journaling 101

The habit of journaling is one of the best ways to responsibly record and preserve God’s activity in our lives. If you are thinking:

  • “No thanks, writing is not my gift!”
  • or if your guilt sensor is going off because you feel that you should journal but hate the very thought of it,
  • or if you have already tried and failed – read on.

Recording God’s revelation doesn’t mean you will be locked into the drudgery of a “to do list.” It certainly doesn’t mean that you must like to write. Journaled entries do not need to include a great many details or even be arranged in sentences and paragraphs.

There are only three components to an adequate journal entry: a title (to help you find it later), a date (so you can place it within the context of other events), and what you and Jesus say to each other, your conversation with God. This can be recorded as a list, outline, statement, question, or quote. The number of words and excellence of articulation are inconsequential.

I have found that half of the battle of journaling is won by having a place prepared to receive the conversation when God speaks. Scattered scraps of paper will not do for this precious practice because the subject matter is too valuable. A journal is a necessity. A handwritten journal should have bound pages (as opposed to spiral bound pages which tend to wear out and fall out) and printed lines on each page for neat, readable print. A good electronic journal is stored in an accessible file and backed up regularly.

Part of honoring the Lord is esteeming what He says so much that we feel compelled to hold or retain His communication, i.e. journaling. The singular end of this discipline is to record what He reveals. When we think God is speaking, or we have a valuable thought that is directed to Him, we should write it down. When the nugget is safely jotted down, we can walk away in peace.

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