In the back of every Men’s Journal magazine there is a section called The Last Word. In the September 2019 issue, Lester Holt, of NBC Nightly News was interviewed and asked, “What advice would you give your younger self?” His response was interesting. “Keep a journal.”
More than once, I’ve heard people say: “My entire life is consumed by my occupation and then one day I’ll die.” Sad commentary. The soul knows there’s more to this life than just working. When we ignore ourselves, God sometimes sends us warning signals through depression, loneliness and through an undefined aching in the soul.
A lot of folks purposefully ignore those signs and attempt to fill their lives with things like vaping, social media, alcohol, entertainment, food, money, porn, drugs and even exercise. But what man makes-breaks. How do you get off the treadmill and stop the madness?
From The Reflective Life, Ken Gire writes: “On most days when I’m driving the highway I’m staring blankly at the road ahead, but on some days the corner of my eye catches an angle of sun falling on the foothills that causes me to slow down. It may be a familiar terrain, terrain I pass every day, but there is something about this day and the way the clouds part to pour light on a bare outcropping of rock or a stand of aspen or a common meadow that compels me to pull the car off the side of the road to take it all in.”
The older I get, the less I sleep. Sometimes around 4:30 a.m. I go downstairs to what I call my secret place with coffee in hand. I switch on a lamp. I sit in our den with a devotional, a journal, and the Bible. That’s the only time I stop, before my day kicks into overdrive.
Gire offers a suggestion. “That is why the journal is important. Not as a scrapbook, to chronicle our lives, but as a way of reflecting on our lives so we can better understand who we were and where we’ve been…better understand where we are going and what it is that is driving us there…better understand how we should change if where we are being driven is destructive to us and to those around us. And so the journal becomes a way not only to understand ourselves better, but to love ourselves better. The way God loves us. The way He would have us to love ourselves and to care for ourselves, the way the Good Samaritan cared for the man who had fallen among thieves. To better love others and to better love ourselves is reason enough to keep a journal. But there is a more important reason. The most important reason for keeping a journal is that every now and then God shows up.”
Do you have the desire of the Psalmist? “I long, yes I faint with longing to enter the courts of the Lord.” (84:2a)