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Monday, December 26, 2016

Write it Down!

Increasing in age brings most of us a strange side effect. The passage of time seems faster. We know it doesn’t, of course, but it feels that way. And so it seems this my final blog of 2016 has come too quickly.

For many, these last days of the year will give rise to memories. Some are sad like the passing of friends or family. Others brings joy with new arrivals, new jobs, and opportunities. There is also the disquieting kind of memory of what might have been. And this sets the stage for those New Year resolutions and commitments to “a better life.”

I know this to be true. Many of my best life lessons have been lost by not keeping a written record. My own mind deceives itself that my memory will hold onto and treasure that which I find valuable. It turns out not to be the case. There is no determining how many valuable gems of knowledge or wisdom I have left behind.

There is a solution, of course. One which many have found to be invaluable. Especially among the most successful. It’s called journaling. I was reminded of it again when reading a list of “last minute gifts for entrepreneurs” in USA Today.

Here’s the case for giving a journal: “Most entrepreneurs have more ideas than they can possibly keep track of. A nice journal and a good pen motivates them to jot down all those great plans and keep them in one place.”

Beyond simply ideas, other reasons abound for this disciplined practice. Psychologist, poet, and blogger Diana M. Raab explained what a mentor taught her about journaling. “Writing provides an emotional release to vent about issues related to your work or personal life. Sometimes the loss of a loved one reveals inner turmoil or uncovers secrets that are brought to the surface during the writing process. Writing helps clear your mind while increasing your awareness.”

Writing authentically seems to be the mandate for the journals that shape your life most. As it is often said, “write as if nobody is going to read it.” Inspirations and irritations should both get their due place.

Other reasons suggested for journaling include pushing you toward your goals and increasing memory and comprehension. Your communication abilities will likely be enhanced with more practice as well. Perhaps one idea I like most is that this kind of writing helps you process situations when you find them challenging.

The best of learning sometimes comes in short bits. I have collected several quotes of just a sentence or two that hold profound meaning to me. They are worth reflecting on often.

Such was the case for King Solomon. He learned from the “school of many-different-kind-of-knocks”  how to think wisely. Fortunately, he left his writings for us to see and benefit from today. You’d be well advised to read the book of Proverbs often.

Here’s one of my favorites from Solomon: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take.” (Proverbs 3:5-6, NLT)

In 2017, may you have increased awareness of great lessons that the Sovereign God and others can reveal to you. You’ll be richer for it.

And for goodness sake, write those lessons down!

See you next year, Lord willing.

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Let’s Talk with Mark Elfstrand can be heard weekdays from 4-6 PM Central. To listen outside the Chicago area, tune to for live streaming or podcasts, or download the AM1160 app. 

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