Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Transparent Devotion

Not long ago I found myself in a discussion about journaling as a method of spiritual discipline.  One of the men in my class immediately rubbed at the idea of writing honest, uncensored thoughts on a page, leaving the ugly in print; concerned his wife or children would find it one day.

Cultural and generational differences between us, I do understand his point, and there are practical reasons behind his argument.  But there's something deeper at work there.  There's no shame in working out our salvation honestly with God, and no shame in confessed sin unless that sin is treasured, not fully given over.

My heart hurt for him; I'd love to see him free to pour out truth on a page, to get cleaned out, to be able to leave it unashamed on the grace-filled floor.

I wrote this on March 28, 2011:

I feel tired and lonely.  I feel unimportant and unpleasant to be with.  I feel irritable and wasteful, out of control, and turned away from You.  I can't stop on my own.  I am so tense, angry, frustrated, alone- desperate for a fresh, new change.  So alone, so disgusted.  There I am.  Desperate for relief.  I absolutely do not feel fully alive right now, not at all. 
I have a longing, it's not filled.  I know You fill it.  I know You are here, so where are You?  I don't know where I am.  You do.  Just fix it.  Stop the torment, free my mind, my body, my spirit.  My soul is downcast.  Lift up my head. 
I know a lot of things, I feel very little of the truth.  Everything is overboard, in the wrong direction.  You could toss it all over to the other side of lost.  I'm lost in flesh and the world.  Get me lost in all You are.  I'm tied up in knots.  I am a low psalm, I feel no good.  Turn it up.
Over the last two decades, I've archived dozens of journals, and scribbled through stacks of books and Bible studies.  Thousands of pages full of raw, honest vulnerability written just between me and God; but I've always kept them safe.

Someday I'll be gone and they'll stay behind.  My daughters and my son can pore over the pages, read every word.  They'll paint a picture of the everyday working of the Holy Spirit, a mysterious and methodical arc of transformation, shaping me up and cleaning me out. A lifetime of renovation.

I imagine them as adults, tall and mature, their own hands gliding over the pages, and I don't blush.  Grace, Patience, Lily, and Hudson, you can know I wrote them for me, but I saved them for you.  It is a vulnerable, weighty thing, but I want to live an outward life of such transparent devotion that when I'm gone, you will not be surprised to discover that your mother had dark nights of the soul.


Unknown said...

I completely agree Megan. I love to journal, as well. I feel so much closer to the Lord when I do. It gives me clarity and I like refelecting back in my writing to see how God is working in my life, and what Bible verses and passages I am moved by, and how he is molding all the little and big things together. I also love that my journals will be a way for me to still lead Josiah toward a deeper relationship with God when I am no longer here. You are such a neat soul!

Danielle said...

I'm totally with you. What a treasure that would be for me, to find my grandmother's journal. It would actually the most precious thing I'd have. I've been journalling since I was 8 or so. I have many many journals. Some boxed up now (although I'd like to put them in a safer place than the basement). They became more spiritual and deep as I grew and I like to think that they will be a great gift to my kids someday too.