We write things down so we remember them, right? Lists and reminders, notes on the calendar, Post-it’s on the bathroom mirror or dashboard. In fact, sometimes, those little words and phrases are the only things keeping us on our toes and out of trouble.
Many of us also write at greater length in journals and diaries. For me, consistent journaling and reflection has been in the format of the Examen, a series of five reflective questions and three prayers looking forward. (Here’s the link to basic information, if you’re interested.)
In order for these lists and reminders to be effective, however, we must revisit them and actually do something about what we wrote.
It occurred to me this morning that I seldom do that. Only rarely do I go back into the hand-written pages of my journal and read about what was important a month or year ago, comparing last week’s gratitude list to today’s, excited by what prayers had been answered and intrigued by those still germinating and those which now seem silly or selfish.
So I went back exactly one year. And my response to the Examen prompt Choose one feature of the day and pray from it was a bit unsettling.
Dear Jesus – why is it so hard to speak to those we love about You? I don’t think it’s because I’m ashamed of my faith or of You.
It’s just they may not share my feelings. And then there will be a divide we can’t ignore or forget.
They said “no” to me and to You.
Maybe they wouldn’t let it bother them. But it would bother me.
And then I won’t know what to say even more.
Please don’t let that stop me. What could be more important?
Nothing. At ALL.
Good golly, Miss Molly and darn it.
I wish I could report that I read those words with feelings of satisfaction and happiness, a sense of accomplishment and gratitude. I wish I could tell you about times I got brave and about how I now share a faith and the promise of Heaven with many more of those closest to me.
But I can’t.
I wish I could ask you to join me in prayer because I’ve intentionally planted the seed, as us Believers say, regularly and boldly speaking to friends and family of Jesus’ life, death and resurrection. About how they now know the truth of His remarkable sacrifice.
But I can’t.
No, I haven’t followed through with conviction and frequency on those thoughts. My true and heartfelt prayer has not been miraculously answered with a renewed sense of boldness and urgency. Nope.
But the fact that I was prompted to look back on this very day and read those very words give me renewed hope. God the Father is still taking care of things and in control.
Do I let Him do everything He wants to through me? Do I remain consistently open to and aware of His voice? Do I make myself available and willing even when the going gets dicey or difficult?
Not always. In fact sometimes I’m pretty contrary. I try to figure it out by myself, confident that I have a better way. I often pick and choose what I’m going to do for the Kingdom and let other people do the hard stuff because, after all, those are their gifts. That’s what God has called them to do.
My lovelies, we all know that’s not how it works. Jesus didn’t mince words about this either:
- “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation.” Mark 16:15
- “Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.” John 20:21
In other words, giddy-up! He couldn’t have been more clear.
So today, I’m placing that journal entry, open and visible, on my desk – and I’m going to leave it there as I pray for more boldness and less comfort. Good golly Miss Molly!
As always, I have no idea about how this will turn out. I do know, however, that it’s never too late to reclaim the lives God designed for us, whether we write it down or not.