Journaling helps you see your stories as they unfold. Journaling helps you to focus on God. It is a means of hearing and also responding to God. Journaling helps you see more clearly your personal story.
Understanding your story helps you to see what God has actually done in the past, is doing currently, and what He is calling you to do in the future.
Richard Peace, In the Art of Journaling, says, “we each have a story. Our stories tell who we are as they chart the unfolding of our lives, the things that make us unique.”
“Journals are a tool for reflection. There is great power in putting thoughts on a page. The very act of writing down an idea often sparks additional thoughts and before you know it, you’re on to something important in your life.”
“Anyone who has chosen to follow Christ has a very definite and specific goal in life–to be conformed to the image of Jesus Christ–and journaling can help us attain that goal.”
“To be like Jesus is to become all we long to be and all we are meant to be. But to attain such a goal we need to know ourselves as well. Only by comparing who we are to who Jesus is can we discern the nature of the gap between the real and the ideal. It is understanding this gap between the real and the ideal. It is by understanding this gap that we recognize those areas of our lives that need change.”
“Journaling can serve as a tool for exploring who we have been, who we are now, and who we hope to become. Ultimately, spiritual formation is about growing in conformity to the image of Christ.”
“While we can never fully attain to such a goal–there will always be a gap–it is crucial to aim towards it, for the goal of becoming like Jesus draws us into the future.”
Journaling can help you in growing more spiritually. Its emphasis is on three areas:
- How to create a journal
- How to use a journal to discern your personal story
- How to use a journal to trace your spiritual development
Constructing Your Journal
A Journal is simple: Is a folder on your computer hard drive or a notebook with blank pages. Having said that, there are actually ways to create a journal that make it a much better tool for growth.
The directions that follow below about binding, and paper, take for granted you are writing by hand and not on a computer. Many people favor the connection between self and paper that handwriting gives. Others like to journal on a computer, so a few ideas for computer journaling are covered as well.
Binding: While you can buy bound books of blank pages with colorful covers you might like a journal that uses dividers (helps to keep things organized).
Also, you may find that loose-leaf binders give you more freedom to write everyday thoughts.
Bound journals you buy sometimes have an air about them, they can make you feel that you must write nicely, spell correctly, and write really great stuff. Whatever binding you choose, be sure it’s really comfortable for you to write in. If the binding hurts your hand, it will easily distract you from writing.
Dividers: A journal is different than a diary. In a diary you write down each day’s impressions.
On the other hand, in a journal, you write down different types of impressions, from varied points of view and in different ways, with one part feeding into other sections. (Associating and connecting the parts).
So to maximize the usefulness of your journal, it helps to split it into sections. The following categories are only suggested:
- Daily: remaining in touch with your life as it opens up
- History: rebuilding the contours of your past
- Dialogue: journaling a “two-way conversation”
- Bible study: study as well as applying Scripture
- Dreams: writing down your dream images
- Musings: Noting key events in your family’s development
- Work: keeping notes and related materials that deal with your job
Size: You can decide what size fits your life habits no one single or size fits all. To be more flexible larger would work better but a smaller size is easier to carry. Experiment a little to find the one that fits you the best.
Paper: Some people like unlined paper whereas others like lined paper, it”s a personal choice. I have an essential tremor in my right hand so I prefer lined paper. Blank pages work especially well for those who love to sketch. Why not give both a try!
Journal on a computer: There are some great free online journals. If you have a laptop it can go anywhere with you. If you choose to journal on a computer, create a folder called “journal.” Within the folder, you can create your different categories.
Every time you add your thoughts to one of the folders, its filename should begin with a date so that the entries will appear in your menu in sequential order.