Writing in that manner is probably one of the greatest sources of spiritual development in my life. In the deep recesses of my childhood closet hide more than a decade worth of spiral bound thoughts. And while there is much less complaining about youthful woes, chores, homework and groundings, not much else has changed. I still choose to go there to contemplate first. These pages are filled with recognition of faults, expressions of sin, repentance, stubborn defiance, mourning over friendships and relationships, but also of wonderful discoveries, impassioned ideas, stories of God's faithfulness and fairness, new friends, newfound dreams, and really happy memories.
As I'm on the brink of closing another journal, I look at the slow growing stack and love these penned moments of myself. They are imperfect and messy and not very eloquent, but they are the truest expressions of my thoughts and it's important to me that they have a place of their own. There is a reflection in those scrawlings where I take ownership of myself and Jesus meets me there regularly to point me back to Him.
While I hold an affinity for journaling myself, I don't see journaling as some grand value everyone should agree to...in fact, it's the opposite. I am first and foremost a proponent of people finding things they like to do or find helpful and meeting Jesus there. Painting, home decor, horseback riding, brewing coffee, restoring a car, trail running. Jesus meets us in creativity because He Himself is the Creator. And in that we are free to do what we love and experience Him in it.
"The moment good taste knows itself, some of its goodness is lost," CS Lewis wisely wrote in Surprised By Joy. Inevitably because of sin everything we do is already only half good, and we but continue to lose more when we look to the thing in itself to give us substance. The sharpness and beauty of all creative things comes from its innocence. To follow the path of ability and knowledge with abandon, not expectation, is the only way to truly experience creativity the way it was intended. The ambition to create a beautiful thing is not a problem, it is when we lose our love of creating that turns it into something less good. We search for beautiful results because we enjoy them. If we stop enjoying the search or the result, then beauty in its essence has no purpose.
I also hope to convey that the creativity I am talking about is not in the absence of hardwork and patience but the absence of futility and vanity in the name of attention or self-satisfaction. In fact, when we are truly doing what we love and enjoying the One who enabled us to love it, we are free to work hard because we are uninhibited by laziness, insecurity, comparison, or fear of rejection. We stop doing what we love in the name of impressing people and actually end up finding the most freedom to just like doing it.
I journal because it is a form of beauty of me. It may not be blog or novel or Kinfolk worthy, but our creative endeavors aren't always meant to be shared. Sometimes they're just for us to know with our Creator, and that, my friends, is the whole idea.