I filled up my journal today, which is to say that I wrote on its last empty page this morning. This was a journal I have carried around with me since 2007. I still remember the first time I spotted it on the shelves of the TBC bookshop in Sarit Center. It made me laugh, something I still do to this day whenever I pick it up. On its cover are images of sheep standing upright (shamba la wanyama style) along with the line – beware of the sheep :-).

2007 is also the year I purchased my first laptop (still in use to write this post). And with the laptop came more typing and less hand-journaling. I have never been fond of writing by hand, in fact I often joke that if handwriting was a determinant then I should certainly be a doctor – they of the illegible prescriptions fame. Believe me its bad, I can hardly read some of the thoughts I put down in the journal.

Yet I still love to write in my journal. Reading through the writing brings me many wonderful memories as well as insight into how far I have come. It also offers a wonderful birds-eye perspective of life in general. With powerful reminders that God does work everything out for my good, that nothing in this world is permanent or repeatable, that I am much stronger than I think I am…it’s never the same on a computer. I have lost numerous intimate reflections to reformatting and bad organization (mostly because I cannot remember where I last saved them 😦 ).

Handwriting can say a lot about a person. During my short stint as a teaching assistant of 7 year olds, I remember being taught to pay attention to how they write…especially on the blackboard in front of the class. I learned that writing straight on a blackboard wall has a lot do with being truly centered. Centered here referring to that balanced peaceful place where one has a healthy image of themselves and the world. At the time I was going through a disillusioned phase and no matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t keep my writing horizontal. It would always slant, sometimes upwards but most times it dipped downwards. I know it’s not an exact science but isn’t it interesting how our unconscious actions can point to the state of our inner mind/heart?

My bowling experience last week was some-what like that, actually worse than that. I was a bowling group’s horror. My ball would start out in the center and about half-way make a contour toward the pit on the side of the aisle. It would have been a perfect curve-ball for a soft-ball or cricket game. And the ball was right, I was bowling exactly as I felt. Tired, frustrated and emotionally out of sync.

It’s hard to remain centered when things are happening that I would rather were not. Being centered here means taking in information without clouding it with expectations or fear; instead making creative, intuitive decisions whose axis is the knowledge of myself as God’s beloved. It’s even harder to feel centered when a full day has provided me no time to digest my feelings or give perspective to my fears. On such days ”faking it till I make it” is what I tend to do.

And this pretense feels dishonest and deceitful. Much like lying, pretense makes us conflicted and weak. Conversely, truth and honesty are associated with strength and peace. We see this in lie detector tests or even hand-wrestling. If you want to win an arm wrestling match, ask your opponent to repeat something personal that they also know to be untrue. It can be anything, just a statement…like “I have never lied to my partner.” Try it, they will not be able to push against you and lie at the same time! Again, not a science but in my limited experimentation, spot on.

Doesn’t that make you want to be more honest, more truthful, more fearless, more centered? It makes me want to find that place where I can hear God’s voice of truth most clearly; where I am in step with the world around me; where I can counter anxiety or frustration with God-centered belonging and love.

Any ideas on how I can do that? On a busy demanding day, how do you keep yourself centered?

Song Of The Week – I choose to be dancing – Donnie Mcclurkin


9 thoughts on “Curve-balls

  1. That is a beautiful piece of writing. How to keep balance while the realities of our world are frustrating and tiring is by having clear vision of what we actually want. Examine what frustrates you and see whether you are in any way expecting others to be in charge of your fulfillment. If you see yourself as a servant of the Most High God who is serving through the people that you are interacting with, then you may realize the shape of what was frustrating changes. If you view your service as an act of worship to God, then your getting tired may also be sorted out. You are so right in saying that the map we have inside our minds has a bearing on what we see in this life and so our focus should be on examining the inside map. Genesis 3:11 ‘Who told you . . . should be the criteria as we examine our deeply held assumptions.

    • Thanks Momo…you are right…correct God-centered perspective is a wonderful way to stay centered. Remembering that everything I do is a part of his greater plan.

      Read this today – “When a future-oriented worry assails you, capture it and disarm it by suffusing the Light of My Presence into that mental image. Say to yourself, “Jesus will be with me then and there. With His help, I can cope!” Then, come home to the present moment, where you can enjoy Peace in My Presence.”- from today’s Jesus Calling Devotional (Mandisa)

  2. i am trying too be task oriented. with every task is an underlying reason for the task which must make sense to me in the bigger scale of things. when i succeed at this i feel centered. the tasks i try to be all rounded, like e mail a friend, read a blog, including the things i need to do at work. does that help?

    • Read this devotional today (from the Christian Working Woman website) that i think puts into context the conundrum many women find themselves in when their feelings are getting in the way.

      Women put feelings before thoughts.
      This has been seen as a weakness in women and men tend to look down on us for it. But this is the way God created us, and it’s a good thing some of us are “touchy/feely” people. Otherwise it could be a pretty brutal world. We women have to work through our feelings before we can think about problem solution. Men tend to put their feelings on hold until they can think the thing through.

      I am sure being task-oriented works….but when my feelings are in the way of my task…how do i even begin to focus on it?

  3. I totally identify on more than one aspect, from the handwritten journal to the terrible bowling. Although despite my constantly deteriorating hand writing, I feel my thoughts flow better when I pen them before typing. I also got my first laptop in 2007 and still have it…this is almost serendipitous(always looking for a way to use that word, it almost fit here) 😉
    This–> “It makes me want to find that place where I can hear God’s voice of truth most clearly; where I am in step with the world around me; where I can counter anxiety or frustration with God-centered belonging and love.” Totally sums it up for me!
    What keeps me centred me? –> Writing and Music, the writing could be un-voiced prayers or reflections and the music is much in line with the one embedded up here. Singing and annoying the neighbors works just as well 😉

    • Love the Serendipity of it all. Your comment right here is the reason why i write, you get me 🙂 (Doing a funny dance right now).I listen to song lyrics sooo much, they stay with me, they tend to be what i remember and thus sing out-loud wherever i go…and writing feels like speaking to myself, when i see my thoughts laid out on the pages it feels like i am finally getting a handle of them……

      Thank you for feeling me and hurrah to finding the little things that keep us centered and grounded.

  4. ha ha ha i cant help but laugh at myself, the first tine i ever tried writting on a board on a straight line was such a fail i felt bad,intimidated and angry ! i dont think i have wanted things to go straight since, even in my walk with God, i have been to all sorts of curves but i appreciate the lessons learnt there because they now make my straight journey lighter,bearable,doable.

    How do i know try and keep centered, well i ask Him to guide and lead my day and hope that i dont force my way.


  5. wow….so many comments… you see, you have more than 3 readers after all!! i liked it… i’ve been journaling a lot myself these days… i like it, always have, for the same reasons that you listed…

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