I forgot God.

Today was day 60.

Everyday for the past 60 days I have been journaling, reading the Word, Praying about specific things and enjoying my time with God.  I have said before but I will say it again – this process has revolutionized my spiritual life – I am falling in love with God like never before.  It has not been easy to be so consistent – but every morning when I awake I think about and  get excited about my time with God.  Sometimes I have to move the time around that I meet with God but not very often – normally it is right after the kids get on the bus.  I so look forward to the 45 minutes to an hour I carve out for God.

Yesterday it all almost came crashing down.  My kids had a 2 hour delay for school because of dense fog and my normal morning routine got disrupted.  I felt behind when the kids finally left for school and so I went right to polishing my sermon as my normal routine for Wednesday morning.  I got it polished and was letting it sit  for the rest of the day a is my routine.  Then I went to my next thing which was hitting some visits which I try to do Wednesdays late morning/ early afternoon.  I jumped in the Explorer and was heading off to town to hit the hospital and one nursing home.  I was singing along with the radio and started thinking about some things and then it hit me.

You see I was thinking about some church issues and then I remembered – I forgot God.  I forgot God.  Words cannot adequately describe my feeling.  Tears came to my  eyes as I was driving and I began to call out to God in prayer.  I asked God to forgive me for leaving him completely out of everything.  When I say everything – I mean everything.

You see I did not pray  for anything or anyone.  I did not ask for His guidance on the sermon polishing that I was doing.  I did not get into His Word and connect with Him although I was reading his Word in preparation to preach.  I do not pray for my family, my church family, or myself.  When I say I forgot God – I forgot God but all while preparing to do the work of God.  I was struck by the thought  – I was so busy doing the work of God that I forgot God.

I think what hurt so bad was not that I have been so consistent but that I have been loving my time with God and like I said falling in love with him in such a new ways.  In my mind I pictured God waiting for me to sit down and talk with Him and I forgot all about Him.

The good news.

The good news is that once I got home from my visitation at  the hospital and nursing home that I was able to walk over to where God was sitting and waiting for me and we had a great time together.  I love my time with Him.

Let me ask you – how has your time with God been?  Have you ever found yourself so busy working for God that you forgot God?

Becoming Who I Want to be

Journaling is really helping me and so I need to write something more about it.

As a matter of fact, MacDonald in Building Below The Waterline spends a whole other chapter on journaling and he writes that it was so valuable to him that he wanted to write more about it and so do I. 

There was a great discussion on journaling last week and in the book as I said MacDonald goes back to and he does so because it has had such a profound positive impact in his life and to me I want to come back to it for the very same reason.

I love that MacDonald calls journaling a dialogue with the soul because for me,  I have so found this to be true. He in this section writes a list of journal possibilities that I have found  to be very helpful and so I need to share them with you.  Here he write that when journaling is done regularly that several things become possible:

Once feelings, fears, and dreams are named, they can be dealt with, prayed for, and surrendered to God.  They come under control, no longer existing in a way that pollutes the soul and mind. – page 40

In my near 40 days now – I have found that I am dealing with things and facing them head on like never before.

If I record and reflect on the experiences of each day, I add to my base of wisdom.  Things usually forgotten or lost in the unconscious now, like books on a library shelf, wait to be tapped when parallel moments arise in the future.  Now one has precedents to draw from. -  page 40,41

I am already finding great encouragement going back through and reading what I have written.

Memories of God’s great and gracious acts are preserved.  He talks of Israel building monuments (Exodus 17:14) and then writes; One day, I realized that my journal writing was a memorial to God’s sufficiency. – page 41

Again – in the last month I have gone through some tough situations and I am able to look back and see what God is doing in my life – a powerful reminder.

I chart areas where I need to grow and mature.  As I look at journals form thirty years ago, I have realized I have struggled with the same knot of issues throughout the years.  He then writes, I would not have spotted many of these issues if I would not have written about them day after day. – Page 41

I have not written near long enough for this but I can see the truth in it.

A journal brings dreams alive.  Ideas have flooded my mind over the years, I have written about them.  Putting them into words helped me to discern the foolish ideas and develop the good ones. Many things I’ve done in the last few years had origins I can find in earlier journals. – page 41

Again I have not been doing this long enough for this but I look forward to the day when I can trace a great idea back to when and where God brought it to mind.

Journaling as I said last week is helping me to become the man I desire and the one I see Jesus desiring me to be and it is invaluable in my life.

