The Diary as Incendiary


I have a bad attitude over the word ‘journal.’  It sill reminds me of enforced scholastic compositions and grade-motivated performance.  And ‘diary’  makes me cringe with memories of 12-year old record-keeping of crushes, and which girlfriends were in or out that particular moment.


I find it interesting to discover the word ‘diary’  follows ‘diarrhea’ in my Concise Oxford English Dictionary, (11th ed., Oxford University Press, 2004, pp. 396-397).


So, I’ll call it ‘ephemeros,’  from the Greek, meaning ‘lasting only one day.’  It’s a far more accurate description to suit my constant state of flux, and rapidly shifting perspectives.


What’s the point of this exercise?  Louis Pasteur said, “Where observation  is concerned, chance follows only the prepared mind.”  You write from where you are, not from where you wish you were, and in the process you’ll end up where you want to be.  There is no wrong way to fill your journal , so your opponent’s opinions do not count — although you’re welcome to write down his words as evidence of his tactics.

Record observations, questions, quotes that speak to you, sketch a scene that inspires you and dreams that confound you, note story ideas and interesting titles that might exist if you had the time to create them; collect magazine and newspaper clippings, postcards, actions and reactions, notations, and reminders to go back to a place or a thought.  Draw; add images and clippings that speak to your heart.  You don’t even need to know why these things inspire you, but it is of extreme importance to become aware of what stirs life in you.


Keep a list in the back of your journal  for favorite words and interesting topics, titles to locate, and ideas that will spark discussion or inspiration.


Your pensées don’t even have to be in book form.  This is yours; you won’t be graded on it, so I hope that frees you!  The only rule is that you bring to form whatever is on your mind.  Collect your notes and discoveries in a place that is for your eyes only.  Blogging doesn’t count, because it’s public by nature.  You need a safe, private space to unleash your own personal heresies.  You are an audience of one—you observe and create differently when it’s only for you, and the most important element of this discipline is that you will come to know yourself.  You are a delight to your Creator.  Through journaling, you will learn to connect with the unique vision that is the soul of your life.


Be loyal to your journal  about what you experience en route. First thing every morning, write three pages of whatever’s on your mind.  Let it flow.  Don’t hold anything back.  Don’t read back over what you’ve written for at least eight weeks and don’t ever show anyone what you’ve written — your words and thoughts are not open to judgment.  They are the most important element in learning to hear the loving voice of YHWH and to identify and disarm the voice of discouragement: Satan, the Accuser.  With practice, you will learn that your accuser’s negative opinions are not the truth.


Journalizing is a left-brain versus right brain exercise.  Left-brain is logical and necessary for survival in a post-Eden world.  The unknown is risky, suspicious, therefore full of danger.  Bringing your own original thoughts to light will help you to locate their source.  Awareness is strength, and possibly a key to unlock your shackles.  When painful memories come up (and they will), write them down.  Did Satan use the voice of a parent to keep you from exposing your glory?  Draw a picture of him behind the mask.  Set a teacher free.  Turn negative into positive.


Write, “I am,” 20 times down the side of your page, and then go back and answer each question, adding more if the answers keep coming.


I started writing in response to my daily Scripture reading, noting which verses spoke to me and why.  Get into the habit of reading a bit of the Bible every day.  There are many versions available, even on the internet. Google a verse and see what comes up.  I rely on Tyndale’s One Year Bible for daily reading.  Please don’t use a devotional during our course.  Many people have received wonderful understanding of God’s Word, but we need not learn from them right now.  Consider it a season to experience what the LORD says to you personally.


To really know the mind of God, read what He’s said through His people in the Scriptures.  Not all of these esteemed characters were saints in the flesh!  If God could use fallen idols such as these, what might He be able to accomplish with our willing lives?

“The power of the word is real whether or not you are conscious of it,” says Sonia Choquette.


[The Source begins here.]


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Write a comment

Comments: 2
  • #1

    Elle How (Sunday, 01 March 2009 16:43)

    I have to laugh... you are very funny... I love your sense of humour... and you are so right... that's probably why I haven't set up my blog yet...

  • #2

    Mark Krieg (Saturday, 27 March 2010 14:30)

    This is excellent! Very encouraging and freeing. Also practical. You have quite a voice in your writing, as well!