WHO ARE YOU Part 4: A Taste of WHOOP—Whole Heartedly Opening Our Purpose

images (10)Love transforms one into what one loves. –Quote from a Facebook post that stuck in my head; author unremembered!



Last week’s post discussed some of the ways we might behave when we believe two lies:

  • Love Hurts and if God is Love then God Hurts.
  • If God hurts and we are made in His likeness, then we must be hurting and hurtful beings.

The truth of the matter is that God IS love and Love does NOT hurt.  Unloving behaviors hurt.  Who we are in our core is LOVE, and we are beings capable of great love.

Believing that God hurts leads us to believe that we are all hurtful beings, and we then engage in fear-based, self-protective behavior that is rooted in fear.  We begin to avoid the connection, intimacy and love that we’re made for and that we long for.  In order to break this cycle, we need to recognize that feeling unfulfilled is more a reaction of fear (natural instinct and conditioning from past unloving encounters) than a choice to love (our true spiritual essence).

Becoming aware of our false beliefs and acknowledging the behaviors we engage in to protect ourselves isn’t always pleasant.  It takes a great deal of introspection, self-knowledge, willingness, and time.  And let’s not forget COURAGE!  In areas of your life where you feel unrest, anxiety, anger, pain, sadness, or unfulfillment, you are very likely participating in fear instead of love.  To honestly examine your behaviors – to dig into your beliefs and uncover the causes of your actions – takes a great deal of bravery.   So if you are still reading and following these blogs, I want to give you a whole-hearted cheer…a big WHOOP!  You are already being brave, so keep going!

As I promised last week, I want to give you a practical, do-able spiritual practice that will transform you into what you will love.  Here it is: start and practice loving yourself every day at every moment no matter how you are being or what you are doing.  Love yourself and you will transform into something you love! 

images (2)Self-love is a spiritual practice. 

Some of you might be thinking that sounds awfully selfish and self-indulgent.   I used to think so, too.  And this same reaction occurs in my WHOOP groups when I tell them, “for the next 5 weeks you are going to concentrate on YOU and loving yourself!”  We are often taught that loving ourselves is a form of conceit and self-absorption.  We might also think that self-love goes against the selflessness that Jesus teaches by his example.  But I have learned that loving myself is a form of honoring God, and that it also honors others.

Here are some truths I’ve learned about the link between loving myself and loving others:

  • You can’t love others unless you love yourself just as you are at every moment. “Every moment” is the challenging part.  I don’t know of anyone who acts perfectly kind, caring and loving all the time. Least of all me!  But I’ve found that the root of this thinking is within me: the amount I judge and criticize myself is the amount I judge and criticize others.  When I learn to be kinder and gentler with myself—the good and the bad parts—then I can do the same to others.  This is how God loves us—He will never remove His love from us no matter what we think, say, feel, or do.  Check out how many times the word STEADFAST is associated with God’s love; if we are made in the likeness of God, then we are capable of steadfast love for ourselves and others.
  • If you’ve ever flown on a commercial airplane, you’ve heard the oxygen mask instruction, “If you have a small child with you, put your mask on first before helping them.” WHY?  Because if you are struggling to breath, start to panic, or pass out how can you help another.   If you can’t love and take care of you, how are you ever going to love and give care (being selfless) to another!
  • To honor, love and know WHO YOU ARE is how you learn to honor, love, and appreciate who someone else is. The more loving and compassionate you can be toward yourself, the more you can extend love and compassion to others.  When you can forgive yourself for your selfish, controlling or unkind ways, you will be able do to that for others.  That is love!
  • Self-love is believing and practicing the truth about our relationship with God. The extent to which we understand and experience God’s love is the extent to which we can love ourselves and others.   Self love is living out the truth – through our thoughts, deeds, and actions – that there is no separation between us and God. God is in us and we are in God. Therefore, the same kind of love that He gives us, we can give to ourselves and others. We become mirrors—we are to reflect God’s love and we can reflect that love right back to our self and others.
  • Did Jesus show self-love? I would have to say YES! He lived the ultimate Whole Hearted Life.  He totally got God! He knew who he was in and as God. He was conscious of his “being” and “doing”.  He honored what to do for himself to stay true and connected to who he was and his purpose.  He extended love and compassion. He fulfilled his purpose! If he had had one ounce of fear or doubt, I’d hate to think of where we’d be or what we’d be doing.  Have you read the end of Exodus or Leviticus lately?  It will make your head spin with all the proper procedures and sacrifices! I’m so glad Jesus’ new command to us was to love—love your neighbor as you yourself are loved, love God with all your heart, mind and strength, love others as Jesus has loved us.

