One does not have to have a vocation of a writer in order to taste the healing benefits of writing. It has long been known that keeping a journal helps us to be attentive to the inner movements of our soul and to the deep life learning that each season of life offers us. Life can move quickly, and it is easy to lose a meaningful experience, a life lesson, unless we commit it to paper. Writing about our experiences also gives us a chance to come back to what we have written, to remember and to draw from it at a later stage.
Some people use journaling to record daily events, but we can go even deeper and use it as a tool to reflect on our life. Writing gives us a chance to slow down and to pay attention to experiences that we can otherwise so easily overlook. If you would like to nurture a reflective dimension in your life, why not take a few minutes each day during this Advent to write about your day. Where did you notice God’s presence? What thoughts, emotions surfaced within you? What prayer was being formed in your depths?
Writing gives shape to our thoughts. While we can gather many blessings by noting beautiful experiences, God’s graces that we encounter daily, it can be quite healing to take time to journal about painful events as well, such as grief or loss of any kind. Writing gives us a tool to express emotions that we carry within us, instead of keeping them bottled up inside. In this way writing can provide healing and relief.
In a way writing acts as a mirror; at times while journaling we will write something that we have never thought about before, something we didn’t know we knew or believed. Allow yourself to be surprised with what you write, should that happen. Journaling is a good way to reflect, to pay attention, to observe, to listen, to notice our inner movements and to grow.
I will leave you with some questions that may help your reflections as you journey through Advent:
Where in my life do I need God’s light to grow?
Did I notice that God is teaching me something new at this moment in time?
What hope have I for this Advent?
What are the ways that I can prepare my heart for the coming of Christ?
You can turn your writing into prayer. God is attentive to what is in your heart, and so be free as you write. The paper will not judge. May you have a truly blessed Advent.
Dr Iva Beranek is the Ministry Facilitator for the CMH: Ireland