I’ve written before about the importance of knowing yourself, and how journaling can be a big part of that process. But what if you’ve never journaled before? What if you don’t think of yourself as a “writer”? The whole process can be intimidating if you’re new to journaling, so here are some prompts to help you get started.
Remember: there’s no right or wrong when it comes to journaling. It’s just a place to note down your thoughts, feelings, ideas, and everyday life happenings. You may naturally want to focus more on one than the other: that’s fine! Journaling is the kind of practice you grow into over time, so start with writing what’s easiest for you to write. There will be seasons of plenty, where you’ll be filling page after page, and seasons where it’ll be difficult to scratch out more than a few lines. Stick with it, and you’ll be able to look back and see the fruit.
(Learn to Discern, Principle #12)
Most of us, at one time or another, have found ourselves caught in the loop of wondering: is God speaking to me? Am I hearing correctly? Or am I hearing only what I want to hear? How do I know if I’m actually open to what God has to say?
Part I considered how our openness to God isn’t necessarily tied to any particular emotional feeling, but rather has to be understood in the context of our lives as a whole. How we live indicates how much weight our deeper desires should carry in the process of our discernment which unfolds in conversation with God.
The question “am I truly open to hearing God?” can only be answered in light of the more fundamental question: do I live like I’m open to God? Because how we live determines if we make space for God regularly. We’re usually open to hearing God if we’re leading a listening kind of life.
How do we know if we’re leading a listening kind of life?
Here’s what it entails:Continue Reading
(Learn to Discern, Principle #12)
Have you ever found yourself asking God to speak to you, while hoping He’ll only say one particular thing?
“God do you want me to take this new job? Please say yes.”
But then you worry that your desire for only one answer makes you not really open to listening?
“I know it could be not the right job, but it’d be really great if it were the right job so… yes?”
You’re in a spot where you want to “be open,” but you don’t really feel open. You feel like you know what you want to hear.Continue Reading
Do you dread difficult conversations? I don’t know anyone who looks forward to them, although rhinos do tend to mind them less than hedgehogs. Unfortunately, difficult conversations are a part of life; fortunately, there are some ways to make them a little easier.
Often when we’re caught in a difficult conversation, we want either the circumstances or the other person to change. Very often, they don’t. Or won’t. But making a difficult conversation easier starts with what we can actually control: our own expectations and attitudes.
Here are some practical steps to take:
When a difficult situation arises, what’s your default mode of approach? Are you willing to charge into the conflict, head-first? Or do you just want to curl up in a ball and make everyone go away?
Knowing your tendencies can go a long way in improving your response to conflict in all sorts of relationships. Nicky and Sila Lee, authors of The Marriage Book, offer two pictures of how people deal with conflict: becoming either a rhinoceros, or a hedgehog.
If you tend to be a “rhino”, chances are you’re willing to get aggressive when dealing with difficult issues. You’ll want to ‘have it out’ in a fight, rather than walk away from the problem. A rhino charges straight in, horn pointed and ready to attack.
But if you’re a “hedgehog”, you’re much more likely to want to avoid conflict. When things get challenging, you’ll want to stop the conflict by shutting down. A hedgehog curls up in a ball and sticks its prickly spines out so no one can hurt it.Continue Reading