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Reaching God Through Pen and Paper

Posted : Jan-17-2018

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Earlier this week, I noted that the online world had marked January 15 as "Blue Monday," believed to be the most depressing day of the year.

As we get into the rhythm of a New Year, you might still be thinking about resolutions and how you can continue striving to be a better person of faith.

I recently presented to "Spiritus Via," the Eastern Region Young Adult Ministry, within the Archdiocese of Toronto. Having been asked to give witness to a countless number of young adults who were present, I spoke in great detail about how journaling has affected my formation and personal walk with God.

According to Merriam-Webster, journaling is defined as a record of experiences, ideas or reflections kept regularly for private use. For me, journaling is personal. However, it's not a diary. Journaling is an intimate expression of my inner self, as I seek to not only ask questions but get answers to some of life's important questions: Who am I? Where should I be going? Where have I been? What could I have done better when looking back at recent events? How can I continue to grow in faith?

Over the years, I've prayed through my writings, often speaking specifically about discernment, my past relationships, struggles, fears and countless other things.

Fresh on the heels of a witness talk to Spiritus Via, I thought I'd share some things to keep in mind when journaling and the rewards that can be reaped when you put in the effort to journal.

1. Prayerfully discern and remember significant moments
Having a journal and using it effectively involves detailing important events in your day and life. It provides you with an important log of what has happened. It allows you to go back in time very quickly.

2. Clarify your mind and thought
Journaling will open up your mind to see where you've been, how you're doing and what you need to be more intentional about.

3. Delve deep into the heart
At the end of the day, nothing can take away the most inner thoughts and feelings in our heart. Journaling allows you to discern better and get a handle as to what your heart is asking you to do and consider, having looked back at what has happened or what has yet to come.

4. Be intentional about knowing your feelings
Journaling is particularly helpful in this area. If there's one thing that's hard to do for most of us, it's understanding our feelings and sharing them. When you don't want to do that publicly, that's where a journal comes in handy. However, it's worth noting that our feelings don't encapsulate everything there is to know about us. Emotions are just a fraction of our entire self. With that being said, it's important for our emotional, spiritual and mental well-being that we assess how we are feeling and what we plan on doing as a result of knowing our emotions.

5. Ask the tough but necessary questions
My journaling experiences have been important, because they've allowed me to turn my heart and my mind inward so that I not only ask questions, but find answers to some of life's struggles and questions.

So does journaling interest you? Resolve to find out how you can grow in holiness using three simple things: a notebook, pen and an open heart. Good luck!