God’s love and self-love is a sweet dance between us and God.  You can’t seem to have one without the other.
If you love you, you love God.
If you love God, you love you because He is part of WHO YOU ARE.
If you dishonor yourself, you are dishonoring God.
If you dishonor God, you are dishonoring yourself.
If you are not connecting with yourself, then you are not connecting with God.

images (7)Love transforms one into what one loves.

The transforming that occurs is God’s love to us, through us and given back to our self.   (You might need to read that one a few times to let it sink in!) Practice some self love and see what starts to happen in your life.

Practical Tips:

  1. WHAT IS LOVE? WHO IS GOD?  These are big questions.  Anything you can do to study and learn about love and God will be important to understanding how to love yourself.
  • Read the bible. Pick a version that you like!   I like The Voice, The New Living Translation, and The Amplified bible.  There are lots of great study bibles with commentary that explains more of the history and the concepts presented in the bible.
  • Here are a couple books I recommend:
    • Return to Love by Marianne Williamson
    • Keep Your Love On by Danny Silk
    • Immortal Diamond by Richard Rohr
  • Here is a starter for you. Read what 1 Corinthian 13:4 says about love, and practice it on yourself this week:
    • Be patient and kind to yourself.
    • Don’t be rude, crude or indecent to yourself…in words or actions!
    • Don’t get upset with yourself or keep a list of all the things wrong you did today.
    • Love anything and everything that you do this week.
    • Trust, hope and endure however you are “being” this week!
    • Don’t dismiss yourself this week and any shape or form.
    • Remind yourself that you are important and needed by God.
  1. Make a list of 100 Ways to love yourself. Every good life coach eventually asks their client do this list.  WHY?   The list sheds light about WHO YOU ARE, what you like and what feeds your soul.  It also becomes a resource of what to do when you feel the need for love. Once you write the list, put it into practice right away and notice what starts to transpire in your life.  Get your list going by asking these questions:
  • What activities do you like to do that make you feel peaceful or more alive?
  • What activities do you do that make you feel better about yourself?
  • What things do you know from deep down in your heart that if you did them, you’d feel more loved by yourself?
  • What things do you wish someone else did for you to show you love?

These can be big and small things. They can cost money or not.   They can be actual activities or a way you want to be.

Light candles
Read more fun books
Take a bath
Listen to music and sing
Drink more water
Brush my teeth
Make my bed in the morning
Have fresh flowers in the house
Don’t go to bed mad
Take family vacations every year
Go on lunch date with girlfriend
Cook a new recipe
Schedule Date nights
Tell the truth in love
Go for a walk
Take an art class
Buy new pajamas
Keep my morning time sacred
Breath before responding when feeling angry
Take responsibility for any behavior I did that might have been hurtful and apologize
Remember to take some healthy snacks in the car so I don’t eat something unhealthy

cropped-011114_2043_selfcompass1.jpgEncouraging Your Whole Heartedness:

I’d love to hear your heart.  Leave me a comment or tell me a few ways you plan to love yourself this week.


WHO ARE YOU Part 3: A Taste of WHOOP—Whole Heartedly Opening Our Purpose

images (4)Love didn’t hurt you. –Tony Gaskins

If we look at experiences that have caused us heartache and gut wrenching pain, through feelings of rejection, abandonment or grief, we would logically conclude that LOVE HURTS.  Ask anyone who is in a recent break up, a divorce, a betrayal or a loss and they will tell you love hurts.  I googled “love hurts”.  The images that accompanied that search were painful to look through.  I can relate with the pain in the images from my own past breakups, betrayals, and losses.  It hurts to lose what was or what could have been.  Love certainly seems to hurt.

