Open my eyes
so I can see what you show me
of your miracle-wonders.
Psalm 119:18 The Message
Journaling is a way of;
- paying attention to our lives,
- reflecting on God's presence and guidance, and
- creating an ongoing record of our soul's journey into God.
"There is no right way to journal. You don't need to journal every day or even every week. Find a rhythm of journaling that suits your phase and stage of life. If writing isn't your thing, make a journal of photos or drawings or articles. Assign key words or thoughts or themes to the entries. If you don't write well, remember that you don't need to write beautifully or use complete sentences. Journaling is a way for you to be with God and your thoughts, not an exercise in language arts. Tell the truth to God and to yourself as best you can. Review what you write on a regular basis. As you do, you will begin to recognize life themes, desires, frustration and patterns of interaction. These insights become matters for dialogue with God." Spiritual Disciplines Handbook by Adele Ahlberg Calhoun
I am embarrassed to tell you that a few days ago I wanted to journal and I couldn't find my current journal. I searched a few of my favorite places and came up empty handed. I walked away sad and couldn't bear the idea of starting a new journal because I wanted to pick up where I had left off. I've learned over the years that one of the places where God and I do the best work on changing me is when I spend time journaling. Sometimes I start writing as a continuation of some scripture I've been reading or studying. Sometimes I just need to write down what I've been thinking so I don't forget. Regardless of where I begin and my reasons for journaling, I always find God moving and realigning the pieces of my heart and soul.
Making It Your Own
There are so many ways to journal. Here are a few ideas to consider:
- Read magazines, newspapers, articles, or books -- cut out or record anything that touches you. Paste clippings in your journal. Use them to prompt your prayers.
- Read a selected passage of scripture and keep a record of your observations. This is not a Bible study but rather a means to connect to God. (you could use the acronym SOAP -- Scripture, Observation, Application, Prayer)
- If you enjoy art, create a collage journal by expressing your thoughts and feelings to God through pictures, textures, and colors.
- Keep a prayer journal by recording your prayers and thoughts.
- Keep a gratitude journal by recording daily a list.
- Divide your journal into sections. You might consider: your journey with God, events of the day/week, prayers for the world, prayers for those you love, desires of your heart.
- Just write and/or record what is going on in your life and heart. Please record your unedited thoughts, feelings, and reactions -- and be willing to wait on God to respond to your heart.
- Just start writing something, somewhere.
ideas adapted from Spiritual Disciplines Handbook by Adele Ahlberg Calhoun