When I was a kid, I used to hate journaling. With a burning passion. My parents always forced my siblings and I to keep “travel journals” whenever we went out of state and it was horrible. I hated writing about things that I already knew about and I didn’t like sitting down and writing for 20/30 minutes. Lets just say journaling was not my favorite past time.
Then, when I was in 6th grade, I decided to start a personal journal. There didn’t have to be due dates, and I didn’t have to write in it every day. I’m pretty sure I wrote something along the lines of “Let’s see how long I can keep this up.”
Well personal journaling succeeded… and that led to my spiritual journaling. And my friends, I seriously could not live without it today. You know why? Well I’ll give you 4 solid reasons why.
1. Writing everything down= de-stress
Yup, thats for sure. The act of writing down all the things that bother you really puts things into perspective… and is a great way of letting it all out. Sometimes my “stress list” looks a lot like a complaint list to God… but I know He loves hearing about our problems because He wants to help us. (I’m a list kinda gal, so 90% of my pages are filled with lists. I think God laughs about that personally… oh well. 🙂 )
2. You can look back and learn from the past.
Recently I spent a solid hour or so looking back on my past journal and marveling at how far I’ve come in such a little time. It’s inspirational and a great reminder on how amazing God is and how well He works in our lives! It’s also really fun seeing the small, petty things that bugged you in the past. I like to read those kinda things and laugh at myself. But on a more serious note, if you are having a hard time it’s always nice to go back and read about what “past you” did in a similar situation.
3. You can be creative and make it yours.
I aspire to be one of those people who have amazing handwriting and have a talent for calligraphy. I love seeing the beautifully decorated journals on Pinterest! I can hear you guys saying “But Maddie, it’s not about the artsy-ness of it!” And yes. You are totally and completely right. But if you happen to be super arsty and love decorating your thoughts, this is for you! Journaling gives you the freedom of any colors, font, and format you like. (And it makes your crazy thoughts look a little more organized!)
Evangelization? You might be asking, “How is this evangelization if journals are (mostly) personal?” Well let’s say you’re babysitting one night. You happen to put your prayer journal and some other things in a bag and leave it in your car for church. When you go to pick it up, you realize that the window glass is shattered and all of your belongings are stolen… including you’re prayer journal. Sound a bit too specific? Well that’s probably because that’s what happened to me recently. And it was awful, especially because I decided last minute to throw my prayer journal in the bag. My prayer journal was honestly my favorite possession because of all the reasons above (and more) and I was very bummed to realize it was gone! But you know what? Maybe that thief took that journal out of my bag and was curious. Maybe he/she opened it and read it. Maybe something that I wrote in that journal hit them, and maybe they have a desire to know Christ more. This is all just a maybe, but I pray that this happened so that my prayer journal may be better use in God’s plan. Because really, it’s not about me. I was selfish to mourn over the loss of it, and I didn’t realize that there could be a bigger (and better) picture in store for my journal! I’ll tell y’all in Heaven what to my journal, deal? 🙂
But on a more realistic basis, a journal is something you can keep and cherish forever, and then share with your kids and grandkids. When you are long dead and gone (and hopefully all saints!! 🙂 ) your journal will bea beautiful way for generations to learn from you and hopefully become better Christians! Think of your favorite saint- I bet you they have some sort of written work that the world remembers them by. That could be you!
So my friends, this is what I advise you. Go out to your local office supply store. I want you to buy a journal, and buy a nice pen. (after all, all good things come from nice pens). I want you to find a comfortable spot in your room, and I want you to sit down and write to God. Write whatever comes to mind. Maybe it’s a stress list, maybe it’s a gratitude list. Maybe you’re asking God questions about why you are going through so much pain. Maybe you want to draw him a picture, or write down your favorite Bible verses. Whatever it is, there is only one rule: make sure it comes from the heart. Because that’s what matters most.
I wish you all the best of luck!
All through Christ,