The Journal

by Rhonda, July 30, 2022

Its a Saturday morning.  How I love the weekend.  They're always full of promise for me.  The calendar is empty, I can fill it with whatever I want.  

This weekend, my brother is having a birthday party at my house, which will be fun.  There will be lots of kids, family, and even pets.  Our family is particularly attached to our dogs, so we bring them to each other's houses when we get together.  We're weird like that.  We also bring food everywhere we go, so everyone is going to show up with a casserole of some sort, I'm sure.

While all of this is wonderful, and I am tremendously blessed to have family nearby, sometimes being a quiet introvert makes things like this challenging.  If I am not in the right frame of mind, it will become very stressful for me.  I'll worry about whether the house is okay, whether the dogs are going to fight, whether I've got enough ice for everyone.  I will be overwhelmed by the noise, and I'll want to retreat to a place of quiet and solace.

I really don't like that aspect of my personality, but its how I function, and I'm learning as I get older to accept and embrace how God created me.  I can tend to be a loner, and I love quiet.  Loud parties can be fun for me for a little while, but it will never be my lifestyle.

So first, before all of the chaos, I am on the back porch.  Cup of coffee in-hand, dogs laying by my side, I just need my morning with Jesus.  I'm watching the birds this morning.  Listening to the quiet.  God's been teaching me lately about the need for mental breaks, as well as physical breaks.  It is hard to feel rested when your mind cannot quit.  

I've been asking Him lately, God, when my mind is overwhelmed and I can't stop thinking about the same problem over and over, how can I quit?  His answer is always the same.  Think of Me.

The problem is when I don't spend time with Him, that's really difficult.  I don't have a lot to think about.  That's why my journal has been necessary for me.  I am a real believer in Dr. Caroline Leaf's Five Step program for anxiety.  I've modified it a bit to work for me, but I've been working to make sure I do all of the steps at least once a day.  I've been filling journals with the things I write down during Five Steps.

When I find myself stuck, unable to give my mind rest, I reach for my journal to reflect on the things I know to be true.  When I look at my journal, I find a few surprises.  I tend to get stuck in the exact same pattern of worry and stress, over and over.  It may be a different problem, but my fears are the same.  Fear of what others think.  Fear of failure.  Fear of making bad decision.

Part of my process during Five Steps is to record my wrong thought patterns, and correct them with God's truths.  It is a helpful process to me, and reflecting back through my journal, I can see God's truth repeating itself to me over and over.  

I am with you.

Isaiah 41:10  "So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

I will not leave you.

Deuteronomy 31:6 Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.

I love you.

Jeremiah 31:3 The Lord appeared to us in the past, saying: I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with unfailing kindness.

Really, the Bible is one gigantic love story to us.  When I think about my life, and the ways God has shown these things to be true, my problems don't seem so important anymore.  He is truly faithful, without wavering.  Whatever I am facing, He will handle.

My job is to keep believing, stay faithful, and yes, enjoy my life.

That's a job I can handle.

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