“Love didn’t hurt you.  Someone who doesn’t know how to love hurt you, and you confused the two.”   –quote by Tony Gaskins posted on Facebook

This is so true.  I have hurt others because I didn’t know how to love.  Others have hurt me because they didn’t know how to love.  In small ways it might have looked like being late, assuming instead of asking, being forgetful or not returning a text.  In large ways it may have looked like breaking a promise, refusing to apologize, lying, holding a grudge or feeling justified to not extend my love.  It’s true, not knowing how to love or be loved hurts.

Reading a few comments to Tony’s post, this one caught my eye, “It seems there are lot of people out there who don’t know how to love.”   In His calm small voice I heard God whisper to me, “It breaks my heart that people are hurting others and themselves because they don’t know how to love.  They are not understanding or believing WHO THEY ARE.”  I’ m certain there would be a lot more of us loving and living whole heartedly if we understood and believed who we are!

Are we hurting other humans because we believe big fat lies that love hurts and that WHO WE ARE is something other than what God says we are?

images (1)God is love. (1 John 4:8)

If love hurts and God is love, does God hurt?  Looking at the Old Testament in the bible we could certainly find cases where it appears God acts in unloving ways and thus love hurts.  It appears that He is some kind of punisher waiting for us to break His law only to hurt us for doing so.   If we believe love hurts or that God hurts, how could one ever love and trust God?    But we have to read the whole book!   The bible is a giant love story to us from God.  Here are a couple points from this love story:

  • Jesus came and died to reconnect us with God. What do unloving behaviors do that cause us pain? They push others away.  They detach us from another.  They are rejecting.   God sent His one and only beloved son to die to reconnect us to Him.   That is not hurt, that is intimacy.  Any time we connect with another, especially deeply, that is intimacy.  This kind of love connection is what most of us are seeking and longing.
  • Jesus died to save us from sin. What is sin? Sin is anytime we act on our own out of fear, lack of trust, or selfishness which often hurt others.   Most unloving behaviors come from fear.   The opposite of love is not hate it is fear.   When we fear we don’t trust.  When we don’t trust, we act on our own to protect ourselves.  Many, if not most of those behaviors, are unloving which disconnects us from others and God.   God sent his only son to die for our sins, for our disconnecting ways!  He did it so we would have abilities to connect and have loving relationships with Him and others.
  • Jesus loved and trusted God yet was rejected, scorned and hung on a cross. How could that be love?  Because 3 days later God raised him from death into the living Christ.  Jesus’ death and resurrection is a great metaphor that love transforms. Love brings life. Love can heal even dead things in our life.
  • In addition, the whole process of God sending and giving us His son to cleanse us of sin and reconnect us with Him, brought us the Holy Spirit. God’s love, while seemingly hurtful to Jesus, showed love most of us will never know, transformed Jesus into a healing, life giving love, and endowed us with even more connection with God through the Holy Spirit.

Everything that God did before Jesus came seems to be God’s way of helping us see how disconnected, unloving, fearful and untrusting of God we are, so that when He brought about this intimate, saving, transforming union, we might understand how much He LOVES US.  Knowing WHO YOU ARE is knowing who God is.   God is a heaping, huge, still trying to take it all in, hunk of love!  Which means so are we.

images (3)The bible says we are in God and God is in us.

We are in love and love is in us.   If we believe love hurts what does that say about us?  Are we just a bunch of hurting and hurtful people?   YES, but not because of love, but because we don’t know how to love and we are not understanding and believing who we are and what we are capable of…and that hurts.

What we believe we will live out.   If we believe love hurts or that God is hurtful, we will bring forth our natural human instinct to protect ourselves.   This natural instinct can be reinforced and heightened by the environment we grew up in and experiences we’ve had. In human form if we believe love hurts we’ll become untrusting and guard ourselves against others.   Spiritually, if we believe God Hurts, we will not trust God and we won’t believe that everything He is doing is for a good purpose or that He has a good purpose for us.  Everything that goes wrong or is painful in our life, we will think that God is punishing us or teaching us a harsh lesson. In addition we inflict pain upon ourself, to escape the hurt of feeling unloved and unworthy by others, God or our self.

