Lee Wise once said, “Journaling is paying attention to the inside for the purpose of living well from the inside out.”
Journaling isn’t just for the writer or the dreamer. Journaling helps you to get those thoughts and feelings from within down on paper in order to see yourself and to grow as a person.
One of the best examples is the Old Testament psalms. You can see the writers grapple with their feelings and emotions in an effort to invite God’s perspective into them. What we find in these writings is a rawness and an authenticity that points to a God who is present in both our highs and our lows, in our needs and our desires, and in our victories and our defeats.
I know some of you are thinking, “I don’t write, or I don’t like to talk about my feelings,” but I want to challenge you see the benefit in it. Writing about how you feel or what you are dealing with in that moment brings it into the light. It allows you to see the situation, and allows you to invite God into those moments for help, guidance, healing and so on. You can’t give something to God if you aren’t facing it, and one of the best ways to face it is to write about it.
Look, I was never big on journaling and I love to write. I was much more comfortable writing songs and sermons than just writing out my feelings. But when I began to do it, something interesting happened. These writings turned into prayers. I began not just talking about what I was feeling or desiring, but I was calling out to God and giving Him my heart. Sometimes I would even get clarity or guidance in that moment, just by writing it out. However, the most fruitful part of journaling was being able to go back months and see how many of those prayers God answered. It enhanced my faith and my trust in God because I could visibly see what I had prayed for in a season, and how He later answered it because I had written about it.
Journaling doesn’t have to be this long essay. It can be something as simple as a couple of sentences a day. Just start, and I guarantee you that you will find it isn’t as daunting as you make it out to be! Just be disciplined with it. Don’t just try it a couple of times and stop because you don’t feel like it’s helping you. Give it time and I guarantee you will end up seeing the value in it.
One final thought. When you’re journaling, take a few moments to practice listening, too. As you get everything on your heart out, allow the space for God to speak into it all. You may not hear something in that moment, but it’s always important to leave room for Him to speak.
So start journaling today and see how much it can impact your tomorrow.
Here are a few prompts to get you started:
How are you feeling?
What are you desiring?
What’s currently going on in your life?
What’s heaviest on your heart?
What are you struggling with?
Who do you have a burden for and why?
What do you want to achieve?
What do you want to change?
In what ways do you want to grow spiritually?
What are you thinking about?
These are just a few to get you started, but there’s no format or limitation. Be free!