by Jade Lee
I vividly remember a few moments in my dorm room (years ago) when I needed to get all my thoughts out, one was to write a joy list in overcoming the blues, but the other was reading the Psalms. I wasn’t on the path I should have been but hearing David’s vulnerability and authenticity in the Psalms was really comforting to me in my time of weakness, I was experiencing what I have now termed Biblical Healing Journaling. If he could do it, then surely I could freely share what was on my heart, it was like his feelings were equivalent to mine, all I needed was love undeserved, beyond performance.
I have come to find that, like David, we need a way to express our inner lives. Sometimes, this comes out with whoever we can trust, usually our nearest loved ones or friends. But it doesn’t always get expressed in positive ways. I sure have had my moments of trying to express in a healthy way then in quickly goes down hill with a blow up because we are talking about a sensitive topic.
Writing and reading are both very instrumental in creating a stronger self awareness in our lives. And writing can be a way to ease the raw emotions before they are shared with others in anger or the fullness of frustration the shock causes us to feel.
I have always loved writing. It is like second nature to me and was many times much easier than sharing with someone verbally. I wrote short love stories, poems, journal entries and research papers. But all of it was from my deepest place of self. And that’s what I want to help you do, find your deepest sense of who you are then express it in a wholesome way.
When you write you can safely express whatever is on your heart. Over the years as you mature in your voice, you will find that this can become an intricate language depending on who you are, or it may remain profoundly simple.
But combined with Scriptural truth, writing can be used very powerfully to heal our hearts and bring deep joy.
One day I began to realize how to write in a different way. This was the day my writing became my prayer. I noticed that I was going on a passage from deep heart stings, pressures and emotional duress to release, forgiveness and liberation.
As I walked many women through mentorship and intimacy therapy I realized that this could be a great tool to help them accomplish a new state of being, they could live with all the windows on their emotional computer closed and their minds could be free of overload.
I started that day by writing everything that was on my mind when I first woke up, for many people that is when the wrestling match begins…words that you have processed from the day before come back up and you begin to wonder “why did they say that like that?”
For some simply casting down thoughts in general and moving on may work. But I tend to be much more complex. I need to literally see my thoughts in front of me then deal with them one by one. (I can think a lot of thoughts at a time so I need a way to get it all out.)
I noticed that once it was all out on that sweet paper in my journal a sense of peace came over me. And I felt healed!
I wrote vulnerably, free flowing, intricately from the deepest place of self awareness and pain. And my pain became an electrifying tool to release strong emotions, questions, fears, challenges…without being hurtful to the hearer. It became a filter guarding my loved ones from the worlds that only God could handle.
Because rarely are raw emotions digested by the ears of even tender listeners. But seasoned words go down like sweet honey to their open hearts.
Rarely are raw emotions digested by the ears of even tender listeners. But seasoned words go down like sweet honey to their open hearts.
Once all of our words are out, our heart is empty and we sense “the release.” At this point we go through the needed passage from pain to an elevated perspective. We see through the eyes of God- that person, that situation, the words that hurt us.
Suddenly, it’s as if light begins to break through our darkness. We are at the end of a gloomy tunnel.
This is what the Psalmist David, experienced in the lament psalms like Psalm 3:
“A psalm of David, when he fled from Absalom his son.
- O LORD, how many are my foes! Many are rising against me;
- many are saying of my soul, there is no salvation for him in God. Selah
- But you, O LORD, are a shield about me, my glory, and the lifter of my head.
- I cried aloud to the lord, and he answered me from his holy hill. Selah
In this passage David is running away from his son Absalom. If you want to read the story read 2 Samuel 15:13-23. But you may want to read 2 Samuel 14-18 if you want the entire narrative. It is definitely a tear jerker.
Can you imagine running from your own son who wants to kill you? There had to be some serious identity, soul searching emotions happening here. Questions like, What did I did wrong? Why does my own flesh and blood want me dead? must have been combatting David’s warrior heart.
This was not your son or daughter sitting in a counseling office, it was them growing up to want to come after your life.
But notice how David handled it, he wrote down his complaints to God. He shared from the deepest places of his soul, “O LORD, how many are my foes! Many are rising against me; many are saying of my soul, there is no salvation for him in God.”
His reputation was being mocked, he was being chased, his life was on the line and he felt severe levels of rejection. He expressed it freely to God, in a healthy dosage of desperation.
