journal entry | life at 40

journal entry | life at 40 September 23, 2021

Not every journal entry explores the nature of the prophetic as this one does. Some are just good family memories, experiences I don’t want to forget, etc. When I open the pages of my journals, I have something of importance to read.

This is an actual entry from my journal. Let me explain the “why” real quick and then offer a couple of my guidelines for journaling, to set up this piece for you.

“why” make a journal entry a blog post?

It was my birthday last month and someone asked me about how I was feeling this day when I was 40. I searched social media posts dating back to that time and found nothing significant.

Last week I picked up this journal and found this entry, and another one, close to that time frame. Lo and behold, I’m in a similar season of transition.

Perhaps I’ll forward this link to the person who asked the initial questions.

That brings me to some of my guidelines.

guideline 1: for future reference

I used to try to keep a diary, a completely frustrating discipline. Some days are just boring. Let’s be honest. Would I ever read all of those days again? I haven’t reread all of my “diaries.” You’ll notice in the first paragraph of the journal entry there’s quite a time span between entries. This is not uncommon for me now.

A journal felt more freeing because it could be what I wanted. What I wanted was to keep track of times like this that get at the heart of something, or times that I want to keep for future reference.

Not every journal entry explores the nature of the prophetic as this one does. Some are just good family memories, experiences I don’t want to forget, etc. When I open the pages of my journals, I have something of importance to read.

I truly believe God is in everyday, but my journal memories are cherished for one reason or another.

guideline 2: love keeps no record of wrongs

If I remember right, I was going through a frustrating personal season while I was a young man. I can’t remember if it was during my daily diary period or during my journal period. If it was during my diary period, perhaps that was the source of my frustration. I jest. There were other concerns.

I let myself run free in my diary, recording how I truly felt, thinking it would be good to get it all down on paper. I even employed colorful language, I’ll admit. Yet I found it fruitless.

Later in life I realized I also found it fruitless to write about problems at length, and particularly problem people. I just wasn’t getting anywhere by writing it down.

For some, this may actually help, but it didn’t help for me. Two other things did help though.

  1. I realized that there is nothing more colorful, as far as language, than praying the Psalms. For those who don’t know, many of the Psalms are written with the intent of assisting us as we pray in dire straits, or in real-time frustration. Psalms even help us pray about people who are frustrating us. This has helped me far more than journaling about it.
  2. 1 Corinthians 13.5 says love keeps no record of wrongs. This completely changed my outlook on journaling circa 2005. I’ll leave this Biblical injunction for you to apply.

Moving forward, I’m not really including precise locations or the name of the pastor in this piece. Also, as a minister and counselor, I think it’s important to share with others that I have often sought counsel, including seeking pastoral wisdom.

Life Journal
JVI | Life Journal | 09.07.20

journal entry | life at 40
Thursday, August 16, 2012, 1:02 pm

A final page has turned in my previous journal. My last entry was on 04.30.12. I have one final page for a final thought and I have yet to name the journal. That one started in California. I have been waiting to start this journal until I read the other one and put on the finishing touches. But that hasn’t happened yet.

So to this I turn. Some pages are left to read later. Some pages are turned, hopes left waiting, prayers and dreams unanswered. I am 40 now. The days of my youth are waning. I am longing to see God’s design accomplished.

pastoral guidance

Today, I stepped into church to talk to my pastor and update him on our situation. I let him know about where things are at as we are currently considering possibilities.

He began to encourage me. He said in times like this we can either spend all of our time worrying or worshipping. After we come through it, are we going to regret how we spent our time, constantly focused on it, looking everywhere for an answer? Are we going to wish we had spent more time with God and that we had committed some things to memory? Are we going to take time to pray, really draw close to God? Then, in the next phase, when we’re so busy, we’ll look back on this time and be glad.

a vignette from marriage

He said he faced a time like this early in his marriage. He had tried to work everything out and failed financially. He was desperately crying and praying.

He felt the Lord speak to him and say, “If you knew what I am about to do for you, you would be worshipping instead of worrying!”

As he shared, it was as if the Lord was ministering it to me.

weigh vocational options

He told me that I’m in a rough place, with counseling and ministry. On one hand, I need work to support my family. On the other hand, I want to see God’s dreams fulfilled. In one place, I may work one-on-one, not seeing results for months. At times I’m just needing to make an altar call, because lives can be changed in one minute when it might take months otherwise.

Furthermore, he said emphatically, “You’re supposed to be preaching to hundreds and thousands.”

He told me there is nothing more heartbreaking in ministry than to see people who are living below what God has for them.

make the most of transitional seasons

He felt like God asked him in a similar time, “What would you be doing if you were financially free?”

He replied, “Helping others.”

God replied, “What’s stopping you?”

He realized he had bills, but he was not tied down to a schedule. He started that day, and continued spending 16-17 hours a day helping others. He began with his wife and his family, and then others. He soon had nearly $6,000. He did work on houses and helped the poor.

He had faced some cruel scrutiny from some employers that he had applied with.

However, God showed him that he had been looking to others for help.

When he began helping others, God made that grow. He lifted him above his immediate needs so he could see down the road to where God wanted to take him, and then how to get there.

And that’s what he prayed for me, that God would give me the blessed hope of what He wants to do in me.

In general, you can find more informal pieces like this in my Narrative category CLICK HERE

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