Old Found Journals

But I have this against you, that you have abandoned the love you had at first.”

– Rev. 2:4, ESV

This month, I’ve spent many hours flipping through old journals. Most of them are simple college-ruled, spiral-bound notebooks, because I’ve found that when I’m spinning thoughts in ink, I only want thin paper and a spine that lies flat; everything else is a distraction.

The words written in them are often florid and rambling — still the default state of my brain — but I am struck now to see how earnest I was, ten to twenty years ago, in seeking and waiting on God.

There’s a long entry of repentance. Excerpts from sermons. Prayers for others listed in bullet point and spread over long paragraphs, and thoughts and worries about salvation, boys, papers, family troubles, tuition. Peppered in between are old treasures: words I’d forgotten, by saints who’ve gone before.

The most difficult person to deal with is the one who has the smug satisfaction of an experience to which he can refer back, but who is not working it out in practical life.

– Oswald Chambers

If you who set yourselves to explain the theory of Christianity, had set yourselves instead to do the will of the Master, the one object for which the Gospel was preached to you, how different would now be the condition of that portion of the world with which you come into contact! Had you given yourselves to the understanding of His Word that you might do it, and not to the quarrying from it of material wherewith to buttress your systems, in many a heart by this time would the name of the Lord be loved where now it remains unknown.

– George MacDonald

I find myself challenged by them just as much as I was when I first read them, if not more. I am not the same as the child who copied them down, and can feel grating where I’ve become embrittled over the years. Both quotes cut keenly on this Monday afternoon.

Reading back through circumstances that burned like fire at the time and which I scarcely recall now, through the wiser words of others, through the hunger that has smoldered and sparked by turns for the past twenty years, I turn pages and sit very still. And I think, perhaps this —

this is how to remember my first love.



This post is part of a 31 day series about Loving God as an Introvert

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