Coffee, a pen, and a journal. But is this really a spiritual practice?
Well, for me it is. As an undergraduate student at Nyack College, I learned the spiritual value of journaling. Drs. Ron and Wanda Walborn required each of their ministry students to do a grief journal during the semester. We had to think back as far as we could and begin to write about and process our life journey so far as we give space for Jesus to heal us. I had to think of things that hurt me that I didn’t realize still affected me even in my young adulthood. But the truth is, it did. And I didn’t know how much healing I would experience until I finally grieved it.
A moment of transparency if I may…
I can recall being in 8th grade and having a crush on a young man who was in the 10th grade. We will call him Levi. Although I’d struggled with low self-esteem for much of my life up until college, I thought that maybe this could be different. And boy was I WRONG. All of Levi’s friends found out that I had a crush on him and they, in turn, harassed me daily! Pointing their fingers of accusation, they taunted me saying, “Janiece likes Leeeevi!” As if it wasn’t okay for someone like me to like someone like him. It angered me!
Why couldn’t I like Levi? What was wrong with me that my affections deserved to be laughed at and mocked?
What I didn’t know is that the message that was communicated to me through their cruel and uninformed adolescent behavior was that my affections were bad. It said that I don’t deserve to love and that nobody would even want my love. This false idea stayed with me into adulthood so much so that I despised having feelings for anyone after that. Why? Because I believed in my mind that he wouldn’t want my love anyway so why go through the motions?
I’m sure at this point you’re wondering what this has to do with coffee, a pen, and a journal as a spiritual practice. If so…be cool. I’m getting there!
It wasn’t until I was required to face the memory in the form of journaling that I even realized that I was subconsciously living into the lie that was communicated to me back in 8th grade. There was something about purging the memory onto paper that made me feel better.
Journaling made me face it. Journaling made me free.
Now, at this point in my life, I view journaling, accompanied by my trusted cup of coffee (blonde roast to be exact), to be my practice of healing. Healing is Spiritual because God is present whenever we allow the Holy Spirit to empty us of the lies that we’ve coveted as our own and to fill us with truth and Divine love.
To be sure, journaling does not replace counseling…but it’s a darn good accompaniment.