People ask me why I bother to write each week. I think they are asking “What do you get out of it?” It’s a good question. It’s not part of my job and nobody will scold me if I don’t (I may have to think about that last part). Although I would love to believe that what I have to say is new and unique, the truth is – it’s not. Thousands of years ago King Solomon said in Ecclesiastes “What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun.”
Mostly we just pass on what we have learned. But I get a lot out of it – and you will too if you write. It doesn’t have to be public – journals are private. But why would you want to write?
I read a quote from Dawson Trotman, founder of the Navigators. He said:
“Thoughts disentangle themselves when they pass through the lips and fingertips.”
- When I write, I clarify my thoughts and beliefs. I spend time putting order to them. It forces me to think at a deeper level.
- When I have a lot of feelings it really helps to process them on paper and figure out what I need instead of making emotional decisions that may cause relational chaos. Particularly if someone has hurt me I will eventually need to forgive them. But that usually takes some time and writing out the hurt may help a great deal.
- Grief is the result of losses we suffer. If we bury our grief instead of face our losses we will either get emotionally stuck, or risk having the feelings manifest themselves in some other way, sometimes in substance abuse, anxiety, depression, etc. Writing it out helps us to let it go.
- You may want to communicate something positive to someone you care about. Putting it in writing allows you to really consider your words carefully and accurately.
- You have something to say that will benefit others. You may have a particularly poignant testimony or a struggle that others will identify with and be encouraged to press through. Caring Bridge is an example of a place where people can share their stories and exchange support. Or you may have expertise that you are willing to give away as an act of generosity.
- Writing can be fun. When it’s about you it becomes a record of your life. If you are like me, you can forget all but the most important events with the passing of time. It makes it possible for others to know you at a deeper level either now or in years to come.