Finding Truth in Old Journals

I’ve been spending the past few months cleaning out my old room. I like to think I keep things simple an organized, but the truth is, I’m a pack rat who keeps just about everything.

Just before moving last year, I purged all my magazines. I had several that were more than 20 years old, and hundreds that I had from 5 to 15 years.

Anyway, magazines shouldn’t be a problem because I no longer buy them. The journals, on the other hand, are another story. I have at least 50, and many are either unused or half full. I recently found one from 2012 with ‘Brilliant Ideas’ on the cover. (I bought it specifically for that label)

I looked through it, and found something I wrote to myself, 4 years ago, about faith. After going through a difficult winter semester that included illness, anxiety, and stress, my faith was waning.
It’s one thing to know that God is at work in my life. It’s another to believe He is. I allowed my external circumstances to determine my spiritual condition, and I didn’t know what to do to change it.

I didn’t know that part of answer was in the journal. My past self, reaching out to my current self and telling her to stay the course.
The entry reads:

Last week, I decided that I am definitely not the type of person who wants just enough faith for the journey. I also want enough strength to take down anything that dares to get between me and my future. I don’t want to coast through a mediocre life. I want to live well. I want to fight passionately for the principles in which I believe. I want to fail miserably, and still keep trying. I want to be honest, vulnerable, and most of all, authentic.
I want to experience everything life has to offer me–even the difficulty –because going through trials is what teaches me the most.
I wasn’t born to be just average. I was born to be great. From today forward, I will work to achieve greatness in everything I do. I cannot be defeated, and I will not quit.


I don’t remember what was going on in my life when I wrote this, but I’m thankful I did because it was the kick in the butt I needed to move forward. There will be times in our lives when we feel uncertain, or alone, no matter how many people are there to offer us support.
I had to remind myself that these feelings aren’t new, and they will pass.

All it took was prayer and an old journal.

Regards,

Erin

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I Don’t Have A Catchy Title For Monday Posts

 

I requested today off of work because I had some important family business to attend to. It all turned out really well, (All thanks to God!) and I spent the rest of the day “window shopping” (which meant that I actually bought a new purse and a snazzy eye shadow palette. Note:I always end up buying all of my gifts early and spending the money I’ve saved on myself. Every single year) On the way home, I began thinking about forgiveness. The last couple of years have been trying ones for everyone in my family. It seemed as though we were perpetually taking one step forward, and 3 steps back. The situation was beyond our control, but thankfully, that’s where our faith filled in the gap.

Whenever we became discouraged, something would happen to give us hope. We learned not to look to our outward condition to give us an accurate picture because it changed by the week. Instead, we grew to count on our faith in God, something that has never failed us. All of us had plenty of opportunities to allow bitterness to rule us, and it was definitely warranted. But, holding onto resentment would not have made any difference in the outcome. It would have altered us in destructive ways. In order for us to gain clarity, we had to treat everyone involved with a measure of respect. Even the people who least deserved it. I honestly believe that once we changed how we saw the situation, we were better equipped to handle it. (Plus, some wise counsel helps :D)

Choosing forgiveness freed us from focusing on the past. Yesterday, my pastor said in his sermon that our past is meant to be a place of reference, not residence. We could look back and see every false step we made, but we didn’t camp out and live there. Learning from our mistakes gave us the momentum to advance, and conquer the obstacle that was placed in our way. I am grateful for all of the adversity I have had to face, either with my family, or by myself because it has given me the opportunity to learn something I would not have experienced otherwise. What was meant to break us actually ended up bonding us closer together. ¬†While I was going through the difficult times, my favourite verse was this one: “Our suffering is light and temporary and is producing for us an eternal glory that is greater than anything we can imagine.”

I took comfort in the fact that hard times do not last forever. Eventually, the clouds will part. The sun will rise, and there may even be a rainbow, but first you have to believe it’s possible.

I think I’ll call future posts “Maudlin Monday” ūüėÜ

Peace,

Erin

I’m Not in Charge (And That’s Okay)

Every¬†so¬†often, something¬†happens¬†in¬†life¬†that¬†reminds¬†me that we are not in¬†control¬†of our¬†circumstances. We¬†have¬†lots¬†of things that¬†give¬†us the¬†illusion¬†of¬†control, but¬†ultimately¬†we all¬†fall¬†prey¬†to¬†time¬†and¬†chance. Sometimes¬†life¬†is¬†great, sometimes it isn’t, and there’s¬†nothing¬†we can¬†do¬†about it. I’ve¬†gotten¬†better¬†at¬†accepting¬†the fact that¬†life¬†isn’t¬†always¬†going¬†to¬†go¬†my¬†way.¬†However, there are¬†still¬†moments¬†when I¬†ask¬†“Why me?” as though I’m¬†exempt¬†from¬†disappointment¬†and¬†suffering. I¬†have¬†already¬†experienced¬†my¬†share¬†of¬†discouragement and¬†loss, and it isn’t¬†going¬†to¬†end¬†anytime¬†soon. On the¬†other¬†hand, I¬†have¬†also¬†experienced¬†moments¬†of¬†pure,¬†unadulterated¬†joy,¬†peace, and¬†love.
I could choose to focus on all of the misfortune, but where would that get me?

“We¬†don’t¬†see¬†things as they are, we¬†see¬†them as we are.” –Anais Nin.

If my¬†perspective¬†of the¬†world¬†is a¬†poor¬†one, what¬†does¬†that¬†say¬†about me? In my¬†heart¬†of¬†hearts, I am an¬†idealist. I¬†always¬†look¬†for the¬†best¬†qualities¬†in¬†people, and in some¬†instances¬†this¬†point¬†of¬†view¬†has¬†led¬†to my¬†being¬†disappointed, and heartbroken. Yet I¬†don’t¬†allow¬†discouraging¬†circumstances¬†to¬†change¬†me.

One of my¬†favourite¬†bible¬†verses¬†is Proverbs 27:19 “As¬†water¬†reflects¬†a¬†face, so a¬†man’s¬†heart¬†reflects¬†the¬†man.”

My¬†heart¬†is¬†still¬†strong,¬†loving, and¬†eager¬†to¬†embrace¬†what¬†life¬†has to¬†offer. If it’s¬†positive, I will¬†accept¬†it¬†joyfully. If it’s¬†negative¬†I will¬†take¬†the¬†time¬†to¬†examine¬†what–if anything–went¬†wrong, and how the¬†situation¬†could be¬†improved.

I believe that gratitude is the antidote to complaining, because a grateful heart is too full to find fault.

This¬†week¬†there¬†was¬†a¬†tragic¬†loss¬†in my¬†extended¬†family. It has¬†cast¬†a¬†shadow, but the¬†good¬†news¬†is that¬†shadows¬†are¬†perceptible¬†evidence¬†that there’s a¬†light¬†source¬†somewhere. I¬†pray¬†that I¬†never¬†stop¬†looking toward the light.

I may not be able to control what happens to me, but I can choose how to respond. Even in the midst of sorrow, joy is a better option.

Blessings,

Erie