How a Journal Theme Saved My Life

I feel like it’s common knowledge that I’m a journalist. That I not only LIKE to journal but that I NEED to journal in order to feel a sense of calm in my life. I think a lot of people truck through blogging and journaling because they think it’s something that they HAVE to do in order to be famous or to be remembered or all other sorts of preposterousness that I have heard.

I started my first journal when I was seven. And it was terrible! LET ME TELL YOU! I was convinced that someday it would be published, like the historical fiction journals I checked out of the library and hungrily consumed like tacos! All I wrote in the journals, every single day, was “woke up at this time. Ate this. Fed the animals. Went to a basketball game. Went to a 4H meeting.”

In reality, my “journal” was just that: a journal. It wasn’t a diary. It wasn’t personal. In fact, it was basically a food journal before those were a big thing! (Man I was on to something at a young age!)

It wasn’t until somewhere between middle school and high school that something clicked. I realized that “growing up” was coming up real quick. There was a lot of politics in high school that I didn’t have at my small farming school K through 8th grade. These politics scared me, I didn’t know how to handle them. The guy I was “hopelessly devoted too” literally asked me to be his girlfriend on a Friday and then came to school Monday dating my best friend. My journal was the solace for me.

In high school, especially near the end, texting was SUCH a big thing! So big, in fact, that I couldn’t keep up with my school schedule, sports schedule, extracurricular, and the small glimpses I got to have of hanging out with my friends, that I didn’t have the time to journal. I had this “awesome” idea where I decided to put all of my texts into a journal. Because if it wasn’t cool enough or important enough to text ONE of my friends, than it wasn’t cool or important enough to go into my journal, right?

That was the first theme to my journal. Other such themes included:

  • “Story of the Viewer” – told from the perspective of someone else watching.
  • “The Pen Pal” – as if I was writing to a long distance friend… yes, I literally created an imaginary best friend.
  • “To My Future Self” – letters to my self for when I was older.

During one challenging year, much older than the high school version of my self who started the yearly themes, I unknowingly made a theme that would change my life. A theme that I still hold today, in a separate journal than my typed version, that is so pure and amazing for my psyche that I can never express to my oblivious younger self how AMAZING my idea was.

The Prompt: Dear God, 365 Letters to God From A Cowgirl

I’ve discussed this before but I really don’t like the word cowgirl, especially in reference to myself. I am not a cowgirl. I try really hard not to claim that title because of the amazing women who I think of when I hear that word that I could never hold a candle too. It may have been more fitting to say, “… From A Lost Soul,” “… From A Prayer Warrior In Need,” and so many other more fitting titles but at the time, I didn’t know how much I needed God in my life.

Throughout this entire year, I faced some of the craziest adversity I have ever even heard  of someone dealing with. I am not perfect, we all make mistakes, but the biggest thing is that my heart broke SO many times. I was just crying out for help and everything seemed to be falling apart.

But every night, or almost every night, as I diligently went forward to write in my journal I would find that I couldn’t write what I would have wrote in years prior. Why? Because I had God’s ear. I was writing a letter directly to Him as if He was my pen pal. If you have God’s ear, I would hope you wouldn’t talk about how close you were to cursing someone to eternal damnation for wronging you. I would hope you wouldn’t tell him all sorts of crazy conspiracies that you feared were happening against you as you tried your hardest to make everyone happy.

Instead, when I had someone who had done something horrible to me, I would write a prayer for them. I would ask God to help them with whatever was going on in their life, to give them guidance, peace and help me, support me, in trying to make life better for them. I felt like I was letting them down, that’s why these people were coming after me. But like with any conflict, the root always lies with communication. Lies, betrayals, so much more were going on, so much so that I couldn’t keep track. I found myself praying that God would just remove me from the situation, that he would help me grow to be the person that I could be.

When it didn’t get better, I wrote something very interesting in my journal. “Dear God, help give me the strength and the wisdom to learn from all that is happening. Help make me a better person and give the courage, the confidence and the mental fortitude to be able to someday help others overcome similar situations. I hope you help me find those who need prayer warriors to assist them with overcoming negativity and personal attacks.”

If it wasn’t for the fact that every night, instead of complaining about the bad, I sat down and I asked for goodness for those that were hurting me, against me and going after me, I found that I was able to maturely overcome the bullies that were picking on me. I was in my early twenties when this happened to me. I can not, for the life of me, imagine being fourteen or fifteen years old and going through something similar. I have been through a lot in my life that prepared me for that moment, for the opportunity to grow, but I don’t think a younger version of myself would have come out on top.

 

Are you a journalist as well? Have you ever tried themes? I am always brainstorming for what to do in the next year so feel free to drop your ideas that you have or have used below! My current year’s journal prompt is “Pedal to the Metal; Don’t stop going 110% until you have too!” 

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