Deepest Fears Spill Out

For a long time, I’ve promoted the act/discipline/therapy of journaling. Life journals, and particularly thanks journals. Because I maintain that getting something out, something that’s churning inside you, isn’t as big or scary or impossible when it’s  outside of you and you can look at it and see it for what it is.

This was confirmed recently when talking with a friend who had gone through a debilitating mental breakdown. In the process of healing, which included the strong support of her family, and a Christian counsellor, she said with a little grimace, “And I had to write alot.”  It was obvious that the therapy helped, and she admitted it even though it hadn’t been fun at the time.

Not everyone can write easily or well, but in a journal, that doesn’t matter. You should still write. Even in single words punctuated by dashes and not complete sentences and paragraphs, if that makes it easier for you.

Not long ago, I was processing some issues by journalling. There were things roiling inside me, and I wasn’t able to verbalize them, let alone make sense of them, but suddenly, as I wrote,  my current deepest fears went spilling on onto the page, and then I thought “That’s it! That’s what’s bothering me.” I felt so relieved to have a name for it.

Sometimes the truth of the words doesn’t compute with me until I re-read them a week later. But often it happens as they tumble out. You hear yourself say it, it’s a form of self-talk, and it helps. A lot.

Try it!

And no, you didn’t really think I was going to tell the cyber world about my deepest fears, did you?

6 thoughts on “Deepest Fears Spill Out

  1. I wish I had time to journal. Perhaps some of us women lose out during the “hungry years” the years when life is controlled by little children and trying to just survive (i.e. stretching the money to put enough food on the table). We get mired into emotional issues because there simply is not enough time or space to deal with our own stuff. Mom’s spiritual and emotional life gets put to the side. Ever been in a Sunday school class with mainly young mothers? They can’t contribute or receive because they are leaving to nurse, settle discipline issues, etc. Sometimes it depends on the husband, some men are good at sensing their wife’s needs for a break, many are not.

    Some might argue that it is a choice. But for many of us, we do not have space for choices: we are just trying to keep our eyes open.

    This is not primarily my own experience (Matt gives me “me time” periodically), but I see it all around me. A young mother has little control over her time — that is dictated by others.

    I agree totally that journalling is important. But when everyone is sick (read: one child after the next all winter), no one is sleeping well, and you cannot even pick up the Word without being interrupted by a child, journalling is a distant dream. Journalling is a luxury that we would like to change to a commonplace, but cannot think straight enough to reason how to do it.

    • Thanks for your feedback, Tamar. I can see that my necessity is your luxury, and I respect that completely. You’re right in that mothers have little control over their time–I see it but have not lived it. Makes me wonder if maybe this is a line between singles and mothers. We singles have no one so close to process things with, to verbalize to, as women in healthy marriages do. But maybe I’m romanticizing the dailiness of marriage!
      Thanks for being a voice for young mothers. I hear you, and back you up and admire you hugely.

    • I am a mother of two and one of my deepest fears is that I will wear out and not have enough. Enough time to stay emotionally alive. Enough energy to care about my children and husband and friends as people, not just as objects to manage in a nearly unmanageable life.

      I am not there now, but I know many mothers have much more on their plate than I do and I am quite sure I couldn’t handle gracefully all that they have to do. For those of us who aren’t there, I think we need the courage and love to come along side those who feel overwhelmed and numbed by life and at least care and be willing to talk and listen and pray with them in this season so when they come out the other side there will be enough left of them to be truly alive.

  2. I am very frustrated right now because there is REAMS and MONTHS of stuff that I’m needing to process and capture in my journal, but it’s not happening. Grrrrr.

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