Here is a list of what may happen when we believe love hurts or God hurts.  This is not an exhaustive list. All of these are out of fear and protection:

  1. We will trust only our self and not God or anyone else.
  2. We will push others away with unloving behavior avoiding connection.
  3. We will deny, avoid, or refuse to acknowledge that we need help or others.
  4. We will also deny, avoid and refuse transformation and connection with God.
  5. We will be selfish, defensive, lie, justify, judge, blame, shame, envy, criticize, retaliate, and compare.
  6. We will be ungrateful, jealous, angry, and unhappy.
  7. We will be suspicious and dismissing.
  8. We will live from a place of lack being greedy and gluttonous.
  9. We will be confused, lack passion, lack direction, and lack motivation.
  10. We will seclude and alienate our self from others.
  11. We will be anxious, depressed, and/or have suicidal thoughts.
  12. We will create idols. Idols are anything we put in God’s place to meet our need for love, acceptance, affection, and worthiness.  Just to name a few, they can be a relationship, marriage, spouse, money, food, things, fame, sex, or recognition.
  13. We may form addictions or even mental illnesses (anorexia, cutting, delusions, and phobias come to mind) to either escape fear and pain or inflict more fear and pain over our unloving feelings towards our self, God, or life.   (Not that all mental illnesses are formed by fear and the belief that love or God hurts, but well rounded treatment would include taking a look at one’s spiritual life.)

Since self-knowledge is one key to knowing WHO YOU ARE and living a whole hearted life, consider these questions:

  1. Who do you believe God is? Do you believe 100% that He is ALWAYS loving and working for good or are there times when you think the hard experiences that have come your way are a punishment or harsh lesson from God?
  2. Do you believe love casts out fear? When have you experienced that?
  3. Do you believe love can be transformative? What experience have you had to know this is true?
  4. What ways are you living out the belief that love hurts? What self protective behaviors do you engage in? When? With who? (Be brave and honest:  look at the list above again and see if any of those self protective behaviors are active in your life, even in your mind.)
  5. How do you treat yourself? Do you love yourself?

I’ll admit, I didn’t need a book to list the above consequences of believing that love hurts or that God hurts.  I’ve performed most of those fear based, protective behaviors outwardly and, if not outwardly, definitely in my mind.  Only if we were loved completely as we needed by everyone we know and have known, would we escape the consequences of protective fear.  We all have exhibited or acted upon those unloving behaviors in some form or fashion for very good reasons.  Don’t berate yourself if you identify with some of the behaviors on the list.  It is not pleasant to become mindful of our unloving ways but it is essential to living a whole hearted life. If you are seriously asking yourself question number 4, I know it will not be fun or easy.   Let me give you some hope.

First, we are created in the likeness of God. (Gen 1:27; Gen 5:1), which means we are love and we are capable of great love for others, God, and our self.   We are not naturally hurtful, unloving people.  We are very much God-Like! We may have a natural instinct to protect our self, but who you are as a God created, loving being can become more of your “doing” and “being” with awareness and practice.   Look at these quotes and let them sink in:

  • We are most ourselves when we love; we are most the people of God when we love. To love we need to realize our unique identity as the people of God who love. (from the introduction to The Message Bible)
  • We are love and we are made for love, and our natural abiding place is love. (Richard Rohr)

Second, sometimes I like to take GOD and LOVE and substitute them for each other when I come across a saying or scripture I like.  Sometimes it gives me more clarity and truth about who God is.  If you recall from last week’s post, knowing God is imperative to knowing and understanding WHO YOU ARE.   It doesn’t always work perfectly, but it can be enlightening.
For example:

  • We are GOD and we are made for GOD, and our nature abiding place is GOD.  (True!)
  • GOD didn’t hurt you.  Someone who doesn’t know how to GOD hurt you, and you confused the two.  (I love it that GOD became a verb, an action word.  It’s like saying, “I’m GODing today!”  Gosh, what would that look like?)

Lastly, love does cast out all fear. Love does transform.  Next week I’m going to talk about how that works in a very practical way.  I’ll talk about how to bring your spiritual loving being into your human living.  Stay tuned!

cropped-011414_2007_selfcompass11.jpgEncouraging Your Whole Heartedness:

I’d love to hear your heart.  Leave a comment or share one way you are going to “GOD” this week!

