Gustave Flaubert said,
The art of writing is the art of discovering what you believe.
I have found this to be quite true!
In the early nineties I experienced one of the hardest periods of my life. During this time I wrote so much that my hand stayed in a perpetual cramp (no laptops back then!). I had a student teacher at that time who was wonderful with my class. She needed time without my supervision , so I would scoot out and take writing breaks. My brain was so full of turmoil, loss, grief, betrayal, and confusion that I don’t think I would have been an effective teacher. I know how blessed my class and I were to have her.
I filled several 1,000-page journals with my rampaging thoughts. There wasn’t anyone I could talk to. So my journal (and, inadvertently, God) became my listener.
Haven’t you found that if you can talk to a good friend who is a great listener, you usually talk out your real feelings about things? That’s what happened when I used a journal to pour my feelings into. I’d discover things about myself and allow God to give me wisdom and perspective.
Now, believe me, all of my writing wasn’t so lofty and full of good purpose! As a person who’d never been allowed to voice anger, I finally did so in my journal. In fact, I uttered my first swear words on those pages! I wrote in big, scrawling letters, vocalizing on those safe pages all the anger and hurt I felt. I called people names. I even yelled at God!! And you know what? Lightning didn’t strike!
I needed a place to get through the layers that had built up in my life. And the walls that had enclosed my heart. I needed to understand my conditioned responses and their causes. I needed a place to cry and vent. I needed to record all the awful things that were happening so that later I could read them and know I wasn’t crazy!
Writing didn’t change my situation, but writing as I felt, instead of worrying about it being acceptable–to God or anyone–gave me a freedom I’d not had before. My crying out to God and allowing Him to soften my heart brought healing. I felt extremely vulnerable, but bit by precious bit I was able to survive. I seriously believe I would have gone into a deep, deep depression or even a breakdown if I hadn’t been processing through writing during those months.
Because, you see, I need to vocalize in order to process. My brain gets so full and confusing that I can’t make sense of the things I need to. Are any of you this way? Not having a trustworthy friend to talk to (part of the loss) and not wanting to share what was going on with people outside of the situation (my sense of loyalty) caused me to be stuck.
Getting the swirling thoughts out of my head and onto paper gave me space to breathe, think, and live. Journaling helped me mentally, even though I was still broken emotionally, and allowed me to continue to function. And eventually, as I wrote, prayed, and studied, God was able to speak to me on those pages, and His healing came.
Does any of this resonate with you? Do any of you process through writing? I’d love to hear about it.
Stay tuned for part two of “Why Write?”
Much love and big hugs,
Psalm 51:6 “You teach me wisdom in my inmost being.”
James 1:5 “If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.”