If I told you that you could do one thing that could grow you spiritually, emotionally, and relationally – would you do it? This is what journaling does for me every year for the last 30 years.
I didn’t journal until my early 30’s. My excuse was, I wasn’t a writer. To journal, you don’t need to be a good writer. You just need to be still and quiet and write. You aren’t writing for publication or for your English teacher. I would not write a journal for anyone but myself. It’s not history, it’s how you see life, what you are learning, questions you have, and anything you want to write about. Mother Teresa, Henri Nouwen, and others have used journaling and it was key to their spiritual development. Some of the things they wrote about included personal struggles, frustrations, and even deep questions about God.
Some people freaked out over that – I didn’t. We all have those questions and I believe it’s in the slow wrestling of those questions that we find truth, meaning, life and, yes, God. There is NOTHING that has grown me spiritually, emotionally, and relationally – even globally, like journaling. Yet, it’s not journaling – it’s reflecting, remembering, discovering patterns, recording events that were good and bad, and writing down the things God spoke to you about in the middle of the night. There is no greater or formative discipline that intersects all the disciplines and all of life like journaling. It’s not a diary – it’s reflections. I define a journal as “a catalog of reflections of what God is doing and saying in your life.”There is no greater or formative discipline that intersects all the disciplines and all of life like journaling. It’s not a diary – it’s reflections. Define a journal as a catalog of reflections of what God is doing and saying in… Click To Tweet
I believe the book of Acts is how God intends for us to walk with him, learn, grow, and experience life. Having read Acts many times, studying it, preaching it – I’m convinced the biggest message of Acts is the unexpected. The Holy Spirit orchestrates everything from relationships, timing, schedule – and none of it comes through orchestrated action plans, goals, systems, and processes. That doesn’t mean those things don’t matter – just that they aren’t primary. I know this, the greatest things in my life that God has done, has had little to do with how I organize but rather how I hear God’s voice or recognize him moving in unexpected circumstances or people. At the moment at which things are taking place, I don’t always recognize their significance – but as I journal and see things develop there really is a pattern.
Each year I start a new journal. It has what I learned from the previous year, it has words people give me, verses burned in my heart, goals, people I work with, people I’m praying for, models, tons of stuff – about 30 pages worth, then daily and early in the morning I write.
If you want a more in-depth message about journaling, read the book “Journaling: Catalyzing Spiritual Growth through Reflection” by Adam Feldman. It is simply the best book I’ve ever read on how to journal. I would encourage you to buy it, read it, and use it to begin. Your own style and preferences will take over, but it will be a fantastic guide to start with.
I want to challenge you – start 2021 off with the discipline of journaling and I promise you if you do it consistently, review and reflect – it’ll open up blessings, trends and even communication with God.