WHO ARE YOU Part 1:  A Taste of WHOOP—Whole Heartedly Opening Our Purpose

Your problem is that you don’t know what your problem is.  You think your problem is your problem, but that’s not the problem at all. Your problem is not your problem, and that’s your main problem.

–Bill Gillham from Lifetime Guarantee

hands-making-a-heart-in-the-sunset_00450550-28812_650x250 (1)The HEART of Whole Heartedly is very important to living our purpose.  What is “heart” beyond the actual organ in our body that keeps us alive or what some might think of only as emotions?  This is a very deep and sometimes confusing question…and is often at the “heart” of our problem!

Out of curiosity, I looked up how many times the word “heart” appeared in the bible.  In the Old Testament (KJV) it is the 3rd most used word after God and Lord.   In the New Testament (KJV) it is the 13th after God, Jesus, Lord, Christ, Father, heaven, faith, love, grace, believe, brother and sin.  This is just the count of the single form of heart and not the plural, “hearts”.   Again, HEART is third in the most popular words in the OT after God and Lord!  It seems that God thinks HEART is a very important word for us to understand and know.

As I was searching the web for the above, I found this post, which is a nice compilation of biblical and other definitions of HEART.  If you read through that web post, you will find that HEART is basically WHO YOU ARE in your thinking (mind processes), decisions (will), and feelings (emotions).  Heart is who you are at your core, your essence, your being—the inner most center of who you are “being”.

The issue or problem (didn’t that quote above give you a chuckle?  It did me.) is that most of us don’t know WHO WE ARE or we try to figure out and define who we are from sources that are unreliable, changeable, untruthful, and, often, unloving.

I heard long ago that we are spiritual beings having a human experience.  This rings with lots of truth.  Most of us will define who we are by outside, “human experience” influences.  We may define who we are by our roles, such as mother, father, husband, wife, daughter, son, brother, sister, etc, or what we do, such as accountant, realtor, lawyer, artist, football player, baker, etc.  Those are all changeable and at any moment we could NOT BE one of those through divorce, death, being laid off, injury and so on.  When that occurs, the question often arises, and to our benefit, WHO AM I REALLY???   It’s to our benefit because it is in those moments we get to find our unchanging, truthful, reliable and loving selves in our spiritual “being”.

In addition, who you are can be influenced by what people say you are with words or how they treat you.  Some of these can be positive in our life and how we are being, and some cause such havoc in our perception of who we are that we end up with other problems that are just symptoms (think addictions, relationship issues, depression, anxiety, and so on) to the real problem–not knowing and believing WHO YOU REALLY ARE.

Taleda-full-heart_500Life seems to be a process of coming to know, understand, and believing WHO YOU ARE–about knowing your HEART, about understanding your WHOLE HEART.  It is seeing, being mindful, becoming aware of when you are BEING from a place of humanness and then how to bring your spiritual being into that!   Most of us are taught how to be very good human “beings,” yet still living in some kind of lack, looking for ways to fill that (sometimes in very harmful ways) or feel stuck and joyless.  Delving into the WHOLE HEART of WHO WE ARE, which is combining who we are spiritually and bringing that into our human experience, is what can fill that space and bring you more life.

Am I as clear as that initial quote?  I wouldn’t be surprised if your head is spinning a little bit.   My intent with this post is   to get you going, to make you think, to start you to ponder about WHO YOU ARE—who you are being right now and what is influencing that; are you being who you are spiritually; do you know who you are as a spiritual being; are you aware of your spiritual “beingness” yet still joyless or catch only glimpses of fully living?   The next few weeks posts will be offering ways to be more mindful of who you are and how to bring more of your spiritual being into your human living.

A few quotes to ponder about WHO YOU ARE:

The strongest and key word in Deuteronomy is love.  Love is the most characteristic and comprehensive act of human “being”. We are most ourselves when we love; we are most the people of God when we love.  To love we need to realize our unique identity as the people of God who love.   -–from the introduction to The Message Bible

Learn to live in the True Self, who you are and always have been in God.  Who you are in God is who you forever are; in fact that is all you are and it is more than enough.  Everything else is passing away.  Reputations, titles and roles do not determine your identity. —Thomas Merton

You have a basic nature that is uniquely yours—learn to trust that nature and be free of other people’s opinions negative or positive.  What is your own nature if you have no outside forces telling you who or what you should be?  –Wayne Dyer

All great spirituality teaches about letting go of what you don’t need and who you are not.  –Richard Rohr

We long for the space where there is nothing to prove and nothing to protect; where I am who I am, in the mind and heart of God, and that is more than enough.   –Richard Rohr

cropped-011414_2007_selfcompass11.jpgEncouraging Your Whole Heartedness:

Tell me a little about your Heart in the comment section!  I’d love to know your answer in one or two words to the question posed above:  What is your own nature if you have no outside forces telling you who or what you should be?

