Focus on Faith

Phil Collins is Pastor at Willow Park Church Kelowna.

The word of the year is “lockdown,” the unifying experience across the world, as we play our part in preventing the spread of COVID-19. Lockdown does not have to mean breakdown.

Dr. Bonnie Henry explains the new province-wide orders. One being all faith communities are to move online. It is time to step back, stay close to home, and not gather. I have written about kindness, positivity, keeping perspective; it is the most challenging race. How can you avoid the breakdown, avoid depression, and overwhelming worry?

One of the practices I highly value is spiritual journaling. It started when I was the CEO of a large charity and facing significant problems. I remember feeling stressed and overwhelmed.

I decided to surface from my bed, which felt like it was pinning me down, and decided to take the long walk along the old Worcestershire paths. I arrived at an ancient grey parish church, circled by gnarled Oaks.

I sat on the stone pew, looking up at the stained glass windows set within the grey brick walls. My mind was noisy with dread.

After a while, I pulled out my rarely-used journal and began to scribe. An hour must have passed as I noticed colours dancing along the page as sunlight gleamed through the stained-glass windows. With a gentle warmth, my mood improved.

What was happening around me was happening within me as I scribbled. I was starting to see the light. There is power in spewing our crushing thoughts onto paper. It can remove pain and pollution, bring clarity, and often relief.

Writing helps us stay connected to God. When you review the prose, you will be less inclined to drift as you remember what God has accomplished for you and your family. Writing reminds us of the promises received while you have been reading the bible.

When you rehearse what God has done for you; it will build your faith and your family's faith. The Psalms are an example of profound expression, of struggles and joys. We are encouraged to remember God, to forget not all He has done, I know this can be achieved by writing, and practically we remember 70% more if you write it!

The Psalmist captures this thought, 'we will tell the next generation the praiseworthy deeds of the Lord, his power, and the wonders he has done. They would then put their trust in God and not forget his deeds but would keep his commands.

Psalm 78:4 or Psalm 102:18 – Let this be written for a future generation that a people not yet created may praise the Lord.

I see journaling as a way of bringing light to the stained-glass window of our troubled soul, letting the spectrum of light shine.

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Phil Collins is pastor at Willow Park Church in Kelowna.