spent too many hours stressing over getting an A. But it’s not really that big of a deal. I’ve spent too many hours focused on me. And it’s not even about me. I’ve spent too many hours stubbornly worrying about my problems on my own…when I’m supposed to cast my cares on God because he cares for me. (See 1 Peter 5:7) What did I miss? Everything!

I’m not sure what I was trying to earn. Because I now realize that who I am in Christ has nothing to do with my performance.

And that was a relief to hear.

God doesn’t require us to be perfect. Perfection is impossible! He just requires us to abide in him.

And with his help, I can do that.

*aj