Journaling has long been a good spiritual discipline for me, even when the habit becomes inconsistent. Forcing myself to stop long enough to recognize and record how God is moving in my life has deepened my spirituality. If you've never tried it, I would encourage you to do so.
A couple weeks ago, while on a spiritual retreat, I read back through some of my old journal entries. While doing so, I was reminded of an old Caedmon’s Call song called “Thankful”:
You know I ran across an old box of letters
while I was bagging up some clothes for Goodwill
But you know I had to laugh at the same old struggles
that plagued me then are plaguing me still
Discovering that you are still struggling with some of the same issues months and years later can be a very humbling experience. You are tempted to doubt your faith, to wonder if you really have what it takes to be a disciple of Jesus Christ, and to accept the fact that you’ll never really have your act together.
Many of us have this experience when we think about our lives or our church. We recognize patterns of dysfunction and remember great adventures of missing the point.
While remembering and reflecting on the past opens us up to see the reoccurring struggles that plague us as finite human beings trying to understand and follow an infinite God, it can also remind us of God’s faithfulness, blessing, and movement in our lives.
The Good News is that God never lets go of us, even in our greatest moments of struggle, doubt, or dysfunction. When we stop and pay attention, the most significant thing we find is not our consistent struggle, but the persistent love of God coming to us in spite of it.
When you look back on the last few years of your life, what do you see? Consistent failures or unwavering grace? Human frailty or divine stability?