Let It Out…

Let it out / Tiffanyaolson.com

Filled Journals

When I was 15 we moved from Eugene, Oregon to San Diego, California. We had never made a major move before. I met all my friends in elementary school and church so each school switch or camp or event that I went to I always had my friends near and we experienced these new things together. I never had to walk into a room and not know anyone. There was always in any given situation, at least one familiar face.

This all changed when we moved to California and it was a lot harder than I expected it to be. I realized that my outgoing self wasn’t quite as outgoing when I had to do it all alone. I was having a hard time processing all these new feelings and finding the courage to reach out and make new friends. My mom suggested that I try journaling. She said it was a way to get everything out and it was tangible so I could go back and read it and physically see the progress I had made in my new situation. That was the beginning. I have now been journaling for the better part of 30 years.

I wish I could say that all my words on paper were profound and meaningful but I am pretty sure that most of my teenage and college years had pages and pages and pages written about the boys I was interested in and rationalizations as to why they weren’t interested in me. I in fact distinctly remember laying in bed in college with my journal and thinking, “wow if anyone ever reads this, they are going to think I am pretty shallow.” So what did I do? I added in a few lines about the Gulf War which was being waged at that time just so some future reader would know that I had other thoughts in my head besides boys. Yes, it was that pathetic. I kind of want to go find that journal and I kind of don’t … I will keep you posted.

I started journals for both of my kids when I was pregnant with the hope of passing them along when they got older. There are a lot of time gaps at this point but they will know at various seasons of their life what I was thinking and how much I loved them. Having babies and then toddlers put quite a crimp in the personal journaling time so I set it aside for a bit. After Aimee passed away I found myself yet again in a place where I needed to express myself and not let my emotional state take over. So I began anew. These days my journaling is more like praying. I do it in the early morning and I start out each  entry with, “Good Morning, Lord!” I then proceed to pray, share thoughts, fears, things I’m thankful for and just what’s going on in my life in general.

My mind is constantly racing and journaling provides calmness and sanity to all that is running around in my brain. Once I get it all out on paper I feel relieved and unburdened. It doesn’t change my circumstances but rather helps me find some perspective in the midst of them. Journaling isn’t for everyone, but if  you find yourself in a place where you need clarity let me offer up some reasons to pick up a pen and let it all out.

Let it out - Tiffanyaolson.com

Journals yet to be filled…

Writing things down keeps you focused. When you are writing it’s hard for your mind to wander. Writing keeps your mind on the task at hand and allows you to stay with one thought until you have completed it. I don’t know about you but when I am praying my mind tends to wander into a million different places like what I’m going to make for dinner or my kid’s school project or the argument I got into with a family member. When I am writing all of those other distractions stay at bay and I get out on paper the stuff that really matters.

Writing things down helps you remember. This is a trick that I learned in college, yes I am a slow learner. I did so much better in all of my classes if I took notes. I find that things truly go in one ear and out the other unless I write it down. Even if I lose the slips of paper I can recall myself writing and remember better what was said than if I was just depending on my original hearing. With personal things or events in my life, its nice to go back and reflect on what was, what is and what will hopefully be. I reread parts of the journal I started when I was pregnant with Natalie. It was such a joy to be reminded of that truly special time in our lives. I also found the afore mentioned college journal. Let’s just say that I am glad to be reminded that I am not that person anymore and how much God has changed me since then and that I do not ever want to go back to those days.

Writing things down provides perspective. When things are left to just rattle around in your brain, life and all of its struggles seem so much bigger. When I got diagnosed with cancer one of the things that everyone suggested was to journal. I was glad that this was already a part of my life because there are just some thoughts, feelings, fears and struggles that are just too difficult to utter to another human being. Writing it all down helped me to breathe and unload some of the burdens I was carrying. Once on paper the mountains you are facing can be broken down more easily into steps that you are taking to get to the top.

I am thankful for all those books that I have filled and I am excited about the ones yet to come. My journals depict who I am in ways that nothing else can. The good the bad and the ugly, its all in there. I’m glad that God can handle it because I truly don’t think anyone else could.

What about you? Do you journal and if you do do you have a specific way to do it or is it more random like me?

Have a great day, All!

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  1. Sandy Mitts says

    Tiff, when I started journaling, I used shorthand I had learned in high school. I didn’t want anyone to be able to read it.. Sort of like a lock on a Diary. But then I thought, how will anyone know what has gone on in my life if they can’t read shorthand. How can I leave a lasting legacy if no one knows? Therefore came my prayer journals. Thanks for sharing Tiff. You know what I’m doing.

  2. Journaling my prayers helps me stay awake during prayer! 🙂 But like you it helps me focus in on what I need to talk to God about. Journaling also helps me figure things out, by writing about what is going on and how I’m feeling I start to discover patterns and sometimes even figure out things about myself. I’m not as consistent as I would like but try to write at least a little in my journal every day.

    Nice collection of journals and what a great mug! 😉

  3. Muriel Proett says

    Hi Tiffany wanted to let you know I an doing a lot better, getting the mussels in the back of my legs to stop hurting form going to PT only have 2 more apt. Been a long road, not as long as yours was. I pray you are feeling 100 present better then the last time we talked, which has been a long time. You have always been in my prayers, you take care and your family, in Christ Love Muriel

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