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Clearing the Mental Clutter

Once I stop writing, it's always hard to start again.

It happens most with my journaling. There was a season in my life that lasted *years* when I journaled every single night. If I go back to my box of old journals I could tell you when I fell out of the habit.

Without pulling them off the shelf in my closet I'm going to guess it was sophomore or junior year of college. When course load, stress, and depression started taking its toll.

The hardest part of picking up the pen again is this irrational thought that I have to "catch up" my journal. That I have to explain everything that has happened since I last wrote.

And the longer it's been, the more work that is, the more overwhelming it feels. So the less likely I am to pick up my journal, my pen. Even when I know that physically writing, mentally processing in words is what my brain, my soul most needs.

I joked that I unintentionally gave up blogging for Lent this year. The reality is Lent coincided with the start of some significant transitions, especially in my work. We are still in the midst of those transitions, because change is a slow, gradual process.

In the past I have shared prayers I have written for other people, for situations larger than myself. My prayers over the last few month have been more personal, more raw, more vulnerable. They have been between God and me and rarely ever found written form.

But I miss finding and cementing my prayers in writing. There is a time for nebulous, fleeting, momentary prayer. But there is also value in recording the cries of our hearts - just look at the Psalms - prayers that bridge thousands of years to show we are not alone in our pain, our anger, or our praise.

Wading through so much transition, so much change, and the emotions it all brings, I know I need to get back to journaling. But the pressure to record every thought, every detail was getting in the way of simply writing, simply starting to put pen to page. So I found a solution: a One Line a Day 5 Year Journal.

Limited space each day. Record the important things. The moments to remember, the successes and the struggles. No catching up. No back story. No retracing my steps or lengthy mental monologues. Every day for 3 months and still going.

And now, when my hand aches to write out the thoughts, the swirl of wonderings, hopes, and fears, the weight of days left unrecorded doesn't keep me from picking up my other journal. The one with unlimited space and no dates. Lines with room for big, messy thoughts that come too fast for my hand.

I can feel the mental clutter, the thoughts that repeat for fear of being lost, the unexamined emotions that pile in the corner like forgotten laundry, starting to thin out. Rearranging themselves to make room for creativity and focus.

Right now, it's just a corner. A section of a desk maybe. But it's a start. And as my fingers itch to type and not just write, my prayer has become...

God, help me make space.

Creator, help me create.

Wisdom, untangle the knots that crowd my mind.

May it be so.

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