Friday, January 9, 2015

Reflections From the Past

Most people who know me will have at one point or another discovered that I am a journal keeper.

Now, let us get a couple of pesky definitions out of the way. Technically I suppose I actually keep a diary, because it's a "my-eyes-only" (save the rare occasion that I share an entry), deeply reflective and introspective account of my thoughts during the day, conversations I had, and things that I read. The word diary has such a feminine connotation to it that I have decided, in keeping with the title of this blog and despite the fact that it is technically more accurate, that I will allow the ladies to claim this word as their own, and I shall stick to journaling.

Anyway, I have pondered from time to time just why I keep this record of my life. I didn't used to always be like this you know. I have tried to keep a journal a number of times, but each time my efforts proved futile, and each time I eventually simply stopped writing. But in 2013 I started writing again, usually about once a week and kept at it. Maybe because my life was more interesting, and I had more to write about. Either way, at the turn of the new year I decided to try journaling every day for a month. I enjoyed that so much (and actually found things to write about each day) that I've continued doing so, rarely missing a day (and if I do, I always go back and attempt to reconstruct it.)

But my why is something that I think about, particularly since I so often cringe when going over my old entries. Why do I do this thing which it seems has only one purpose: to enshrine in history how immature I used to be. And far greater is my consternation when I think of others examining my innermost thoughts at some later date! But now, friend and reader, if you've stuck with me in my meandering thoughts for this long, I've finally arrived at the inspiration for this little journey of self reflection. It was a quote I discovered on my equally meandrous ventures on the internet about journaling.
“We are well advised to keep on nodding terms with the people we used to be, whether we find them attractive company or not.” ~Joan Didion 
I know that for most of us (or perhaps I'm the only one, but I think not) looking back on who we used to be, "whether we find them attractive company or not," usually results in feelings of embarrassment that we once were the way we were. But I think this embarrassment is the wrong attitude to have towards our past. Who we once were should be a constant reminder of all that the Holy Spirit has wrought in our lives.

Looking back on our past, regardless of how vile, repulsive, or objectionable it is, should drive us ever further into our Father's arms, and cause an ever greater gratitude to well up inside us  for the saving work of Christ. So in this sense, my journal really serves as a record of the Holy Spirit's redeeming work in me. A log book of how I've changed over the years through His grace. It's also a mortifying reminder of who I once was, indeed would still be, were it not for the work of my Savior on the Cross. Praise God for His kindness and grace towards a sinner like me!

~Paul

P.S. I know I didn't really get to my why, just my what. So maybe I'll go more in depth on my why at a later date. We'll see.

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