It was 2017 and I nervously swung open the door to the Adventures in Missions office. Slowly, I walked down the steps that led to the training room. I received my nametag and supplies and found my seat. Next thing I knew, I was drawing a picture with crayons in a journal. Thus, my deep love of journaling began….
I had been a writer for many years- never in the formal sense, but as a way to process. I had periodically found satisfaction in picking up a pretty notebook and filling it with my thoughts. Even more so, I had found it a way to express difficult emotions in a productive and healthy way! I had been journaling in this sense on and off for 5 years. Drawing as a way to journal had never occurred to or interested me, but there was power in what the leader was instructing me to do. It made sense, and although I was holding a Crayola in my hand, I didn’t feel silly. My eyes and heart were opened that cool November day in 2017 and I’ve never looked back!
There are many ways to journal and no two journals look alike! Each one as different as the person and season of their lives. Journals are treasure troves of growth; a way to peer into one’s soul and discover what God has been up to. They are biographies of the body, mind, and spirit. They express highs and lows, memories and oddities of everyday life, and they reveal the words God expresses to His Image-Bearers (you and me).
Because we are all so unique, one way of journaling is not going to be effective for every person. Thankfully, journaling is limitless! If you can think it, you can journal it- IN YOUR WAY! Here are some different ideas you could use to get started:
- Dump your thoughts from the day so you can then focus on God’s Voice in His Word.
- Draw a picture of how you are currently feeling. Talk to God about it and listen to what He responds.
- Ask God a question and then write or draw what you sense Him speaking to you.
- Write out scripture as you meditate on each word of it.
- Art journal scripture- make the verse beautiful with paint, crayons, or other media.
- Read a passage of scripture and then write the words that stand out to you in your journal. Do a Hebrew and Greek word study on those words.
- Write out a prayer in your journal. Go back and read/pray it afterward.
- Simply ask God “What would You like to say to me today?” and then draw or write His response.
- Make a Gratitude list. Sit and contemplate all of the ways God has been with you and list them in your journal.
- After you have journaled for a while, go back and re-read your entries. As you read, look for God’s hand that is weaved throughout your story!
Journaling, in this sense, is always a conversation with God. He is invited onto the pages of my journal. In this way, Habakkuk 2:1-2 is being lived out in my own life.
“I will stand my watch and set myself on the rampart, and watch to see what He will say to me, and what I will answer when I am corrected. Then the Lord answered me and said: “Write the vision and make it plain on tablets, that he may run who reads it….”
One of the most transformative spiritual disciplines I have engaged in during my journey with the Lord has been journaling. It requires us to slow down; to cease all activity and fully engage with our Savior. When you invite the Lord onto the pages of your journal, it becomes sacred- it is the very gospel being recorded in your life. It reveals God’s immense Love, Grace, Mercy, and Restoration of one of His Children.
Imagine if the saints of old had not recorded their journeys with God. We would not have the Living Word of God to hear the gospel and we would not have the ancient Christian literature we treasure so much today! Their stories and journeys are crucial to building and exhorting us in our faith. Perhaps our own recorded stories and journeys with God can have the same impact to someone not yet thought of. We are part of History. May we rise up and give account for how God moved in our generation!