In his book Dialogue With God, Mark Verkeler tells of his first journaling experience. Judy, a rebellious teen who was living with their family, had been breaking the house rules, and he decided it was time to confront her. He intended to tell her that if she didn't live by the rules, she would have to leave. She was still at school, so he went to his office to pray while waiting for her.
The concept of journaling had just been introduced to him, so he decided to give it a try. He felt impressed to ask for specific things, so he asked, "What about Judy, Lord?"
At that moment, a thought came into his mind: "Love unconditionally!" He thought that sounded good, so he wrote it down.
Next he asked Jesus, "Lord, do You want to say anything else?"
This time again a spontaneous thought entered his mind. "She is very insecure."
He recognized that these thoughts had not come from him. He had his own ideas on how to handle Judy: firmness and love, but mostly firmness. Now his journal was saying to express mostly love.
So he acted on the word he had received. Instead of blasting her with condemnation, he had a very loving talk with her expressing their love, acceptance, and concern for her. There was no negative reaction such as might have come if he had handled it his way. Judy remained with them for over a year longer, growing as part of their family. What he had seen as rebellion, Jesus, looking deeper, had seen as insecurity.
Dear Jesus, You are the Master Counselor. Help us to remember to look to You when we want to change others.
"I thank and praise you, O God of my fathers: You have given me wisdom and power, you have made known to me what we asked of you" (Daniel 2:23).