Winter Journaling Prompts
As we enter a new season, it’s only natural to have expectations for the months to come. Expectations aren’t a bad thing but when left lingering in the back of our mind, expectations can become destructive- causing anxiety, frustration, and more. When we aren’t mindful of our expectations for any season, event, or relationship, we can easily lose our grounding in the present moment – we focus on what could be or should be as opposed to what is.
“Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear?’ For it is the Gentiles who strive for all these things; and indeed your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But strive first for the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.”
— Matthew 6:31-33
Matthew 6:25-34 reminds us that God takes such gentle care of each flower, each bird, and He will take gentle care of each of us as well. Matthew urges his readers to not worry about the days to come, but to keep their focus on the ways that God is working in the present moment. I encourage you to join me in the following journaling exercise to help us become aware of our expectations for the fall season, as well as to open ourselves up to see what God is doing right now.
What You’ll Need:
A comfortable place to sit
A New Season Journaling Exercise:
Step 1: Get Comfortable
Find a comfortable seat. At the front of your desk chair, on the floor, legs crossed, or uncrossed, whatever feels most natural to you and will allow you to write comfortably in your journal. Notice your sit bones engaging with your seat, maybe you rock yourself side to side until you feel your weight spreading evenly into the support beneath you.
Take a big, slow inhale through the nose, and a long, full exhale through the nose.
Step 2: Timed Reading
St a timer for 2 minutes. In those 2 minutes, write down as many expectations you might have about this fall season. Expectations for how you might feel, what you might learn, events you might attend, traditions you might participate in, anything! Do your best to keep writing for the full 2 minutes. Ready, set, go.
When the timer goes off, take a deep breath. In through the nose, out through the mouth with a big sigh. One more just like that.
We gain the most out of any season or experience when we can let go of expectations and be fully present for what God is doing right here, right now. All those expectations you just wrote down? I encourage you to leave them, and any others, on the page. The first step is to recognize our expectations, the hard part is to let them go.
Step 3: Noticing
Open up your Bible and read Matthew 6:25-34 two times, noticing what parts of this passage stick out to you the most. Flip the page, set your timer for another 2 minutes, and on this new, fresh page, write down everything you notice about this present moment. The sights, sounds, smells that surround you, ways that you feel God moving. Do your best to refrain from making judgments about any of these things being good, bad, or otherwise. Just notice what is right now. Ready, set, go.
When the timer goes off, take a deep breath. In through the nose, out through the mouth with a big sigh. One more just like that. Return to Matthew 6 and re-read whatever part of that passage stood out to you the most.
Step 4: Prayer
Spend a few moments in prayer. Praising God for the way He faithfully cares for us and asking Him to guide you this season and to give you the gift of awareness in the present moment.
As we move through the fall season of 2020 I encourage you to let go of expectations, and be present right now, in each moment as it comes, knowing that God will meet you exactly where you are. Return to this exercise as often as you need. In times where I am especially struggling with my expectations taking control over my mental landscape, I will go through this exercise every morning to ground myself for the day ahead of me. Share in the comments below what God is teaching you in this season and how you are learning to be fully present to his presence.