I’ve journaled faithfully since I was about 8 years old. Writing has always been my most effective way to process things. I’m a big believer in staying positive, so over the past few years, I’ve stayed sunny on the outside. However, I’ve used my journal as an outlet to vent about my homemaking woes. Virtually every entry spewed frustration over all the things I wasn’t getting done, how my house wasn’t as clean or orderly as it needed to be, how weary I was, how upset I felt that my meals weren’t up to my standard (or probably anyone else’s) and on and on. It helped, I thought. At least I wasn’t taking out these frustrations on everyone else.
Finally I realized that my journal was no longer a healthy outlet that helped me process my frustrations, but rather a tool that kept me stuck in them. Rather than being therapeutic, it had become toxic. For awhile I contemplated giving up journaling altogether, but after so many years of writing, that made me feel really lost. So I decided to try a different approach. A few months ago I began a new journal, based on Jewels’ beautiful inspiration journal, and I have just one rule: It must stay positive. I don’t want my kids to find these books one day and have a lopsided view of me as a strung-out, upset, frustrated, tired mama who is overwhelmed by my life. Although I feel that way at times, that’s only a tiny fraction of my whole existence. Most of my life is amazing. I’m happy most of the time, and more blessed than most people I know.
On the first page, I wrote this verse as a reminder:
Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. (Philippians 4:8 KJV)
Guess what? Journaling is once again a joy. And since I am not allowing myself to write negative thoughts—in my life, the most powerful confirmation of feeling—I no longer feel so frustrated. Dissatisfied with my shortcomings as a homemaker, yes, but I think I am moving in a better direction, slowly but surely. A life focused on the best things is so much sweeter!