GOD’S NOTEBOOK – GOT ONE?
Got a journal? I don’t. Ever since I can remember, I’ve heard people recommend keeping a journal. Been there; done that. Lots. In fact, not too many years ago, I went to the landfill with countless journals – crates-full of journals. I dumped them. Journals in all sorts of shapes, sizes, and colors – full of it. Of stuff. Full of me. My stuff. I don’t recommend dumping journals like I did; in fact, I regretted it afterward. I thought I could get rid of the past by ridding myself of them – not so. But I’m happy to say I no longer keep a journal. Those were the days. I’ve moved on – to a notebook. And I’m not just talking about any ordinary notebook. I’ve moved on to God’s Notebook. What’s that, you say?
God’s Notebook is something special alright. Truly special. And unique. This time, it’s not all about me. This time, it’s about God. My journals were full of wanderings, musings, meanderings, rantings, moaning, complaining, murmuring, tears, troubles, trials, tribulations, triumphs, victories, love, loves, more tears, losses, tragedies, conversations, a prayer here and there, sometimes, and on – and on, and yes, on some more. One of the reasons I threw them all away was because of all the judgment and condemnation I saw in them. So much hurt, so much pain. Just as much as life weighed me down, my journals carried the weight. But God’s Notebook is altogether different.
Just weeks ago, I returned to something I had stopped some months ago. I had not stopped intentionally, at least as far as I can remember. I simply stopped. I had not been keeping journals the way I had in the past. Well, not entirely anyway. I had started filling notebooks with me – and with God. I would “share my stuff” in them, but I would also write down what I heard from God. More and more, I would hear from God. I would write it down. And sometimes I would even go back to it. But then, like I said, I stopped. No more. I closed the notebooks, and to be totally honest, I stopped hearing from God so much. Not only had I shut the notebooks, but I had shut down a whole bunch of hearing from Him. Because as I have discovered in my life, one of the best ways I hear from God aside from studying the Bible is when I write.
When I returned to writing what I heard from God, wow. Amazing. It’s like I went from static radio to satellite. I could hear so clearly – and so much. And that’s when, a few weeks into it, I discovered I had “stumbled upon” – though it was probably no accident – something way more wonderful than keeping a journal.
I had fallen upon a phenomenal blessing. God’s Notebook. See, I don’t see the notebook as mine. It’s His. Those beautiful blank pages (as a writer, I love the blank pages because there is so much possibility and potential there) no longer get filled with, “this is what happened today,” and “this is what I said to him when he did such and such,” and “oh my God, this hurts so much.” Sure, I throw in a few sentences here and there AS I TALK TO GOD of what’s going on. But it’s no longer in the context of keeping a journal of my life.
Because if the truth be told, my life is really not so important that I need a journal of it. But HIS LIFE in me, and HIS LIFE through me, and WHAT HE WANTS TO SPEAK TO ME, and what HE WANTS TO TEACH ME, and WHAT HE WANTS ME TO DO, and so on, well, need I say more? I want my life to be about Him, not me. And anything that has to do with me, I want it to be in the context of God.
My God’s Notebook is the perfect place for the amazing conversations I have with the Lord. And in case anyone doesn’t believe it’s possible to hear from God, check out the Bible. It’s pretty clear. And if anyone wonders how I know I’m hearing from God, I have a simple test. If what I hear Him tell me lines up with the Bible, I’m hearing from Him. If I “hear something” that is not biblical, I’m quite certain it’s not Him. I also seek godly counsel from brothers and sisters in the Lord who study the Bible to make sure I’m on track. And, truthfully, hearing from God is something I have learned to do through the years. But that’s really another topic.
As for God’s Notebook, the greatest blessing in my life is my intimacy with the Lord. God’s Notebook is one piece of this intimacy. It’s one way in which I spend time with Him, connect to Him, engage in communication and fellowship with Him, enjoy His company, pay attention to Him, focus on Him, get my instructions for my life, love on Him and receive His loving, get blessed by His Presence, etc.
Sometimes all I do is open up God’s Notebook and begin to listen. He starts speaking; I start writing. Sometimes I write Him a question, or share a concern, or open up my heart. Then I listen. He speaks; I write. My writing is how I listen to Him in this time together. Sometimes I start gushing at the mouth (well, okay, the pen), and guess what happens. He says to me something like, “Are you done yet? Would you like to hear what I have to say?”
Funny that He should ask. Given my background of keeping journals that were ALL about me, and then keeping journals that were MOSTLY about me and a LITTLE about Him, and given my desire to learn to live a life that is ALL ABOUT HIM living in and through me, imagine my surprise when He reminds me it would be a good idea to learn to LISTEN. Okay, I confess. I still LOVE to talk. Probably always will. And I still LOVE to write. But what a blessing it is to direct my TALK and my WRITING toward God – and to LISTEN to what He has to say. What a beautiful blessing, yes!
Do I go back and read what God has to say? Absolutely. In fact, sometimes I take a highlighter and underline stuff, and sometimes I take notes. After all, this is GOD speaking to me! Sometimes I go straight into prayer. God uses God’s Notebook to convict me of things at times. Just a day or two ago, He showed me I had something awful in my heart. I hadn’t even known! I hadn’t known until I took the time to spend with Him and His Notebook. So I didn’t run off when I was done to get back to the rest of my life. I went to my knees to pray in repentance. I felt fresh when I was done – clean and ready to transition back into my daily life.
Am I someone who recommends to people that they keep a journal? Nope. But then, nor am I someone that recommends that they get begin keeping a God’s Notebook. Why is that? Because I really don’t know if that’s what God wants for someone else’s life. I’m only quite certain He wants it for mine. And if in fact sharing my own experience with God’s Notebook spurs someone on to hear from God about starting their own, well then, praise the Lord.
Speaking of God’s Notebook, I look forward today to seeing what He has to say. For someone who has spent as much of my life as I have talking and writing, it’s truly refreshing – and amazing and awesome – to take the time to LISTEN to what the Creator of the universe has to say for a change…………