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Tuesday, June 7, 2016

How to Journal Your Way to Solutions

I love when life flows along smoothly and problems and difficulties fade away into the background. During those times, it's fun to sit back, relax and enjoy life. Unfortunately those times are rarely permanent and things come along that have to be fixed. The solution may be obvious - a spill that has to be cleaned up, a flat tire that has to be repaired, a diaper that needs to be changed. Some solutions are more complicated - an intermittently malfunctioning appliance, unexpected expenses without money in the budget to cover them, a strong-willed child getting into trouble. Then there are difficulties that are not only complicated, but finding a solution may feel overwhelming - caring for an aging parent, a family member facing a chronic or terminal illness, the loss of a job, a deeply damaged relationship, financial turmoil, a child whose poor choices have led them down a rocky path.

Simple solutions don't require a great deal of thinking, although implementing them may be frustrating and time-consuming, they are obvious. However, as the problems become more and more complicated and complex, finding solutions may require research, reflection, and experimentation. In "Finding Solutions" I discussed one methodical approach to finding a solution. Tonight, we'll think through how to use your journal to find solutions. 

Think Outside the Box. Use your journal to answer some reflective questions, ones that may help you to gain insight into solutions that may be in front of you or hidden in you that you have not yet recognized.

What is the outcome you desire? What does it take to get there? What steps can you take in the next week?

What does God say about the situation you're facing? (If you are not sure what God might have to say, you might use a concordance or a resource such as to look up a key word that will help you find specific verses related to your challenge.)

In a perfect world what would the solution be? Are there parts of that solution that could apply or help in an imperfect world?

Are there people or resources that could help you find a solution to this challenge? Who are they? How could you contact them? (If it is someone who is no longer with you, what do you think they might say to you if you could talk to them?)

Draw Conclusions. Take a few minutes to review your answers to the questions. Then answer these two questions:

  • What possible solutions have surfaced?
  • What can you do to pursue them?

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