We are half way through the Habits of Grace study! I just want to thank those who have read, commented, and liked the posts so far; your feedback is very much appreciated. Today we will immerse ourselves in the topic of journaling. Why journal? You’re probably thinking I have no time and it’s very impractical to my day. However, I’m here to help shift your vision on what journaling really is. As David Mathis states, “Perhaps no single new habit would enrich your spiritual life as much as keeping a journal.” Although we are talking about spiritual disciplines, I would go as far as to say that journaling in all aspects of your life will benefit you.
There is no obligation to it. There is no right way. A good journal is what you make it to be. I have found journaling to be an incredible pathway to joy in my own life. It has been a way for me to express my heart, write out prayers, and dream about the future. I have been keeping journals since I was in middle school, typically only writing about significant events in my life. Now, I keep topic journals and write in them whenever I feel the need to. For example, I have a journal I keep on my laptop only about things that were accomplished for the day. I don’t write what I wish to do, I write down what I actually did. I got this concept from Coach Calipari of University of Kentucky. It’s amazing to look back a year ago and see your productivity for that day. I also have a prayer journal, where I only write out prayer requests and my own personal prayers to God. There are other journals I keep, (I write a lot), but it’s not a burden and it’s not time-consuming. You make journaling your own art and masterpiece.
Journaling facilitates personal growth. It’s a dream catcher and a vision illuminator. It gives you clarity and focus. Most importantly, journaling has the appeal of mingling the motions of our lives with the mind of God.
Here are only a few reasons out of hundreds why you should journal. We’re not stopping there. Once you are convinced why you need to journal, keep reading and discover practical ways to flourish in your writing and get started. Be Blessed! Be Revealed!
- TO CAPTURE THE PAST – For the Christian, writing down divine moments are an opportunity for gratitude and praise to God. It’s amazing how we can forget at times what God has done for us and brought us through. We can look back at what we recorded, the thoughts and feelings we had in that moment and remember to give God all the Glory.
- TO BUILD A BETTER FUTURE – Journaling is an opportunity to grow into tomorrow. It helps you become a better communicator and writer. I love how David Mathis puts it…journaling is where you can try your hand at daring metaphors and literary flair.
- TO ENRICH THE PRESENT – It’s not just about yesterday and tomorrow, but enriching our lives for today.
- Examine – The unexamined life is not worth living~Socrates. It is a time for self-examining (2 Cor. 13:5) and to get caught up in Someone Great, Jesus. We may start bleak, but we find that when we journal we can preach to ourselves and end hopeful.
- Meditate – Let your journal be your laboratory of learning. Pose a hard question, propose a biblical answer, and apply it to your heart and life.
- Disentangle, Draw Out, and Dream – I often have so many unfinished thoughts and emotions floating around in my head, journaling gives me the discipline of careful thinking, catalyzing deep feeling, and inspires intentional action. I love how God allows us to take our thoughts further when we write them down and develop them.
If you’re sold on the idea of journaling, here are five simple ways in which to start flourishing in your own writing.
- KEEP IT SIMPLE – This is for the long haul so keep it simple so you keep coming back. There are times I write a flood of pages because I have that to get out. Other times I literally write one sentence with a few words. Take baby steps with regularity.
- DON’T CATCH UP – The best journals are incomplete! That’s even hard for me to say with all those perfectionists out there. But give yourself the grace to know that journaling should serve your life, not vice versa.
- TAKE GOD SERIOUSLY – But don’t take yourself too seriously. The best of journals are just you and God. Take Scripture seriously, and write for the sake of your own soul.
- BRING THE GOSPEL – Journaling is a venue for freshly preaching the gospel to yourself and really apply what you are writing to make it your own.
- STAY WITH IT – Remember it’s a marathon. The hardest parts is starting, but once the door is open, the stream will start flowing.