Listen to my words, LORD, consider my lament. Hear my cry for help, my King and my God, for to you I pray. In the morning, LORD, you hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait expectantly. (Psalms 5:1-3)
There are numerous ways a chronic illness may change your life. You may find yourself in a position where you have to re-think many things and process a myriad of emotions. Have you found helpful ways to process what you’re going through as you navigate life with a chronic illness? If you haven’t already tried it, would you consider journaling? A journal can be a safe place to release your feelings, sort out your thoughts, gain new insights, let go of hurts, and so much more.
5 BENEFITS OF JOURNALING
1. JOURNALING CAN HELP YOU SORT THROUGH YOUR THOUGHTS
You can tell your journal exactly what you think about the unexpected turn in your life. In addition to helping you articulate what you think, it might also uncover thoughts you don’t realize you have or help you see things from a new perspective. Start jotting down thoughts that first come to mind. Then go from there.
2. JOURNALING CAN HELP YOU EXPRESS YOUR EMOTIONS
Rather than keeping your feelings bottled up inside, release them through your pen or keyboard. Whether it’s anger, sadness, fear, loneliness, or any other difficult emotion, you need a healthy way to express it. Let your journal be your guts on paper; let it all out on those pages. Some of your emotions may be strong and deeply embedded. Therefore, if you need to write some of the same things again and again, so be it.
3. JOURNALING CAN HELP YOU RELEASE INNER PAIN
Recording the events that hurt you can be one step toward healing from them. Use your journal to convey how you feel about how others have treated you regarding your illness. This may include family, friends, and medical professionals. That pain, left stuffed inside, will only hurt you more and more – better out than in. Leave the so-called sting on those pages if you can. Try not to be discouraged if it takes several attempts to begin to experience relief. Especially with deep hurts, there is a lot of pain to express, and it will take time.
4. JOURNALING CAN HELP YOU PUT YOUR CONCERNS INTO PRAYERS
Acknowledge where you need divine help, and write out your prayers. Maybe you struggle with accepting what has happened, you’re grieving over what you’ve lost, or you don’t know how God can use you anymore. Whatever you need, writing out your prayers is a great way to honestly recognize where you need help as well as to open yourself to God’s power.
5. JOURNALING CAN PROVIDE A RECORD OF YOUR JOURNEY
You can look back at what you’ve written and see how far you’ve come in terms of dealing with your illness or other life challenges. Sometimes it’s hard to see progress on a day-to-day basis, but it’s more obvious when you can look back at where you started and see the steps you took to move forward. When you review past journal entries, you also might be able to detect patterns in your thoughts, emotions, and behaviors. This can provide insight to help resolve underlying issues. Some people find it too painful to look back, and if you find that to be the case for you, you don’t need to do it. But if it isn’t too hard, you may find it helpful.
JOURNALING AS SELF-CARE
While journaling might not be for everyone, it’s beneficial for many, even those who were reluctant to try it. Writing honestly about your thoughts and feelings can be one way to practice self-care. For now, prayerfully consider it and see if God is steering you in this direction. Then watch for the following future posts: Getting Started with Journaling and Going Deeper with Journaling.
For more ideas to nurture yourself, see the Self-Care page.
Chronic Joy® Staff Writer
50 Prayer Journaling Prompts
Choose a quiet moment, open your journal, and begin with whatever thoughts are on your heart.