JOURNALING Part 4: A Taste of WHOOP—Whole Heartedly Opening Our Purpose


Tell me to what you pay attention, and I will tell you who you are.  –Jose Ortega y Gassett

Seek His will in all you do, and He will show you which path to take.   Proverbs 3:6 NLT

I take joy in doing your will, my God, for your instructions are written on my heart.  –Psalm 40:8 NLT

heartbookYour journal can reveal what you are paying attention to, tell you who you are, be a quiet spot where you record the desires and directions of your heart, and can give you a way to stay focused on your passions and God’s will for your life.

Last Bits and Pieces on the Art of and Keeping a Journal

  1. Using the Circa Journal system from Levenger’s (or the Arc System from Staples) can add some depth to your journal.  By adding a blank page behind tvvvhe plastic cover it can serve as a mini Dream Board. Decorate it with pictures, words, sayings, cut outs from magazines, drawings, or colors or symbols that represents something in regards to an intention or goal for the year.   Goals are things you want to
    accomplish like a specific yoga pose, redoing a bathroom, remembering to send birthday cards, learning a new skill, taking a certain class, understanding how to be more compassionate, or reading through the bible.  Intentions are ways of being that you want to be more mindful of for the year….like being silly, looking for joy, being more grateful, or bringing more peace and relaxation into your life.   Please don’t think you have to be artistic to decorate your cover. The ideas is to have a visual reminder of what will make your year meaningful and growth producing to you.
  2. On the flip side of the decorated page, write your “word for the year,” sayings, quotes or scriptures that support your your goals and intentions for the year, and write your TOP 5 IDEAL list. Having them in the front of your journal, allows you the opportunity to take a quick scan of these when you sit down to write.  It’s like a Table of Contents for your life.  It’s your guide.   You may not look at these every time you journal, however, the act of having written them down does something for you in a subconscious way leading to a more purposeful year.   subway-art-words-of-the-year
    • What is the “WORD OF THE YEAR”? This is something I learned many years ago in regards to setting yearly goals as a business owner.   The idea is to choose one word that will guide actions and priorities for business activities that year.   This same concept can be applied to your life–choose one word to guide your goals, actions and priorities for your life this year.  Having a simple word for the year, gives you direction for your decisions. Again, this can make life have more purpose and meaning.  Some examples of words for the year:   simplicity, peace, joy, love, connection, fun, etc.   Maybe you have goals for many areas of your life. Pick a word that would guide you in all of them.  For example, let’s say you wanted to lose some weight, have more time for your family, de-clutter your house, be more organized, and get rid of some bad habits.  You might choose SPARKLE as your word of the year—have a sparkling body, eat sparkling food, make your schedule sparkle with less activities and more family time, have a sparkling house, sparkle out a drawer, closet or desk, add some sparkling new habits.  The word SPARKLE would remind you and help you make choices that lead you to your desired goals.
    • vEXTRA TIP:   I even hang my word of the year on a little chalkboard in my kitchen so I can see it everyday and be reminded.
    • What are the TOP 5 IDEALS? If you have been following along with these journaling blogs, in the Encouraging Your Whole Heartedness section, I’ve asked you to make a list to this fill-in-the-blank journaling exercise: When my life is ideal I will be/have/or be doing _____________. Then I asked you to come up with your top 5 ideals and write a juicy paragraph describing what each of those mean.   On the inside cover of your journal, I would now have you write just the list of your top 5 ideals because these are your passions. This exercise comes from The Passion Test by Janet Brey Attwood and Chris Attwood. What you have done is tapped into your heart and spirit and found what passions I-See-God-s-Heart-In-These-Clouds-god-the-creator-10268130-400-400God is laying on your heart.  Passions are the breadcrumbs to your destiny and purpose.  These top 5 ideals, like your word for the year but longer reaching, will help you know where to put your attention and energy.  They will help you know what to do when you have to make a choice, decision, or are faced with an opportunity.  You may be offered a great opportunity, but does it take you closer to your IDEAL, to your passion, to what your heart longs for, to the plan that God has for you?   I know my IDEAL list has helped me in making large decisions, like a career step, to small ones, like what kind of blankets to purchase for my bed!! Odd, interesting and true!! Keep your juicy paragraphs somewhere you can find them as you will want to read them now and then and see how they are unfolding.   Life does change and we go through various stages, retaking the passion test every year or two is a good idea.   I did this exercise for the first time 7 years ago.  Some of my ideals have been realized and replaced by others, others have been tweaked because I’ve grown, and some are still in process.  The thing is they are there to guide you.   After listing your top 5 ideals on the inside cover, underneath them write, “this or something more”.  Let God surprise and delight you with what He can do with your passions when you finally jot them down, describe them, accept them, and use them to help you move closer to what He wants for you.
  3. You commit to sit and write, you have pages and pages of journaling, how do you make the most of the time spent and the words you’ve journaled? Dr. David Jeremiah, a preacher and avid journaler, talked about harvesting journals during one of his radio programs.   He highly recommended going back and reviewing your journals on a regular basis.   How often you do this depends on how much you write.  If it takes more than one notebook a year for your journaling, you might want to harvest every quarter.

