I was re-reading my journal from last year and the year before. What impressed me was how valuable journaling is.

  • It helps me sort things out while I’m struggling through them.
  • It puts me in a place where God can speak to me (or perhaps I should say “where I can hear God speak to me”). Often I can’t hear God through the jumble of life inside and around me. Journaling enables me to hear God clarify the key issues in the situation.
  • It serves as a reminder of where I’ve been and what God has done for me in the past. I so easily forget even the greatest milestones in my life, let alone the many, many “little” times He has been faithful to me.
  • It allows me to see my past more objectively. There have been times that I remembered as being failures or a “falling away” for me, but when I look back at the journal I don’t see that. I see someone who was holding on — perhaps by a thin thread, but still holding on — waiting to see the faithfulness of God. What I remembered about those times was a lack of faith on my part, a time of weakness…my journals show weakness, yes, even failings, but also great faith that God would intervene at any moment.  My journal shows my confidence that God would step in and change me and my circumstances. I am tremendously blessed to have this retrospective.
  • It allows me to see my growth over a period of time. Spiritual growth is often gradual and we can feel like we’re never making much progress. My journal provides a concrete record of my growth.
  • It encourages me — both while I’m writing in the present and years later when I read it.

If it can do these things for me, it can also do them for you.  

Perhaps you like the idea of experiencing these benefits but don’t know where to start. It’s not as hard is it might seem. Many people are intimidated by the blank paper (or screen) at first. Don’t be. Here are some ideas for getting starting:

  • Remember, NO ONE will be reading this but you and God. And God already knows it all anyway.
  • Spelling and proper grammar don’t count. Write in whatever shorthand works for you. (As you mature in journaling, you might want to write more formally so that you will actually be able to understand your notes a year or ten years from now.)
  • Start by writing notes about the most mundane things of your day. You’ll be surprised at how easily you’ll slip into your thoughts about those most mundane things. And writing your thoughts and emotions is what journaling is all about.
  • Before you quit writing for the day, glance over your notes. Take a minute to ask yourself this question: “Is God trying to teach me anything through these things?” If so, add some more notes to journal.
  • Try to journal at least twice a week. Even if you don’t have anything to say. It will teach you to look for what God is doing in your life.

I took a class in grad school on spiritual transformation. One of our assignments was to journal what God was doing in our lives every day. Now I don’t know about you, but my theology says that God is active in my life every day, but my practice is that I really don’t recognize His hand every day. The practice of journaling during that time caused me to focus more specifically on God’s work in my life and the lives of those around me every day. What a blessing!

No, I don’t journal every day now, but I find that the more I journal, the more God is doing in my life…hmmm…I doubt that there’s a connection between journaling and God working in my life. More likely, it’s the connection between journaling and me being able to recognize God working in my life. And seeing God at work builds my faith. It also increases my love for God. Both are very good things!

Try it for a month. It’s addicting!

2 Responses to “Journaling for Spiritual Growth”
  1. Yes, journaling does bring you into a reflective mode. It keeps you focused on God. Love your idea to journal about God in your life everyday.

  2. Sandy says:

    Thanks for commenting! Give it a try and let me know how it goes.

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