I used to journal. Back when you actually had to write, with your own hand, In a notebook. No laptops or IPADS. Recently I found some of those journals up at my moms. One thing I learned from perusing them is that I was an idiot much of the time. And completely oblivious to what, in hindsight, needed to happened to improve my life. Anyone reading it would be yelling at me like we do at the teenagers running into the woods or a cemetery in a horror movie. “What are you THINKING? What is WRONG with you?!?!?”. The content of those journals was often horrifying and embarrassing. I could hardly stand it. I hate to admit it, but I threw them away. That’s probably a blog in and of itself. But here is my point today: about three quarters of my entries began with this sentence: (my journal entries were written records of me talking/venting to God) “God, I know I haven’t written in awhile…”. I am not sure why I felt I had to explain all the good reasons WHY I hadn’t been writing in my journal (as if He were going to give me a grade on it). But I tried. It usually involved excuses like too much homework (in the college days) or no sleep (in toddler days). Sometimes, though, I was much harder on myself. Telling God about what an undisciplined Christian I was and asking his forgiveness for not writing in my journal EVERY DAY (because-that is the TRUE mark of a spiritual person, right?). After reviewing these entries, it became clear that my intent was not to connect with God, it was to more about proving my devotion through this self-declared daily discipline. I was trying to do image management with the all-knowing God of the universe. Let’s just think about the sanity of that for a second….
One of the reasons this is on my mind this morning, is because I want to make more of an effort to blog more regularly. And, since I haven’t written for awhile because of illness and basketball games and volleyball games and Real Estate and housecleaning and meetings and oh-there I go. Trying to justify myself. Maintain an image. Make you think I have some really good reasons for being AWOL rather than let you wonder what the heck I have been doing for 3 weeks! It’s all about control, I guess. Trying to create the image I want you, and God, to have of me. That’s messed up. I promised myself, after seeing all those ridiculous entries that started with an apology to God, that I wasn’t going to do that anymore. Even if it was months between. I also decided that maybe I was giving my prayer journal a little too much power. And if writing in it made me feel guilty and less-than, maybe I should look into some other ways to connect with God. I realized I have been doing that with this blog; Feeling guilty when I don’t write for a bit and fighting the urge to explain myself, lest you think poorly of me. I have done it before. I took an act of love and devotion and vulnerability and turned it into a chore. When being with God becomes a chore, I am doing it wrong. The goal of my spiritual activities is to enjoy a loving, gentle, gracious and grateful relationship with my Savior. Anything different than that is just a lot of wasted time and energy. The goal when I blog is to share my heart and struggles and to hopefully encourage a few others along the way. It helps me connect with myself, God, and you. What a gift. I never want to turn this blessing into a burden.