The Power of Reflection and Writing: why you should reflect on life and how writing your personal history can change your attitude and your actions

I took my own advice. When I teach classes and meet with clients to write their personal history, I encourage them to use times of change in their lives as a catalyst to reflect and write.

For members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons), one of those times of change is a transition in our roles and responsibilities for church service. We each have a “calling,” a voluntary job or role to fill to serve and teach others and help our congregation run smoothly. Those callings change after a time, based on revelation to church leadership. Because of the opportunities and responsibilities involved in callings, we have experiences through them that help us learn and grow.

So… when we are asked to fill a different calling, and a new person takes on our previous one, this time of change is ideal for reflection and writing as part of your personal history. I found that to be true as I took my own advice and thought about my most recent calling change.

Until November, I had served as the music director for all the children. Every Sunday, I taught them sweet songs about the Savior and other eternal principles while trying to keep them engaged and actively learning. When I received this calling three years ago, I was quite apprehensive, both about my level of musical ability and my aptitude for teaching young children. Yet as I fulfilled that calling every Sunday for three years, I learned a lot… about music leading and conducting, classroom management, teaching and engaging children ages 3-12. I grew to love the children, the music and my calling.

Can you name songs that have the word Ice Cream in it? We tried ...

Then in November I was really dismayed to be asked to serve as director of the congregational choir. Teaching music to children was one thing- but conducting a choir with four (or sometimes six!) different singing parts, choosing, teaching and directing difficult pieces of music– yikes!!

Way outside of my abilities and comfort zone.

It still is definitely beyond my abilities, and a continual struggle. I had been working at it while also chafing against it… until I remembered I should reflect on this calling change, as I counsel others to do.

And guess what? That reflection process really made a difference in my attitude.. and will affect my actions going forward.

I recognized that- for some reason- the Lord must want me to expand my musical knowledge and capacity. He started my journey with the children, where I could learn the basics and love the music. But apparently that did not take my learning far enough. I need to learn more- much more- and He’s given me the opportunity to do that by asking me to direct the choir.

It is definitely hard, and there are many people much-better-qualified to take this role. So, it’s very humbling for me. But for a reason I don’t yet understand, I need to grow in this area.

Recognizing that makes a difference. It’s still hard, but now I see it as an opportunity to learn and practice something that the Lord sees as important for my growth and progression. He wants me to develop a musical talent and has given me challenges to facilitate that learning. So I will go forward with a better attitude and try to embrace this chance to learn.

This is why I love personal history work. As we reflect and write, we learn about ourselves. It can change our actions and attitudes here and now, helping us chart a better course for the future and take advantage of opportunities that otherwise would go unrecognized.

Make the time to reflect, and write, and grow. Don’t leave your tale untold…


What do you think about this? I’d love to hear your thoughts, so please comment below. Was it helpful? If so, I’d really appreciate you sharing on Facebook.

Have you grabbed a copy of my free ebook of writing prompts? If not, you can get it by clicking here.


Not wishful thinking- how and why we should have hope

Hope is anything but wishful thinking. It is expectation based on experience.

I read that in an article years ago and wish I knew whom to credit. I forgot the source long ago, but remembered the words. They mean a lot to me.

The way I interpret it, I can and should and will have hope because God has absolutely been good to me in the past. I have truly been blessed. Because of that past experience, I have expectation that his goodness and blessings will continue. I have hope. I have hope in and through and because of my Savior, Jesus Christ.

The way may be dark and difficult at times, and I may (OK, I do!) wait longer than I’d like for the blessings to come, but I know they will. Somehow. Someday. In His will. His way. His time.

Of course, it’s not just waiting. It’s active working and praying along with hoping. It’s working hard to reach my goals and fulfill my dreams, to serve and love and obey. It’s praying hard to align my will with His.

At church on Sunday, we sang a beautiful hymn that is shared across denominations: Be Still My Soul. It spoke powerfully to me, reminding me that God is at the helm and I can and should be at peace, filled with hope.

Graphic Jesus on the Sea
Leave to thy God to order and provide;
In ev’ry change he faithful will remain.
Be still, my soul: Thy God doth undertake
To guide the future as he has the past.
Thy hope, thy confidence let nothing shake;
All now mysterious shall be bright at last.
Be still, my soul: The waves and winds still know
His voice who ruled them while he dwelt below.
-words written by Katharina von Schlegel in Germany in the 18th century
Even though I may not see the blessings I currently seek, I hope (expect!) they will come… or that other blessings the Lord intends will come instead. He is in control and someday I will understand. He may not always give me what I want, but He does give me what I need.
And so I hope on.
We are- and try to be- House Upon a Rock.
How do you find hope and peace? We’d love your comments!