[Editing] Journaling with Open Ended Questions

I wonder why… sometimes one’s ideas are so abundant that it is as difficult to track down and catch a single one as it would be to catch just one firefly in a field teeming with them– and other times the ideas are so few and straggly and dim that you can’t seem to locate one worth writing about, even if you can catch one.

Does it have to do with your actual brain function? And if you just took more omegas and more good fat and more water and so on you’d be loaded with ideas? Or, perhaps, it means that you just haven’t been reading and hearing enough good things lately– you simply don’t have any new material to create new ideas.

Maybe it is just laziness, and you haven’t tried hard enough to dig the ideas out of the piles of thoughts sitting around in your brain like so many stacks of fallen leaves… Maybe it’s because you just don’t think that there are really any spectacular gems among the unpolished rocks you have hanging about, and so you don’t take the time to sand and polish them.

Perhaps it’s a pride thing: you do have ideas, but you don’t consider them “worthy” of being read by other people. You don’t think your ideas will increase people’s opinion of you. Maybe you’re just too focused on what other people think and what would be right and proper to allow your thoughts to expand and grow unfettered.

Or it could be you’re just too tired to think, and what you really need is a nap, not an idea.

What do you do when you can’t seem to locate a good one? Why, write about it, of course!! :D Welcome to the world of a writer. (Hey, that alliterates!)

[I started off with an “open-ended sentence”– “I wonder…” and that’s what came out of it. Pretty interesting, huh? Let’s try another…]

I question whether… I really have what it takes to become the kind of person I want and need to become. I see glimpses of who I want to be… of the consistent, loving, self-sacrificing, sold-out-to-Christ life I could lead: but I find within myself this awful weakness of… I guess you could call it a lack of perservence, or laziness, or perhaps a combination. I dream very big, and talk (and write) well, and even do some things: but I still feel hollow. I still see so much that is lacking from what I am currently to what I want to be.

I still sense this… wavering inside of me. Something that could, so easily, be discouraged from this path. I fight against it– it feels like a constant battle: but it is still there, nagging, threatening to wreck havoc on my dreams. It scares me.

And I remember, again, that it is not I, but Christ who lives in me. Of course I don’t have what it takes. It is only by His grace that I have come thus far, and only by His grace that I will get safely home. “Not of good that I have done; nothing but the blood of Jesus”

I am so thankful that this all is not dependent on me: that I have a Good Shepherd to lead me on and to bring me back even when I wander!

I hope… that my life will be a bright light in this dark world. I hope that I will remain strong in the Lord, and that He will be able to have full reign in my life. I hope that I will have the faith to accept whatever He sees good for me: that I will fully embrace His calling–both the joy and the pain. I hope that I will run the race with endurance: or rather that He will run it in me; in spite of me. I hope that I will learn to lose sight of me in the awe of who He is. I hope that I will be enabled to be a glorious witness of God’s love and goodness. I guess those things are more than a hope… they are more like a prayer.

I have learned that… God always has a reason. No matter what it looks like from our perspective, He has a grand and glorious design for it. I remember listening to a cassette tape (ha, that makes me sound old, now doesn’t it. Weird!!) on which an older lady told a story in which a lady held up a piece of embroidery so that the children were looking at the wrong side of it… she was saying how beautiful it was, and they were “confused”… it didn’t look very pretty to them. One child (If I remember right… maybe it’s just what I would’ve done? :P ) informed her that it was the wrong side… and she then explained how it was like that in life. We are looking at the “wrong” side: we see all the knots and the colors mixing together with no particular pattern evident: but God sees the other side. He sees the finished project: He knows what the knots and all the different colors are accomplishing.

A personal instance is my acne: at first, of course, I was… well, I wasn’t especially thrilled about it, we’ll just say. Thankfully I never was extremely distraught over it, since I never had placed my full worth in my appearance, and my family never made me feel less because of having it… but I still didn’t really see the blessing of it.

However, now I have begun to appreciate the gift it is. I can’t fully explain all of it… for one thing, it has kept me from being vain or overly focused on how I look. It has helped me to not place my worth on my outward appearance, but rather on who I am: the person God made me to be, the part that will go to heaven.

For another… imagine if you were perfect, inside and out, and someone loved you and said you were beautiful. That would be your just due: your perfection would require that. There would be nothing particularly amazing or special about it. To love a perfect person is easy. To call a perfect person beautiful is easy. Part of the whole beauty of love is that it is in spite of imperfections: real love sees all of the rough spots, in and out, and loves and accepts them. If my beauty was unmarred, I would never be able to have the blessing of being called beautiful anyways, and of having even the imperfections included in that. Somehow, the very thing one would suppose would wreck a compliment makes it all the more special. And that is a blessing.

It also reminds me of how God loves us… how He sees us as beautiful. And He knows all. He sees all the ugliness and sin in me: even the parts I can’t yet see. But He loves me! Oh, glorious truth! And what a responsibility, too. Just as He has loved us, we are to love those around us. So much easier to say than do. Lord, teach me to love.

This one thing: knowing that God has a reason, and that He works things together for good for those who love Him– makes all the difference. It has kept me calm in countless situations, helped me to hold my tongue, to forgive, to gain a lesson instead of a grudge… When something happens that I don’t understand, or that hurts, I do my best to remind myself of these two things:

1. God is good: and He wants me to know Him in His goodness.

2. Therefore, whatever He sees fit to give me is good–whether or not I feel like it is– and I will someday (perhaps soon, and perhaps never in this life) see the blessing and the lesson in it.

This usually takes the form of wondering what God wants to teach me when something hard happens… or of asking myself what I can learn about God through an obvious blessing.

I decided to… stick with and become excellent at writing, instead of… being half-way good at a bunch of things and great at nothing. (Well, that one was short… :D )

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