Anger & Forgiveness

Writing & Worshiping: Confessions (And Encouragements) of a Failed Journaler

Alaina McLemore

January 18, 2024 | 3 minute read

As we look at spiritual adulting this month, I have a confession to make as a professional writer… I seldom write or journal about my own life.

I actually love writing and want to remember special moments from ordinary days that are typically forgotten – a laugh with a family member, a new recipe I loved, a small encouragement that God sent me. But I have to admit, journaling isn’t something I prioritize or feel very comfortable doing. In fact, it kind of makes me cringe. 

I’ve sporadically kept diaries and journals since I was a kid, and anytime I go back and read what I wrote, I feel embarrassed. Has that ever happened to you? I hope not, but I feel like for at least some of you reading this, the honest answer would be yes. 

I want to talk about how writing can be worship. We typically think of worship as song or prayer, but keeping a record of how God is moving in your life is another form of worship that is so powerful for you and others. I’d like to share with you some things I’ve learned about journaling that have made me excited to grab my pen and start writing. So let’s get started!

Writing Through Trials

I find that the desperate need to write usually hits me when I’m in the middle of a trial. A lot of times, I can’t let things go if I don’t write them down. I found myself in a place of deep sadness and confusion last year and it was so overwhelming, I felt stuck. Usually I can find peace in worship music. Music has always been a huge part of my life and I can typically find solace in losing myself in worship songs, but last year, that just wasn’t cutting it. It almost felt like a mockery of what I was going through – God has all of these good plans, but not for you. Now, I knew that was not true, but when you’re going through something, it’s hard to trust your mind over your emotions. My tried and true form of worship was too shallow for that season. So, I kept trying. I grabbed my journal and started writing. I wrote out my frustrations, my disappointments, the lies I was battling – I wrote out all of the negative junk that had been trapped in my head and weighing me down. I put it all out there in a letter to God. I took a cue from people in the Bible when they vented their frustrations to God and were met with love and understanding. Plus, I knew God already knew what I was thinking and feeling, so why not get it out there and start dealing with it?

Refocusing My Thoughts & Rediscovering my Hope

When I had it all out, I then began to write out the good things in my life. It felt wrong to only tell God what I was frustrated about and not acknowledge all of the wonderful things and people as well. By putting everything on paper and calling it out, it freed my mind and heart to focus on the good things. It called attention to the small voice that said, “Okay, it’s not all bad, right?” Writing out how I was feeling helped me get it out so that I could start to move on and look beyond the things that were weighing me down. It opened my mind to be able to worship with a light heart and rediscover my hope.

Read, Write & Get Personal

At the same time, I also started a new devotional that had daily writing prompts. I find that when just given a blank piece of paper and pen, I don’t really know what to write about and I’m tempted to gloss over what’s going on inside. But when I started the devotional that had specific writing prompts, I had direction on things to think on and different ways to think through my current circumstances. I started reading my Bible more and trying to glean insights from passages of the Old Testament that felt relatable to me. Writing down what I was learning – even questions I had that I still don’t know the answers to – began a transformation in myself that I didn’t expect. It didn’t change my circumstances, but it changed me.

Reflecting, Remembering & Recharging

Which brings me to my final encouragement of why you should journal. When you write down what you’re thinking, feeling and learning, it gives you something to look back on when you’re going through another trial. It allows you to worship. I don’t know about you, but when I’m going through something difficult, it’s REALLY hard for me to stop and remember how God got me through the last one. I know it, but if I can’t go back and read my desperation and see the transformation on the pages in front of me, it’s not going to serve me well in the current trial. 

When I look back on that journal from last year and see myself learning and growing and rediscovering my hope and joy, it encourages me in what I’m walking through today. My situation – your situation – isn’t hopeless. I’ve even been able to share some of my notes with friends and family members to bring them encouragement in their seasons of stress.

Writing is a wonderful opportunity to see God work through your life in ways that you might not see or remember otherwise. It’s a uniquely personal way to worship him and his work in your life. So, as someone who still struggles to journal but is trying, I encourage you to take some time to write out your thoughts and feelings, then write out the good things and just keep writing and worshiping.

Alaina McLemore

Alaina McLemore

Alaina McLemore is the Technical Copywriter for e3 Partners/I Am Second. She has years of experience in agency and in-house environments and a strong expertise in creative and technical writing. She resides in Texas and enjoys music, reading, traveling to the beach and all-things British.

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