A habit that greatly facilitates rich journaling is the ability to recognize wisdom. Wisdom is how God thinks, what God says, and what God does. The idea is to remain alert, recognizing and cleaving to His expressions of wisdom. Becoming sensitive to His presence, voice and movement in our lives will take practice, but with a little effort we can form the habit.
The first step is being prepared. When wisdom might be on display, it is a good idea to have a way to record what the Lord may reveal. For instance if you know you will be listening to a sermon, you may want to have a journal with you. An electronic device and a Bible App, or an old-fashioned Bible, pen and journal are standard equipment for buying up opportune wisdom.
I have two journals: One journal I take with me if I think I might want take notes and a second permanent journal that contains the cream of my conversation with my Father. This main journal – I call it “God’s Story” – has become so valuable to me that I try not to take it out of the house anymore. I also use my electronic devices to capture God’s story.
There are many habits that facilitate the acquisition of wisdom. Here are some of the best:
- Cultivate a love for wisdom and a desire for truth in the inmost parts (Ps. 51:6).
- Ask the Lord for discernment to understand and assimilate His wisdom (Jam. 1:5).
- Expect God to speak. In anticipation, lean forward in the Spirit. Eagerly desire His voice with the attitude of Samuel, “Speak, Lord, your servant is listening” (I Sam. 3:10).
- Be willing to do what it takes to be near God. Go to places and sit with people who share godly wisdom.
- Cultivate curiosity. Develop the habit of posing questions to the Lord. Let the questions hang suspended until it pleases Him to reveal the answer or He directs you to study to understand. Also keep a running list of wise questions to ask others, questions that bring out the wisdom gained from their experience. The right kinds of questions yield astounding answers. Then allow wisdom to lead to more curiosity and new questions.
- When you perceive wisdom, reach for it, grasp it, and pull it toward you. Then write it down.
- Watch for doubles and triples. When the Lord puts the same wisdom in multiple places, He is adding an exclamation mark!
- Meditate on wisdom by turning it in your mind and heart to discover its facets of light, and life, and love. Savor it.
- Try wisdom on for size. Live with it. Experiment with it.
- Reread your journals to gain the full benefit of what has been stored. Each entry builds and connects the larger story. It is only after years of writing our conversation with God that we begin to appreciate the great value of what has been stored. Wisdom is a cumulative treasure with increasing value. It enriches every part of life. It is a profitable blessing. As Solomon states, “[Wisdom] is a tree of life to those who take hold of her” (Prov. 3:18).
The following Proverbs passage describes the pursuit of wisdom. I have bolded the verbs and phrases that describe the actions that yield the “garland of grace” and the “glorious crown” of wisdom.
“Take hold of my words with all your heart;
keep my commands, and you will live.
Get wisdom, get understanding;
do not forget my words or turn away from them.
Do not forsake wisdom, and she will protect you;
love her, and she will watch over you.
The beginning of wisdom is this: Get wisdom.
Though it cost all you have, get understanding.
Cherish her, and she will exalt you;
embrace her, and she will honor you.
She will give you a garland to grace your head
and present you with a glorious crown.”
Proverbs 4:4 – 9 (emphasis mine)