Demystifying the Intimidating Practice of Journaling

Demystifying the Intimidating Practice of Journaling

If you're like me, you've always admired the idea of journaling but every time you stare at that blank book, your mind goes blank and you can't think of a word to write. I often hear from several friends about their journaling experiences and some go as far as to talk about the collection of journals they've built up over the years and how they can go back to any journal from previous years and relive and recall what God was teaching them during specific seasons of their life. I'll be honest, part of me is a little jealous as I totally wish I could do that, but the few attempts I've taken at journaling have proven to be less than successful.

I recently realized, however, that many of the things we fail to try are hugely influenced by lies we've believed about ourselves or about the task at hand, either consciously or subconsciously. So I've decided to take a look at a few of the lies we might believe if we are constantly intimidated by journaling and choose to believe the truths instead, looking at the benefits of it.

1. "I'm not a writer."

Have you ever thought that you weren't a good writer, so why attempt to write anything (even if it was just for your own eyes)? The truth is, when it comes to journaling, writing should simply be about expressing your thoughts and capturing a moment in time on paper, which means everyone can do it! This isn't about being perfect or ultra-eloquent or quite frankly grammatically correct. It's yours, so there's no room for judgment or being too hard on yourself. The important thing is simply to capture your thoughts and you may also want to capture things you feel God is speaking to you in this season. You'll be so glad you did months or even years from now as they later become testimonies of God's hand at work in your life.

2. "I don't have time to write."

With so much technology, entertainment, activities and responsibilities fighting for our time, the last thing any of us needs is one more thing to add to our schedule, right? Perhaps. However, journaling doesn't have to take long. In reality, it can take as little or as much as we want it to. There is not one right way to journal. A journal entry could be as short as a brief sentence summing up your day, or a few doodles, or short phrases that highlight a few events or lessons learned. But it can also be a very detailed narration of your activities. The other thing to keep in mind (this one used to stop me every single time) is that you don't necessarily have to write every single day. Some seasons you might, but if there are a few weeks or even months in between some entries, that's ok too.

3. "I have nothing to write about."

Most of us think about journaling primarily as a written account of our day in a story format. However, that is not the only way to journal. In fact, there are many things you can turn your journal into (that's what makes it such a great and versatile gift). For instance, if you're an artist, you might use a journal to sketch out ideas or doodle quotes. A musician might use it to write down song lyric ideas or a business person might use it to jot down all the projects and tasks they need to get accomplished each day. I remember when I was a teenager, I would use it to create collages with cutouts of things I had done on a particular day: concert tickets, magazine clippings and scripture cards would be pasted on as a visual time capsule of sorts. The possibilities are endless. Make it your own and use your journal as a way to express your thoughts no matter how small.

4. "What's the point of keeping a journal?"

I used to think journals were only for people who needed to process their feelings externally. So if I didn't operate that way, then journaling wasn't for me. However, I began to realize the importance of testimonies in strengthening ourselves spiritually and trusting in God's promises. And it made me realize that capturing what God is doing in my life is a testimony of what He will do again! And reminding myself of that in times when I feel like I don't hear God's voice, strengthens my spirit and helps me trust Him and His faithfulness in my life.

My point is this: there is no need to be intimidated by the idea of journaling, but absolute freedom! It can be a great tool to let the Lord speak to you, to remind yourself of His faithfulness and to simply have a unique quiet time with God. Hopefully, you'll find courage in these truths and venture out in a new way to connect with God.