Stacking Stones: Throwing Away Old Journals

Stacking Stones: Throwing Away Old Journals

Stacking Stones: Throwing Away Old Journals

This week I decided to declutter and organize. I filled my car with old clothes, gadgets, household items, electronics, etc. and dropped them off to charity. Meanwhile, I found my old journals. Reading them nauseates me, because I’ve changed so much over the past few years. My worldview and attitude are so remarkably different, if these pages were not in my own handwriting, and if I didn’t have the accompanying memory of writing them, I would think they were written by someone else — someone regularly discontent, worried, and entirely too invested in the success of an organization called the institutional church.

It’s not all bad, though. There are accounts of some good relationships, some Spirit-inspired prayers, and some funny or meaningful stories. I guess that’s why I haven’t already thrown my old journals away. However, I did come up with a plan that will enable me to rid myself of some old emotional junk without losing what is of value: I’m going transfer anything worth keeping into this website in a series called Stacking Stones.

In scripture, stone-stacking happened for two reasons, to mark boundaries or as a memory or reminder of something. I’m not marking boundaries. I’m remembering who I used to be and reminding myself of how faithful God is, even when my communication with Him is so stupid, selfish, and meaningless sometimes. I’m also very grateful that it isn’t all bad. That I’ve collected quite a few spiritual gems along the way that I can place at the foot of His throne.

I randomly picked a journal. Page one is dated August 9, 2008. It’s a two-page prayer for someone I’ll call XXXXX who seems to be making decisions out of fear of losing possessions, power, and influence. I quote a lot of scripture in the prayer. For example, I write,

Someone who is without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he can’t understand them, because they are spiritually discerned.

I quote this particular scripture in the hopes that God will open XXXXX’s eyes to what’s really going on. My major point of frustration in this prayer is, XXXXX professes to have the Spirit of God, yet XXXXX keeps making decisions out of fear or making not-so-good decisions and then expecting God to bless the outcome.

I didn’t realize then, but I realize now, that even though this prayer is entirely about and for someone else, the urgency and length of the prayer is based in my own fear that XXXXX’s decisions will have a negative impact in other’s lives, including my own. It turns out I was praying with a log in my eye, because many of my decisions at that time were also fear-based. God answered that prayer as He does with so many other prayers: “Wait.” I could say He answered with “No,” but I know that eventually spiritual discernment is something everyone will have, when God is all in all.

It’s also noteworthy that although my fears shortly come to fruition, God is and will continue to bring greater good out of a bad situation than if the whole thing were avoided through an immediate, affirmative answer to my prayer.

God does things in His own time and His own way. Maybe our prayers will have an impact on His time and way. Maybe not. The point is to talk to God, especially about fear, but in doing so, to give the fear over to God and then carry on knowing He’s got things under control. Even when the $&%! is about to hit the fan. Even then.

Two pages in the trash. A few thousand more to go…

  • Mary Vanderplas December 29, 2014 at 5:13 am

    I like what you say by way of urging us to give our worries and fears to God, trusting that he will work out his good purposes for us and for others in his time and his way. And I agree that while we may wish for God to respond to our pleas by intervening to prevent bad things from happening, it seems that most often he works in and through the bad things to bring about his ends. I like what you say about the incongruity of claiming to live by the Spirit while demonstrating an anxious, self-seeking trust in possessions and power. And I appreciate your admission of having demonstrated a self-protecting concern yourself in your prayers for this person.

    I like your plan of creating a blog series based on (selected) experiences and insights from your old journals. I look forward to reading “Stacking Stones” – and being inspired by the insights you share as well as encouraged to reflect on God’s presence and faithfulness in my own journey.

  • Lanny A. Eichert December 29, 2014 at 5:08 pm

    Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity. {Matthew 7: 21 – 23}

    Alice, you don’t even keep the Lord’s Supper with a local congregation. Jesus’ words to you are, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity. {Matthew 7: 23}

    Face the reality of your own conduct. Your actions speak louder than your words.

  • Decluttering - January 6, 2015 at 11:17 pm

    […] something about the new year that makes me want to declutter. I mentioned in a previous blog post that I’m throwing away my journals (a few pages at a time). In addition, Tim and I got rid of […]

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