Can Prayer Journaling Make You a More Resilient Christian?

“Oh! You’re not Perfect!”

Sometimes we want stronger spiritual lives, but we don’t know how to get there.  I know one thing that has helped me in the past has been prayer journaling.  It’s always helped me to stay focused and have a closer relationship with God.  I was reviewing a journal a while back and it struck me that the key to a closer relationship with God is authenticity.  Sometimes as Christians, we lack authenticity.  We need to be more honest about where we are in our relationship with God.  Be vulnerable.  Not only would it help us grow, but I’m sure it would let everyone breathe a collective sigh of relief, “Oh!  You’re not perfect.”  Most importantly, it would put us in the place to get closer to God when we’re honest with Him about where we really stand.

Long, Flowy, White-Girl Hair

Let me tell you, when I was little girl, I wanted so badly to have long, flowy, white-girl hair.  I remember there were mostly black girls in my class, and there was one white girl with strawberry blond hair.  I’d sometimes want to touch it just to see how it felt.  I’d tug on my hair, parted into six sections with barrettes on it, longing for it to hang long and pretty.  I remember looking in the mirror and picturing myself with that hair – long and flowy – white-girl hair.  My mom knew about my longing.  Every time I went to the hairdresser, especially if I was dropped off and my mom wasn’t there, I’d ask them to let my hair hang, instead of putting it up in a ponytail or curls.  I’d swear up and down to the hairdresser my mom had said I could wear it that way.  Sometimes, they’d call my mom to check and make sure.  (she never, ever said that!).  My mom told me, one day, while sensing my longing that if I had that kind of hair, I’d flip my hair and twist and turn my head.  Nobody would be able to stand being around me! (she was probably right)

Sometimes that’s how we are as Christians.  So busy being “perfect” that no one can stand being around us!

Matthew 6: 1-4 in the Message Bible is as clear as clear can be on this topic:

Be especially careful when you are trying to be good so that you don’t make a performance out of it. It might be good theater, but the God who made you won’t be applauding.

2-4 “When you do something for someone else, don’t call attention to yourself. You’ve seen them in action, I’m sure—‘playactors’ I call them—treating prayer meeting and street corner alike as a stage, acting compassionate as long as someone is watching, playing to the crowds.

They get applause, true, but that’s all they get. When you help someone out, don’t think about how it looks. Just do it—quietly and unobtrusively. That is the way your God, who conceived you in love, working behind the scenes, helps you out.

Matthew 6: 1-4

Being authentic, helps other people know that the people around them are going through their own struggles.  A resilient Christian pushes through.  It’s really about pushing through.  It’s about hanging on to your relationship with God — making it a priority.  Never letting go.  There are probably many things in your life you’ve wanted and you’ve had to fight for them.  The same is true in our relationship with God.  We have to make an effort

In one of my journals I wrote, “God, I don’t want to stop talking to you because things aren’t going my way.  You’re still God; you’re still worthy to be praised.

I want to pray Ezekiel 36:26 for myself.  Give me a heart that soft and open to hearing you.  I’m not who I need to be.  I’m a fraud, a fake, a phony. I need to be more like you.  I’m walking through the darkness and trying not to let go.”

Measuring Our Height Against the Wall

When you were a kid, did your parents measure how much you’d grown against the wall?  It’s so exciting to see how much we’re progressing month-by-month and year-by-year.  Journalling is the spiritual version of making marks on the wall.  We look back and see we’ve grown and become more resilient Christians.  Do you prayer journal?  Does it work for you?  I’d love to hear from you!

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