I just googled the word journaling and got 40,900,000 results. Guess another result can’t hurt.
In an effort to keep shrinking my library, I discarded six journals today. Hard to do? Not really, particularly since they are more than a decade old. And as tempting as it is for me to flip through the pages, instead I dwelt on the value of what was on the pages versus the exact words.
If you journal, you know the value. If you don’t journal, well there are 40 million web results to consider its value. As for my experience, here’s why I value journaling.
Spiritual. This one is first for a reason. In those six journals, my guess is 95% of the content was from the discipline of journaling while engaging scripture reading. During that time frame, I mostly used the acronym SOAP, written about in The Divine Mentor by Wayne Cordeiro, to complete my journaling discipline. My engagement with God and the Bible took on new depth through the words penned on those pages. Pretty sure there’s not a price tag I could put on that.
Emotional. A lot happened in those twelve years including working at three different churches in various roles, moving to a new city, completing a four-year masters degree, handing off a successful piano competition, becoming an intentional runner, and many other personal and family experiences. Allowing pen and paper to process the emotions of such events is beneficial to the one journaling and to those in their world. The value that is most surprising is how those emotions surface more quickly and more healthily due to the writing discipline.
Mental. As one who believes our minds should be in constant growth, the discipline of journaling is a tool that aids that growth. When united with spiritual and emotional focuses, my mind is transformed. After twelve years of journaling, I know things I didn’t know before, I know things I didn’t know I needed to know, and I deepened my value of knowing both of those things.
How I journal, how often I journal, and how it impacts me continues to evolve. That’s reason enough to keep journaling.
I posted about Amy Cuddy’s book Presence on January 31. I finally finished it today. What a great read.
The last two chapters were worth the wait. Chapter ten addresses what she called self-nudging. Here are a few quotes:
Presence is about approaching your biggest challenges without dread, executing them without anxiety, and leaving them without regret. We don’t get there by deciding to change right now. We do it gently, incrementally, by nudging ourselves – a bit further every time.
Focusing on process encourages us to keep working, to keep going, and to see challenges as opportunities for growth, not as threats of failure.
The more you reframe your anxiety as excitement, the happier and more successful you may become.
And chapter eleven captures the point of the whole book. “Fake it till you become it.”
What is IOS? No, it doesn’t have anything to do with Apple. However, you can see people battling it as often as you see Apple products. IOS is a syndrome you have dealt with sometime in your life. People suffer with it on social media, tv shows, in the board room, and at the family reunion. It would be nice if there were a pill or shot for it, but so far, no.
We’ve all dealt with it, particularly in our formative years. When you gave that first book report in 3rd grade, when you got your first job, when you picked your date up for prom-it was heavy. Some people overcome it quickly; others struggle with it all their lives. Overcoming IOS may be a process or could be a defining moment. I had a defining moment my junior year in college and another a few years later that seemed to loosen the grip of IOS. Regardless of its hold on someone, the reality of it being loosened is real and is possible.
This syndrome is Impressing Others Syndrome. Recognize it? Have you overcome it? If not, your self talk could be a solution. Most likely, your self talk is fear-based, maybe even lies you’ve been deceived to believe.
So how do we counter those lies, that fear? Overcoming IOS will take addressing it at its roots. Those roots of lies and fears should be countered by our identity and truth as God sees us. The challenge is very personal, testing what we believe and just how true our convictions are. Our self talk should be based on truths that strengthen us to defeat IOS. These three are a great start.
“God loves Me.” He created me and made me who I am. Who I am includes my looks, my abilities, my personality. He knows my history. No one else knows me like he does. His love is unconditional, and my performance and choices do not change it.
“The best motives are eternity-focused.” Checking our motives should be a constant priority. Satan loves to tempt us to be temporally motivated and thereby tell ourselves to focus on things that have little or no eternal worth. When you check this root of IOS, you may discover the main self talk to change.
“I’m a work in progress.” This reality can be personally humbling and also critically diffusing. This also creates in us a teachable spirit which allows us to not live for approval as much as growth. That’s a big difference.
What are you telling yourself? Lies or truths? Fears or convictions? IOS’s grip can be loosened. Ask God for your best self-talking points and be free.
Two weeks into the year. And I asked for a strategy. Got it.
When it comes to reading, I’d say I’m slightly above the average reader as to how much and to diversity. But that’s been pretty much up to chance, outside of the structure of assigned reading by instructors or bosses. In my adult life, my content has been determined by curiosity, reference, or gifts. Nothing wrong with any of those. But for 2018 I wanted a strategy. So my coach and I walked through that this week. Here’s the result:
Overall goal: A well rounded, self-assigned curriculum that includes subjects I’m currently engaged with but also subjects that will widen my knowledge
Number goal: Not necessarily concerned about it, but landed on a total of 25-30
Targeted content: I will read 1-4 books that fall under the following ten headings:
I really like this plan. It’s intentional. It’s accountable. It’s broadening. It’s flexible. It’s doable. It’s motivational.
If reading is a thing for you, what’s your strategy? Does it need reviewing or tweaking? Feel free to share by commenting.
If you have another thing, same idea. How can you grow in that thing in 2018?