Wednesday, August 31, 2011

August Challenge: Last Question!

Today we come to the end of our August challenge. I hope your journals are bulging with the insights and reflections that these questions have prompted. Even if you didn't write down your answers, I hope you spent some time pondering your own personal answers as you went about your days. I hope that this little exercise has prompted some of you to journal more often and that, even in the absence of my questions, you will find things to write about.

If you like having prompts to get you started, I recommend googling "journaling prompts." There are whole sites devoted to providing questions like what I've been doing throughout the month. Maybe these will keep you going if you find you need a jumping-off place.

And also, if you'd like to learn more about journaling, I can recommend the books Journaling As A Spiritual Practice by Helen Cepero and Spiritual Journaling: Recording Your Journey Towards God by Richard Peace.

Finally, here's our last question:

In her book 1000 Gifts, Ann Voskamp describes why taking notice matters. She writes, "It takes a full 20 minutes after your stomach is full for your brain to register satiation. How long does it take your soul to realize that your life is full?"

How has journaling helped you to slow down, to pay attention? Why does paying attention matter in your life? What is it you don't want to miss?
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Tuesday, August 30, 2011

August Challenge: Twenty-First Question

We're almost to the end! Only one more day!

Flip through Proverbs and pick one that really speaks to where you are in life-- either your situation, your attitude, your outlook, etc. Write it down in your journal, then write about why that particular Proverbs appealed to you at this time and place in your life.
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Monday, August 29, 2011

August Challenge: Twentieth Question

Today is my youngest child's sixth birthday. I remember when my children were all little and I thought I'd never live through those days of constant demands and endless needs. Now I have no more preschoolers at my house! What stage of life are you in? Are you content or wishing it would end? Write about the view from where you are right now.
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Friday, August 26, 2011

August Challenge: Nineteenth Question

Write about the way you think people see you. Then write about the way you want people to see you. Finally, write about the way God sees you.
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Thursday, August 25, 2011

August Challenge: Eighteenth Question

Write about your favorite place in all the world. This can be a place you've visited, or long to visit. Why is it special to you? Write about any memories you treasure from that place.
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Wednesday, August 24, 2011

August Challenge: Seventeenth Question

The world watched as Kate and William exchanged vows. We marveled over the pomp and circumstance, the idea of a commoner and a royal falling in love, the dresses, the ceremony. Write about what marriage means to you-- whether you're married, seeking a spouse, divorced, separated, etc.
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Tuesday, August 23, 2011

August Challenge: Sixteenth Question

Write down ten things (or more) that make you happy. Why do they make you happy?
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Monday, August 22, 2011

August Challenge: Fifteenth Question

What did you want to be as a child? How was that desire an indicator of the person you'd become? If you have kids, write about how you can foster those desires (to help, to teach, to nurture, etc.) in them.
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Friday, August 19, 2011

August Challenge: The Fourteenth Question

Write about a time you were in need and someone helped you. Write out a prayer thanking God for sending that person into your life.
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Thursday, August 18, 2011

August Challenge: Thirteenth Question

Some people think the number 13 is an unlucky number. Do you ever feel unlucky? Read Psalm 73 about Asaph, who felt unlucky but then reached some wonderful conclusions. Journal some verses from this Psalm and why these verses were special to you.
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Wednesday, August 17, 2011

August Challenge: Twelfth Challenge

Make a list of ten things you'd like to accomplish before the end of this year. Why are these things important to you? Are these things you want to do or are they things you feel God is leading you to do? Why is it important to make that distinction?
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Tuesday, August 16, 2011

August Challenge: Eleventh Question

Write about a time you did something for someone and the person never knew you did it. If you can't think of a time, write out a plan for how you are going to make that happen this week.
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Monday, August 15, 2011

August Challenge: Tenth Question

Fill in the blank: It's time for me to start __________________.

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Friday, August 12, 2011

August Challenge: Ninth Question

What is the first thing you think about when you wake up each morning? Do you need to change that or are you good with where your thoughts run to?
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Thursday, August 11, 2011

August Challenge: Eighth Question

If you do these three things, your day is good. List the three things and write a bit about why those three things in particular make a better day.
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Wednesday, August 10, 2011

August Challenge: Seventh Question (A Guest Post!)

How are you doing with the challenge? If you're new to journaling, do you like it? Is it getting you thinking, pondering, reflecting? If you've been journaling, are these questions helping you take your journaling in a new direction? I hope so.

Today we have a special guest providing the question. Renee Swope is a long-time friend and the proud author of her first book, A Confident Heart. I asked Renee to join us today and provide a question that goes along with her book. She ended up sharing a whole post about how journaling (our focus this month) contributed to the content of her new book. And she's shared some questions for you to answer as well. Be sure to read all the way to the end and find your chance to win a copy of this book. Renee, take it away!

Do you ever feel like you’re not good enough, smart enough, or valuable enough? Me too.