Release the Sting on Paper, Not on a Person
David’s situation was enough to make any marriage fall apart, friendships deteriorate and arguments to spring forth with children. He had a lot to manage and his heart was full of disappointment.
I’ve noticed that when I am in that position I am much more vulnerable to making poor choices and decisions I may live to regret.
When my heart aches because someone gave me harsh criticisms like, “You’re not doing this right.” “I don’t like what you are doing here, the way you minister, how you carry yourself.” Or, “You need to do this…” The sting of those words can pierce my tender heart.
I have also learned that if I don’t deal with the sting, try to keep it moving and forget about it, it will come up later because it is still buried deep without. This can come out in many ways, but we don’t have time to address that in this article.
Journaling is a way to deal with the sting. This is so helpful for anger management.
It has helped me to release the sting on paper instead of on a loved one.
Then I can process the pain. Many times when we feel pain the only words we have to express it are “I feel angry” or “I feel hurt”…”I can’t believe she had the nerve to say that,” “I don’t really feel anything. I could care less. They can’t bother me.”
But if we are going to heal, plus have healthy relationships, we need a more expansive vocabulary to communicate in a way that others can receive.
This is called Finding Your Voice and I will help you do that in our next article.
This is really all about self awareness. Self Awareness is about being in tune with your feelings so that you can express those feelings appropriately to others including challenging upwards, sharing your preferences with peers and lovingly talking to those in your care.
Here are a list of emotions you can bring with you as you do healing journaling:
Using this list of emotions can be very helpful to articulate and even discover for yourself how you really feel about a comment, an action or a behavior of another. It can also help you sort through how you feel about God in a situation or what you are in need of emotionally.
Not having a voice for your feelings oftentimes leads to one emotion: Anger. That can then become passive aggressive (shut down) or aggressive (blow up). Neither are healthy.
When We Hear God’s Voice
After the release in journaling you will being to see the light. This is where it all makes sense. God begins to speak to you. Write down what you hear from Him.
If you need help in hearing His voice asking questions may be a great starting point:
Ask the Question- God is there anything you want me to know?
- How is God using this situation to heal me?
- How is God using this situation to bring something to my attention?
- How is God using this situation to help me grow?
Journal your thoughts and search the Bible for truth.
Through this writing process you will find yourself seeing from a perspective beyond your own thoughts. Maybe you write the psalmist key word, “But”…that is a sign of Transition.
“But God will use this to help others.” “But I can handle this and that’s why I’ve been chosen for this challenge.” “But I know these thoughts aren’t true.” “But I am forgiven.”
When you have all your thoughts on paper you can in a way see yourself as if you are looking from the outside in. You can then medicate your pains with the Word of God. Some phrases may have been initially expressed in your journaling session that you want to revisit:
“I feel like a failure. I’m such a loser. I always mess up. I’m never going to get this right.”
These are trigger phrases to a negative thought pattern, they are signs towards why you may feel sad, depressed or angry.
This is empowering you to get the knowledge and understanding needed to identify the faulty thought processes you are encountering regularly. You can now see the enemy’s lists and course correct these ideas with truth.
God’s Word is the truth we need:
For example if you wrote the thought, “I feel so ashamed.”
The Course Correction is Isaiah 61:7 For my shame I will have double and for confusion I will rejoice or 1 John 1:9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
Finally, like David, you are able to get your Confidence back in the midst of a Really hard, seemingly impossible situation.
And that is the Healing Journaling process.
My Prayer for you: Father, I thank you for every one who reads about this tool you are giving us as Your beloved children. I pray that you will speak to our hearts through your Scriptures when we are in need of Your help. Please give us the boldness to face ourselves, to grace to let go our our shame and the confidence to move forward with strength. Remind us that your mercies are new every morning and You are a very present help in the time of need. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
My Challenge: I want to challenge you to do at least one healing journaling session this week. Start with prayer and then use the 4 C’s based on the Lament Psalm. Focus on Psalm 3 as an example:
- The Complaint- Write down how you feel (Psalm 3:1-2)
- The Conjunction- Write down your “but” statement (Psalm 3:3)
- The Clarity- Write down your newfound Biblical clarity (Psalm 3:3-4)
- The Confidence- Write down the confidence that you now have out of that clarity (Psalm 3:5-8)
I hope you have found this helpful and can use it frequently as another way to do the needed work of inner healing.
If you have any other ideas or questions that center around this concept of healing through writing I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments section. They are Always Welcome!
Be Inspired. Be Encouraged. But Most Importantly…Be Transformed!
In His Love,