• nikkialister

Journal Prompts - a focus on the future

I am writing this from South Africa in April of 2020. We are currently in lockdown, a measure taken to flatten the curve of COVID-19. It feels like the world has gone mad as borders have closed, flights have been cancelled and life has come to a relative standstill for many.

I am sure I am not the only one that is struggling with anxiety over this awful virus and the real impact it has had on our lives. From time to time I am struck by the awful inconvenience of it all. It feels childish but I’d love to continue with my weekly routine of work, errands, family meals and church services. Even a takeaway or any meal I didn’t have to cook would be heaven right now!

Unfortunately there is not a lot that we can do about the current state of affairs. I’ve seen people at both ends of the spectrum; some complaining and whining about any and everything and others who are all bunnies and rainbows about the situation. I am trying to situate myself somewhere in the middle. God KNEW this was going to happen, He is sovereign and all-knowing. He was not taken by surprise by this thing. The two verses I started this post with speak to this. Romans 8:28 is a promise you can cling to at this time, God will work this situation out for good and any other way that it has or is affecting you. Whether it is messing with your matric year, job prospects, travel plans or social life; trust that God will work it out.

Ok, so we’ve established that God is working it out for you. That doesn’t mean that you can camp out on the couch binge-watching series or fall into a black hole on YouTube. It is exactly at these crazy t-junctions of life that we need to stop and ask the Lord “what now?” Jeremiah 6:16 says it a little more eloquently “... ask where the good way is and walk in it.” Use this time of lockdown to do just this.

I have prepared the following journal prompts to help you. All is you is a notebook or piece of paper and some time. Start by praying and asking the Lord to guide you and start writing. Maybe write the verses I have shared with you here on the top of your paper as a reminder of God’s promises to you. Jeremiah 29:11 says that God has plans for your life; allow Him in the quiet of this lockdown to start revealing them to you.

Journal Prompts (These are basically ideas to start the journaling process)

  • Where would you like to see yourself in the 5-7 years? Cover areas such as: - Education and career - Relationship or family status - Where are you living? - How have your grown or matured? - Any other area that you feel is important to you - Remember to follow the advice in Jeremiah 6:16 and make sure you want to head in the “good direction”.

  • How are you going to get there?

  • Who do you have on your team to help and support you with your future?

  • Ideally, a supportive family, godly friends, a mentor and Christian community in the form of a local church are needed. If you don’t have these, pray for them and trust God to provide them for you.

  • Don’t be scared to share your hopes and dreams with those you trust. Their input and encouragement is important. We often have blind spots and those we trust can lovingly help us see around them.

Many young people will struggle to answer the above questions. If you are one of them, pray and ask God to lead and guide you. Ask Him to start revealing His plans for your life to you. Speak to someone like a mentor or counsellor (like me) if you want help deciphering God’s will for your life. It’s tricky to work this out at any age but don’t let that stop you. God has wonderful plans for your life.

If you are fortunate enough to have a fairly clear idea of what you what to do and where you want to go, the exercise is also helpful. Just remember to write your plans in pencil and give God the eraser.

Thanks for reading, please feel free to contact me with any comments or questions. I would love to hear from you.



On a more serious note ...

I am a counsellor based on the East Rand of Johannesburg. Life can be hard sometimes but I encourage you to contact me should you feel that you are not coping. I offer individual, couples and family counselling as well as parent coaching. There is no shame in reaching out for help; in fact, to me, there is no stronger person than one who is willing to accept help.

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