I used to try my best to make my feelings of inadequacy go away. I’d go somewhere like the mall, or do something like organize my closet, or eat something like ice cream… hoping I could change the way I felt. But eventually, my yucky feelings of uncertainty would come back. Over time I learned that I couldn’t change the way I felt until I changed the way I thought.

The same is true for all of us: our thoughts determine how we feel, and our feelings greatly influence how we live. In my book, A Confident Heart, I share my story of overcoming a lifetime of self-doubt by exchanging my “against me” thoughts with scripture-based God is “for me” thoughts.

As I wrote the book, I traced the process of God changing me from the inside out through decades of my personal journals. By writing down my thoughts, fears and doubts I learned to identify where my feelings were coming from and thoughts that had triggered them. Writing them down help me name them. By naming them, I then knew how to ask God to help me process and overcome them.

Through the practice of journaling I learned how to exchange the uncertainty of my circumstances and emotions with the certainty of His promises. At the end of each chapter in A Confident Heart, I have reflections questions to help women identify their most common doubts, see how they are affecting their lives and learn how to replace their insecurities with the security of God’s promises. Here are a few questions from Chapter 1:

1. What is your earliest memory of doubting yourself or feeling insecure?

2. Has insecurity ever kept you from doing something?

3. Describe how it makes you feel when doubt whispers:

I can’t do this. Things will never change. My life isn’t going to get better. It’s too hard. I might as well quit.

4. Describe what happens in your heart when you read God’s words:

“Those who hope in me will not be disappointed” (Isa. 49:23).

“See, I am doing a new thing!” (Isa. 43:19).

“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose” (Rom. 8:28).

“All things are possible to [her] who believes” (Mark 9:23 NASB)

Read the first chapter of A Confident Heart

Watch the trailer for A Confident Heart

Sign up for the 7 Day Doubt Diet, which includes a week's worth of FREE devotions from A Confident Heart.

To enter to win a copy of A Confident Heart, share a link to this post with friends via Twitter, Facebook, email or on your blog. Let us know you did by clicking on the word “comments” below. Two winners will be announced Friday. (UPDATE: I HAVE EXTENDED THE DEADLINE UNTIL MONDAY! YOU CAN STILL LEAVE A COMMENT OVER THE WEEKEND!)

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Tuesday, August 09, 2011

August Challenge: Sixth Question

What is the nicest thing someone has said to you recently? Why did the compliment matter to you?

(To learn what the August Challenge is, scroll back to the August 1st post!)
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Monday, August 08, 2011

August Challenge: Fifth Question

What 3 things would you change about your life right now if you could? Why?

(To find out what the August Challenge is, scroll back to the August 1st post!)
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Friday, August 05, 2011

The August Challenge: Fourth Question

This week we've been asking ourselves questions about how we want to be in ten years. I hope these questions have made you think about yourself, your marriage, your family, your goals, etc. I am a big believer in intentional living. And this August challenge will hopefully help all of us to be more intentional as it gets us thinking. I am taking the challenge right along with you!

Here's the final question for this week. Don't forget to come back next week as we continue the challenge!

What do you want your family to look like in ten years?
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Thursday, August 04, 2011

The August Challenge: Third Question

Note: to find out what the August Challenge is, please go back to the posts from Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday of this week. Hope you'll participate and have fun with this!

What kind of personality do you want to have in ten years? How might you work on developing that between now and then?
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Wednesday, August 03, 2011

The August Challenge: Second Question

This week we're answering questions pertaining to ourselves in ten years. You can go back to Monday and Tuesday to catch up if you've missed out.

Second question is:

In ten years, what do you want to be known for?
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Tuesday, August 02, 2011

The August Challenge: First Question

For the rest of this week we're going to be thinking about ourselves in ten years. In ten years your kids might be teens. Or gone. Or you might have kids. In ten years you might be a grandmother. In ten years you might be working out of the home again. It's good to think about where the next ten years might take you.

With that in mind, first question is:

How do you want to be seen in ten years? Think beyond just one area of your life-- really dig into socially, spiritually, physically, etc.
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Monday, August 01, 2011

The August Challenge: Journaling

For the month of August I decided to do something different. I know many of us are finishing up vacations, taking last minute adventures, and trying to suck the marrow out of summer while others of us are preparing for a new school year, getting haircuts, and buying school supplies. Who has time to read blog posts?

So I decided that this month, each day I am going to post a quote, a question or a verse with a challenge to you to get out your journal and journal your response. Don't have a journal? Go buy one! And get a good pen while you're at it. Or, open up a file in Word and start typing it all out if that works better for you. The point is, to write.

For the rest of this week I am going to have questions that will get you thinking about yourself in ten years. I think that not only thinking about these things, but writing them down, is a good exercise for all of us. I plan to join you too. I hope that this month we'll discover some things about ourselves, setting the tone for what is-- for most of us-- just as much the start of a new year as turning the calendar to January.

I hope you'll play along and participate in this little month-long challenge!
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