education

Creating a Victory Journal

One of the things that I find most amusing as I reflect back on my life is that the times that were the hardest, are also the times in which I learned the most about myself. I’m grateful for those lessons, but I don’t like to go through the hard times. No one does.
Yet, they occur in each of our lives, and we are forced to figure out solutions to problems that we never wanted to encounter. Problems or challenges like these push us to new discoveries, and while we’ve heard that a thousand times, we’ve also forgotten it a thousand and one times.
Think about the athletes who’ve done great things that no one thought the human body could do. Or the scientists who made new discoveries out of great human suffering and adversity. Or the average folks who have gone beyond their natural skills and found out that they can do more than they thought. Maybe you’ve experienced this, too.
The question becomes, then, why do we forget these lessons so easily? We can all relate to being in the middle of a challenge and feeling the heaviness of heart, the fatigue, the sadness, or even the depression that comes from not seeing an immediate answer. But rather than remembering our previous successes, we tend to see each new crisis as a new obstacle.
Here’s a suggestion to overcome this habit, because in many respects, that what this is. We have developed a habit of selective forgetfulness. Instead of letting yourself get wiped out, physically, mentally, or spiritually by a new challenge, try creating a victory journal. You can actually call it anything you like, but the idea is to recap each of the major obstacles that you’ve encountered in your life, and how you overcame them.
In a journal or notebook, write down one “challenge” per page. Describe the situation, and if you can remember, how you were feeling at the time that you went through it. Then, detail what you learned through this event or how the situation was resolved. This “victory” portion must be positive. Look for the upside of what happened, and while there may still be some residual discomfort, if you focus on the positives, with particular attention to what you learned about your own resiliency, then you will begin crafting a journal that speaks to your strengths. This journal will be a reminder for the next time you face a challenge. Going into any new challenge with a history of your proven track record makes the challenge far less daunting!
As a Christian, I am reminded often that, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” (Phil. 4:13) That doesn’t mean that I can do whatever I want, but it means that through Christ, I can do what I need to do when it’s time to do more than I think I can, because He helps me. It’s because of Him that I can do more.
In my victory journal, the evidence to that is clear. I can see God’s hand upon my previous challenges, and therefore I know He is right here with me for any new ones. This becomes my living testimony, my victory (in Christ) journal, and that’s a journal worth remembering.