WIMG_7412hy Harvest?

  • You will gain insights about your self.
  • Looking back over your journal gives you a truer perspective. It is like seeing the LANDSCAPE of things instead of just the trees and brush. You will see a higher and longer perspective of what happened in your life during that time.
  • You will see how things are or aren’t working in your life, how God is working, and how He may have answered prayers.
  • You can see where you keep writing or praying for the same things which can give you insight into where you might need to take action or take steps of faith and trust.

Things you can ask yourself as you harvest:

  • What has gone on?
  • What have I learned about myself and/or God?
  • What are the themes?
  • What did or is God showing me through this time?
  • What am I avoiding, if anything? What is causing this avoidance?  And when is the time I will deal with this?
  • Am I following my intentions, word of the year, or passions? Do I need to tweak these or renew my focus?

cccccEXTRA TIP:  I have found it easier to harvest my journal by using annotated ruled pages.  They provide space to the side of my journaling to write a note, an insight, an “aha”, or a point I want to remember.





cropped-011114_2043_selfcompass1.jpgEncouraging Your Whole Heart

  • Some inspiration from testimonies from a WHOOP participant and a friend who is an avid journaler:
    • I had recently been thinking about the WHOOP classes and how helpful they were. They encouraged me to be deliberate about WHOOP-ing. The journaling in particular made a big difference in my life.  It was like it made sense of the daily events of life.  All of a sudden I could see the narrative that was happening to me and around me.  Every single time I journaled about anything, it had an answer, a result, or a conclusion.  No matter how monumental or how trivial my thoughts were, God moved when I put it down in that journal.  I suspect He is always doing that, but the deliberate act of journaling made it plain to me.–Anne (How many of us miss God’s signs, help, and answers to us?  Love it that journaling did this for her!)
    • I was thinking about what you said in your blog that journaling song lyrics or other things that capture our attention will speak to what we like or desire to be reflected.  I am so drawn to the line from a praise song that says, “you calm the raging seas”.  My reading today was about Jesus and the storm on the Sea of Galilee. I was able to connect the song lyric attraction, the bible reading, and more–I was reminded that as a child I often thought what I wanted more than anything was peace– peace of mind.  “Calm my raging seas” is an accurate description of that desire. I was nervous and anxiety ridden as a child, always feeling like my world was out of control.  I see the connection now with my need to control my circumstances, always wanting to maintain order and “peace”. –Nancy (God is putting puzzle pieces together for her!  I wonder what that insight will do for her now and what God has for her next.)
  • I’d love to hear what you do to make journaling more meaningful for you. Do you harvest? What do you do with that?  How do you use a journal to keep your heart in God’s will and focused on what He wants for your life?