Journaling – Is It Really That Important?

journaling

I used to journal all the time. In fact, this website was created because of my journaling when I was going through a divorce. That was a long time ago, and I have come a long way. But for the past year, I have stopped journaling. I’ve been telling myself that I am a bad writer and can’t write. Obviously, I’m no John Grisham or but I don’t need to be to journal – neither do you.

I find it baffling how quickly things can change in my life. The last person I remember being was this happy, positive, semi-loving, and sensitive kind of guy. But now I am filled with resentment, fear, selfishness, cold-heartedness…and I think I better stop there or risk passing the point of no return. As I look back over the past year, I find it difficult to see many of the positive points. How can that be? I have a lot of challenges, but my life has never been better.

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What Our Stuff Says About Us

what our stuff says about us

Just because someone lives in a nice house, drives a fancy car, and is up-to-date on the latest fashion doesn’t necessarily mean they are rich. Our society is plagued with a social phenomenon known as the Diderot Effect – the constant dissatisfaction of consumer goods that keeps a person wanting to buy the next best thing. Diderot describes the event this way: One day Diderot was given a gift of a beautiful scarlet dressing gown. Initially, he was pleased with the gown but eventually came to rue it. The rest of his possessions began to seem tawdry when compared to his elegant new dressing gown, and he became dissatisfied that they did not live up to the elegance and style of his new possession. He began to replace everything throughout his house; chairs, desks, tables, prints, plunging him deep into debt.
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Shut Up and Listen!

shut up and listen

At some point in our lives, we go through a phase thinking we know everything there is and the last thing we want to do is take advice. I can remember as a teen my parents having to tell me to shut up and listen from time to time. Of course, I would then try even harder to find fault in their well-intentioned advice. As I matured, I realized that there are times where I do need to shut up and listen. Good advice isn’t a bad thing nor is authority. I took some hard lumps when I was younger because of my stubbornness, but I am grateful that God kept me around this long.

In my 40’s I often wonder if God were standing next to me would He say, “Jason, shut up and listen?” I may not be the rebel I once was, but I have a tendency to be a know-it-all (shocking huh?) and often miss out on a blessing because of my lack of ability to quiet my mind, shut up and listen.
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Stop!

stop

We’re all familiar with the 10 Commandments, and as Christians, we do our best to follow them. Heck, some are pretty easy to follow; thou shall not murder, thou shall not steal, thou shall not lie, etc. But how seriously do we take the 4thcommandment to observe the Sabbath and keep it holy? If there is one Commandment that I’m guilty of not following it’s this one. Keeping busy is just a way of life. I keep busy in pursuit of my dreams, I keep busy to meet my financial goals, I keep busy taking care of my household, and sometimes I keep busy, so I don’t have to experience emotional pain.
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The Power of Life and Death

power of life and death

The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit. Proverbs 18:21

Society has no shortage of disabilities, in fact, some probably shouldn’t be considered a disability. If we were to vote on which new limitations should be added to the list, I think I would have to put my vote in for saying stupid and hurtful things (the inability to control ones’ tongue).

So many people have taken on the role of being a victim they feel powerless to change their lives. I believe this applies to the taming the tongue as well. I know I made many bad decisions in my life and I have said many things I regret. The words we speak affect the lives of others, especially those that are close to us.
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Living a Life Presentable to God

living life presentable to god

It has always been one of my goals to live a life presentable to God, to someday hear God say, “Well done, my good and faithful servant.” But because of the conflict between flesh and spirit, I sometimes feel lucky if I get to hear God say, “Well at least you made it through the pearly gates.”

Living a life presentable to God needs to start somewhere and where that is or how that looks can be different for various people. I think as we grow in faith and move from milk to solids we can better understand what this kind of life looks like. King Solomon did well when he asked God for wisdom, why? Because wisdom gives the ability to see deeply into the past and future allowing people to weigh cause and effect, taking all things into account before reacting.
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Finding Balance in Life

finding balance in life

Maintaining a healthy balance in life can be tricky. It doesn’t take much to throw things out of whack and if not corrected the imbalance can reduce the quality of life and relationships we once had or desire. It is easy to let things begin to slide thinking we’ll get back on track but sometimes it’s easier said than done. New demands push healthy habits to the wayside and before we know it the time used to spend with God is cut in half, workouts are 2 times per week instead of 5, or you don’t have the time to relax with your friends or family like you used to. In essence, this one new demand of your life, whatever it is, has taken control and affected nearly every other area.

I think this happens from time to time, things get out of alignment, but as we feel our way around, we usually discover a new equilibrium. Demands at work can change, family dynamics shift, or our health takes a turn for the worse. Many things can interrupt life’s delicate balance.
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Stop Kicking Against the Goads

stop licking against the goads

Are you stubborn? Known for kicking against the goads from time to time? I know I am, or at least that is what I’ve been told. Change is a critical process that we all are going through every day. Sometimes we make it harder than it needs to be while other times we are flat out in denial anything needs to happen at all. Nevertheless, change will come whether we want it to or not.

The Stages of Change

When it comes to change (which we all love so much) there are five stages a person will go through to make a significant modification to their life. Interestingly enough change begins without you even knowing it. You’ve likely heard the metaphor kicking against the goads. Goads were used to prod livestock forward, and they would kick back at them causing more harm than good.

Would you change how you live your life if you were able to look back on your life when you ignored God or a loved one’s well-intentioned attempt at urging you to take a specific path or action (to stop kicking against the goading) only to find out that if you had listened you would have avoided a load of heartache?
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