• Abby Cirkles

The Secret To My Sanity

Updated: Oct 28, 2019




Processing is a life skill. When happy things, sad things, confusing things, awkward things, fill in the blank happens, you have to press pause and let it soak in. When I don't process I tend to bottle in thoughts and emotions and it turns into stress and emotional living. I’ve learned processing in the presence of God is the secret to my sanity. I know that sounds dramatic but honestly, getting God’s thoughts about your thoughts will change your walk of faith for the better! I know people who process aloud through a prayer walk, or creativity through sketches, but for me personally, journaling is the secret ingredient. The Lord speaks profoundly to me through words and writing. (He seems to like that method, doesn't He?) We’ll keep it simple this week. Here are some basic formats you could try during your Devotional Time this week. (The italic writing is a peek into my journals to give you some examples.) Remember, your time with Jesus is about friendship not finishing a list. If your time with the Lord is about checking off "Read Bible" from your to-do list, you're missing the point. Your time with the Lord is most fun and fruitful when there is a conversation : You talking to the Lord and The Lord talking to you. Let's get started on my three favorite practical formats.

1. Example One : "Thoroughly Thoughtful"

*This one takes the longest. I usually go this route if I have more than 30 mins for my devotional time.

I know my handwriting needs some healing but here's a basic idea of the layout that is expanded on below.

Date: October 28, 2019 Jesus, today you are my Strength.

Today I am thankful for : 1. Waking up with no sore throat after a week of coughing. 2. Your presence that goes with me to work today. 3. This morning's beautiful sunrise.

Today I am trusting you to: 1. Give me patience during Oliver's growth spurt. 2. Send peace to my dear grieving friend. 3. Help my Pastors as they love and lead us well. Bible Passage:

Psalms 68

Thoughts:

This passage is SO rich. (*I want to look up the following words or places I didn't know : Mount Bashan, Princes of Zebulun.) One verse that stood out to me was "But may the righteous be glad and rejoice before God; may they be happy and joyful." Lord, this is your portion for me as a daughter of righteousness. Help me Holy Spirit to live a life that is rejoicing before God. May my life have the reputation of being a woman who is happy and joyful.

Prayer:

  • Grace for Ryan

  • Development for Oliver

  • Stamina for Church Team in Nigeria

  • Wisdom for solutions at work

  • Sudan

2. Example Two: "Diary Status"

*If something is weighing on my mind or I'm facing a big life decision I always go to "Diary Status."

Diary Status usually happens when there's something specific that I want to talk about with the Lord. This usually happens on my back porch with a cup of tea in my favorite honeymoon mug.

Good Morning, Jesus, Thank you for giving me fresh mercies today. Yesterday was a really draining day, but I'm grateful for your presence that was with me every step of the way. Today Oliver has a doctors appointment. I'm a little discouraged that he's not crawling yet, but I know all babies grow at their own pace. I of all people know this to be true from textbooks, but now that I'm here and looking at other babies I'm having a flood of emotions I wasn't expecting when I see Oliver "behind" in areas. On the flip side, he is way ahead on the teething journey. He just broke gum on his fifth tooth with the sixth being seen too. This creates a new prayer for my breastfeeding journey. Jesus, what are your thoughts on that? Is it okay to wean him or should I keep going? I know what research says but you know what's best for me and Oliver so I lean on you with this decision. I love you Lord. I choose you again today. I desire to live today in a way that pleases you, full of faith. As I love Ryan, and I steward Oliver, as I train students, as I make decisions for the children at the church, and as I interact online, help me to reflect You and your heart. Thank you for giving me wisdom on these matters that are weighing on my heart.


Yours Forever,

Abby

3. Example Three: Learning to Listen *This one is my favorite. It REALLY stretches my faith.

This is my normal morning view and my normal journaling method in this season. "Learning to Listen" takes the least amount of time but has a profound impact on my mental state for getting an eternal mindset for the day.

There are only 2 sections to this method: I split my page in half and start to listen. I write out my actual dialogue with the Lord. I put anything Jesus says to me in brackets. This simply makes it easier when I'm going back over my journals to follow the rabbit trail conversations I have with Him.

1. Affirmation : Who does Jesus say I am?

Jesus, Thank you for choosing me today. I choose you. What do you think of me today?

[Abigail, you are so very capable. You are a woman of wisdom. I LOVE my time with you. I'm so happy you caught the sunrise this morning as you were going to wake up Oliver. I had hoped you would see it. I knew you would love it. You are my delight, My Darling. I love and trust you fully.]

Thank you Jesus, I need that reminder. And Thank you for that sunrise! You know me so well :).

2. Assignments : What are you asking of me today, Jesus?

Today I have a lot to do, but I want my steps to be ordered of you. What should I focus on today?

  • [Vacuum.

  • Get $40 cash out today.

  • Write Ryan an encouragement in reminding him of how proud you are of him.]

Yes, Sir. Thank you for guiding my steps and stops today.

(*Aside Moment : Abby here. Obviously. Those three simple examples above are real-life examples . I was going to vacuum during the weekend but when I vacuumed that day as the Lord told me, I found a dime hidden, right where Oliver plays. He could have choked if he got to it before I did. The $40 was used to bless a lady I ran into during errands. And Ryan really needed some extra love on a hard day that he wasn't expecting. Moral of this story... sometimes these assignments are "big" life changing things, but sometimes they are small things that make a big difference in your day.)

So there you go. Those are my three go-to journaling methods. Whether you do this on paper, or digitally, I encourage you this week to give it a go. Incorporate some journaling into your faith practice and life processing. God is a genius and has really good thoughts about your life. Happy Scribing, Abby ***Don't forget, the Cirkles are cheering you on!


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