For the last 20 years, I have been writing a daily journal entry. It started in handwritten form and eventually moved to digital. I’m not sure why the impetus for journaling in the first place, but I’m grateful that it is a part of my life.
Journaling gives you an honest outlet for your thoughts, feelings, and prayers. It provides a place to vent and release your frustrations. Many of my journal entries are full of curses, frustrations at myself, others, and even God.
Looking Back on the Journal
Sometimes I forget how truly faithful God is and when I journal my prayers, I can see God’s faithfulness to my wants and needs. Journaling allows me to see how I’ve grown and struggled on my life’s journey, the challenges I’ve faced, and how I’ve overcome or didn’t.
I believe God wants our honest and real selves. Journaling allows us to do this. We can be free to reveal our true thoughts and inner frustrations, our pride and fears, our anger, and joy. There is nothing that can’t be put in a journal. Because of this, I will always continue to put my thoughts ‘on paper’ daily. The growth that comes in these times of being open and real is invaluable. What’s more valuable still, is how God speaks to me through my journaling.
Here are 10 reasons to take journaling seriously.
10 Reasons to Journal
- An honest expression of frustration is stress and anxiety-reducing.
- Daily prayer and reflection are very healthy.
- It brings clarity of mind.
- Reviewing past entries brings great encouragement to your life as you see yourself grow.
- It prevents rash decisions as you reflect and pray through writing.
- Brilliant ideas have flooded my mind as I open it to God’s promptings when I journal.
- Humility is created when we reflect on how much we have grown or how little!
- Meditating on a single verse or spiritual quote opens one’s heart and mind to important change.
- It can be done anywhere, with a phone, notepad, or computer always available.
- Amazing men and women have shown us the power of journaling.
Journaling Changes Lives
When I began journaling, I was a confused and immature 16-year-old. Twenty years later, many of my life’s struggles have been hashed out through my daily writings. Many life changes have been inspired by the honest reflections and prayers during the time I put my heart out there in my journal.
Looking back on these life-changing entries always brings a smile to my face (and sometimes a tear or two). It is amazing how faithful God is to hear the cries of our hearts. When I take the time to pause and reflect on how much this simple daily habit has helped me I begin to realize the depth and breadth of its impact.
How to Start Journaling
Keep it short and simple (to start). Don’t worry about eloquent long-winded entries. Unless you broadcast your journal entry to the interwebs, nobody is going to see it. Keeping it short, in the beginning, makes it a lot easier to keep the habit going.
Pick a platform. I use Apple Notes because it timestamps the entry and it is searchable. Both of these features are very helpful for looking back. But you can use a spiral notebook and pen (I used to do it this way). There are countless options both digital and on paper, just pick one and stick with it.
Put down short reflections as entries. If you start with short reflections, you start in a place of calm and a humble heart. I find this is the best way to hear what God has to say to me and to listen to my own heart and mind.
'You can't turn on and off the inspiration to journal and pray, do it whenever and wherever.Click To Tweet
Journal for 2-weeks. Don’t give up if you aren’t “feeling it.” Stick with it for at least 2-weeks. If you still can’t get into it, it’s okay to stop. You can come back to it later or maybe journaling is not for you.
Journal when it’s convenient. It’s okay to journal in the middle of the day. You can do it at lunch, before breakfast, when you’re laying in bed, or any other time. It doesn’t matter. You can’t turn on and off the inspiration to journal and reflect, do it whenever and wherever. If you do it on a phone/computer app, no one will even have a clue what you are doing or that you are venting about stuff!
Look back often. Even in the first few weeks, it’s valuable to look back. You might be surprised by the wisdom of the words you put down. You may find yourself convicted by your venting. Or you could discover a nugget of truth from God in the words He speaks through your keyboard or pen.
The Secret Step
Start Now. The easiest and most sure-fire way to begin the habit of journaling is to start now. Take out your app or your notebook and write your first entry now. You’ll be on your way on a very exciting and impactful journey.