“Writing is the only way I have to explain my own life to myself.”
“This is what you do when you journal. You are recording God’s grand, epoch-spanning redemptive story as it unfolds in your limited, temporal sphere of existence here on earth. Your journal has the potential to record the continuation of the Holy Spirit’s work in our world!”
Giving you the HOW and WHAT to journal could take volumes, so I just want to say a few things about this and give you some resources to inspire you and get your juices flowing for writing.
How you journal is really whatever inspires you to do it! If you’ve never been a journal keeper, you might be surprised to find that there is a whole world of journaling out there. There is art journaling, spiritual journaling, guided journaling, intensive therapy journaling…and on and on! Even scrapbooking and digital photo album making is journaling! Journaling can be a daily record of your activities (though most avid writers would call this a diary with journaling being more about the thoughts, feelings and insights around those activities) or it can be a specific journal on something. I have one friend who does a journal of her garden each year–what plants she grew and how they did. In it are also sketched out diagrams of her garden, so journaling doesn’t have to be just words. I know others who have different journals for different areas that they want to write about. For example, I know several people that have different books for their dreams, another for their gratitude list, and another just for their daily thoughts or daily scripture reading insights.
If you are new to journaling, start out simple with one book and try several different things in your journal. Personally my journal is an “everything” journal. I have sketches, pieces of scratch paper taped in it, hand written things, typed things, my thoughts and feelings, scripture verses with what I learned from them, cards, quotes and song lyrics with why I was drawn to them, and even photos. The only thing that is constant, which I highly recommend you do as well, is I date every entry.
Click here to see examples of journaling pages. I just want you to know that however you decide to create your journal the act of doing it will be of benefit.
I’m going to provide links to some websites that I found had great ideas on what to journal. There are a number of great journaling prompt books on the market as well. HOWEVER, really, once you start writing and figuring out what you love to journal about most, you likely won’t need prompts. Here are the resources if you need a nudge to get you going:
- Here is one from Oprah with a few out of the box ideas
- 136 Journaling Prompts
- A never ending supply of ideas from pins on Pinterest
- Christian Spiritual Journaling ideas and prompts
As my tag line says, I want to help individuals bring their spiritual being into their human living. Journaling is a practice that can help you do that no matter what spiritual beliefs you have. As a Christian, I have found journaling a great tool for processing scriptures, questions, and often the paradoxes of living a loving, Christ-like life in this human world. To me my journals are giant prayers and conversation with God. I am constantly amazed at the wisdom and insight God gives me when I take the time to talk and journal with Him. I leave you with these thoughts from Ira Progoff, the creator of Intensive Journal Therapy:
Ones journal is the essence of the spiritual tenant of letting go and letting God….All of us are living out certain patterns and we need to discover what these patterns are in order to let go of those that are not serving us or others and to fulfill our true purpose in life….Journaling and meditation are two powerful methods to accomplish this….When many people work on fulfilling their true life purpose, our society improves. Individuals become more well rounded and accepting of others. They become more interested in others developing as people and this fosters connection, love and brotherhood for others.
Encouraging Your Whole Heartedness:
- Last week I asked you to journal a list to this fill-in-the-blank prompt: When my life is ideal I will be/have/or be doing _____________. Take that list and come up with your top five “ideals”. Do that by asking yourself, “would I rather have number one or number two”. Then take the one you pick and ask for the next one, “would I rather have number ___or number 3?” Keep doing this till you have your top 5. Then take each of your top 5 and write a juicy paragraph being more descriptive about what that “ideal” would look like, who would be involved, maybe where it might be, etc. Just get more specific. We’ll do more with this next week, too!
- Easy ways to get you going: Set a timer and just write whatever comes to mind OR take some the journaling prompt ideas from the above sites and put them in a jar. Pick one each day to journal during your timed period. If you have more time, many people I know started journaling by doing “Pages” which was coined in The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron. Commit to journaling 3 pages everyday (if you have a notebook size journal that is 3 sides, and if you have a smaller book it would be 3 pages front and back). Don’t worry about what you write, just write!
- What is your favorite way or thing to journal about. Share your journaling ideas or tips with us! Thank you!