I started this journal way back in 2001, when I was frustrated and needed a place to write it all out. I ran into enough mild annoyances getting it started, that I'd run out of steam by the time I wrote my first entry. Over the years, I've used this journal to write about my days, to plan my weeks, to chronicle events that I didn't want to forget, and to work out my "stuff" on a blank canvas. I rarely filter these entries, but there was a time when I was rather scrupulous about using nicknames and distancing my journal from me and hiding from web-crawlers. I felt the presence of the audience; anonymous people I didn't know, who I felt wouldn't be able to connect my journal back to me, and a very small circle of friends to whom I gave the journal id.
Live Journal is the first instance of my ever consistently journalling. I've dozens of paper journals, with few entries. In my youth, they were dated diaries with keyed locks. As I learned more about myself, they became lined, blank journals. I found that the audience, no matter how anonymous, is a vital foil. Without audience, I have no voice. I still use these blank books. A journal for lists, for notes from service, for maps to friends' houses. A journal for prayers. I've learned about journalling prayers, and through the emotion evident in my handwriting, I can look back and see God's hand on me during the prayer.
I started my LJ during a carefree time. It's been with me through reckless days, through deeply emotional days, through a descent into stress-filled, dark times. It's been a shallow overview of daily errands, a canvas for optimistic dreams, and a dumping ground of pure venting. It has never occurred to me to temper my words for my "audience." I've occasionally filtered the contents for such happy entries as surprise party plans, and for terrible, mean-spirited fights.
In 2006, when I came to Christ, a major stone that was lifted from me was secrecy and hiding. I became a treasured child of God, pure and forgiven. And there was nothing in my past or present that would turn Christ or my loving community at Quest away from me. It seemed natural to pull my Mom back into the hidden places in my life; I didn't merely give her the URL for my journal, I had Critter show her how to add it to her Safari RSS feeds, so she could know when I updated it. I sign my emails with my URL.
And, actually as a result of this writing competition, I've begun to understand.
My journal doesn't belong to me. It belongs to Him. In the same way that my life belongs to Him. My words are read, examined, even judged by others, just as my actions are. I am still human, still an imperfect child, still learning my first steps. But even my mistakes are laid out for others here. This is my life, lived for Him, for others to question, perhaps to learn.