Let me ask you – what is the one thing that has helped you to grow the most spiritually in the last year and would you suggest others to do it and why?

This post is a part of the blogging on  the book Building Below the Waterline by Gordon MacDonald with two of the best bloggers out there – Bill Grandi from  Cycleguy’s Spin and Michael Perkins from The Handwritten .  We are sharing each Wednesday our thoughts from 2 chapters,  which means you will be able to see how God will l speak to us as individuals and then you if you read all three blogs you will see how God then weaves what we write all together.  I pray your are encouraged by the blogs

How do I become who I want to be?

Are you a person who journals?

Let me answer my own question.  For the first 42+ years of my life I was not that person at all.  My wife – she journals – not consistently but when she does, she really seems to get a lot our of it.  I know others who journal daily and they have always seemed to get so much out of it.  I have tried it on a few occasions but would write one entry and that would be it.  I just did not like it nor did I see the benefits in doing it.  That was until literally 30 days ago.

What happened 30 days ago, you ask.  Well you see 30 days ago I read a chapter from the book Building below the Waterline by Gordon MacDonald.  There is a section in the book that is called What I want to be when I grow up.  In this section MacDonald talks about when he asked himself  the question, What kind of man do I want to be?  His response was that he wanted to be a man of growth and grace.  Now understand that he asked himself this question during his mid-life. 

He also wrestled with the question of What kind of old man do I want to be?  He says the most interesting thing about this:

If you don’t plan for the kind of man (or woman) you want to be at eighty (God willing) and begin building it when you are forty or fifty, it’s not likely to happen.

He write that this is thought then drove him to write a personal mission.  His personal mission is what helps him to live by initiation and not reaction.  I know that I want to live that way  – by initiation and not reaction.  Then he writes about how  he wrote about how he has his personal mission statement on the second  page of his journal and he reads it everyday.  He says he reads it everyday because it describes what he wants to be everyday.

He also has sub-missions or areas that he wants and needs discipline in and these areas are: Physical, Relational, Intellectual,Financial, vocational. Spiritual, and Recreational.  He has these areas because he thinks God wants him to do something in them and they also represent dreams in specific areas.  He has fine tuned these sub-mission over the years and leaves them open ended.  He does this so that he always has the ability to move forward in these areas.

When I read it all this it had me really desiring to work on areas of my life and  grow.  Then I read what he wrote about journaling and I found what he wrote here to really got me thinking about how it has helped him for over 40 years. It really made an impact on me and because of this  I then was moved to do it by God to journal and this time I had a plan on how to do it. 

My plan that I am following is that I am using an online journal ( Evernote.com).  I try to do the journal each morning as part of my morning devotions.  Part of the plan in this is to incorporate the journaling into several areas of my life to help me see growth. So in order to help me see growth I have four areas that I write in my journal each day and they are:

  1. Bible Reading – I put down the chapter I read and then write notes, thoughts, and favorite verses.  I also add in prayers from what I read as well.
  2. Prayer and Life List – I have a prayer list I go over and it also has my mission statement on it.  It has areas I want to grow in and areas I want to stop doing (A Stop doing list).  I write out a lot of personal prayers here after I read and pray through the list.
  3. What I am learning / what God is teaching me – pretty much I talk about life and what I am learning in various areas and also areas that I question what is happening.  This is where I write out about interactions with people or situations in life. 
  4. Things to do today – I list our all I want to accomplish each day.

    I have found that journaling like this almost serves as an accountability partner for me and it really keeps me on track.   I can honestly say that  I have found this to be invaluable over the past 30 days now and it is something that I cannot now imagine not doing.  Doing this has helped me be more consistent in my devotional time with Christ.  I look forward to it most days and the days I do not are the ones where I have been really living in the flesh and I do not want to face it.  Let me say that this has honestly revolutionized my whole morning time with Christ.  It is helping me to become the husband, father, friend, and Pastor that I need to be.

    If you do not journal – try it for seven days.  If it does not work – stop but if it does – keep on going!

So let me ask you if you journal?  If you do, how long have you done it and how do you do it?  If you do not – what keeps you from doing it?

This post is a part of the blogging on  the book Building Below the Waterline by Gordon MacDonald with two of the best bloggers out there – Bill Grandi from  Cycleguy’s Spin and Michael Perkins from The Handwritten .  We are sharing each Wednesday our thoughts from 2 chapters,  which means you will be able to see how God will l speak to us as individuals and then you if you read all three blogs you will see how God then weaves what we write all together.  I pray your are encouraged by the blogs.