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Why Should I Keep A Journal?

Why should you keep a journal? Is it mandated somewhere in Biblical law or verse that we have to keep a journal or diary of our thoughts, actions, sins, etc.?  If I’m a Christian, am required to keep a journal?

I find it difficult to picture Abraham, Noah, or even the Apostle Paul carrying stone tablets around in the pockets of their robes so they could “journal” about the events of the day.  If they did get up each morning, and sat with chisel and stone in hand while they sipped their watered down wine, where would they have stored all those tablets or erased what they wrote so they could write more stuff?  Even the scrolls of old weren’t pocket-sized, so carrying them around couldn’t have been too convenient.  No, keeping a written journal is not required if you are a Christian, however, it is a useful practice as you study on God’s word or take note of God’s interaction in your life.

What exactly is a journal? For the purpose of this article, we will define a journal as a book in which you write down your personal experiences, observations, and thoughts and/or keep track of events.

“This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: ‘Write in a book all the words I have spoken to you.

Jeremiah 30:2 (NIV)

2Keep my commandments and live, And keep my teaching and law as the apple of your eye.Bind them [securely] on your fingers; Write them on the tablet of your heart.  

 Proverbs 7: 2-3 (AMP)

 The palest ink is better than the best memory.  Chinese proverb

“This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: ‘Write in a book all the words I have spoken to you.

Jeremiah 30:2 (NIV)

2Keep my commandments and live, And keep my teaching and law as the apple of your eye.Bind them [securely] on your fingers; Write them on the tablet of your heart.  

 Proverbs 7: 2-3 (AMP)

 The palest ink is better than the best memory.  Chinese proverbWhile we can’t really “write” God’s commandments on our heart, we can “learn” what His word says and “remember” it so that it directs every aspect of our lives:  our thoughts, plans and attitudes.

I don’t know about you but just reading His word doesn’t always mean I’ll remember it for long and be able to call it back to memory when I need it.  I personally need to put a little more effort into it if I want it to be “written on the tablet of my heart.”  For me, this is where journaling comes in to play.  There are as many types of journals as there are ways to journal.  It’s an individual practice and choice.  You should first of all decide if this is something that would help you in your spiritual walk, decide how it would help you and then just do it.  Pick up a pen, pencil, crayon or computer and start.

Personally I love journaling.  Place a new, empty journal in front of me and I get giddy thinking of the ways I could use it!  Over the years I’ve kept all types of journals:  prayer journals, Bible study journals, gratitude journals, journals on worship notes and Sunday School lessons, weight loss journals, exercise journals, travel journals, “to do” journals, etc.  Journaling is only limited to your imagination.

Below are few of the types of journals you can use to help you keep track and express yourself:

  1. Keep a “list” journal – This is probably one of the easiest ways to journal, especially if you don’t really think of yourself as a writer. For example, as you read through the Bible, jot down phrases, words or ideas that the Holy Spirit is laying on your heart.  Be as brief or as lengthy as you want.  This is also an excellent way to keep track of your prayer list.  Make a “prayer journal” with at least two columns.  One column can be your prayer list and the other column can be used to write down and document how and when the prayer(s) was answered.
  1. Pre-dated journals or date books – If you want to encourage yourself to write something every day of the year (and want to limit yourself to a page or column for writing your notes) you can use any of the wide assortment of dated calendars. They also come in varying sizes, ranging from pocket size to full size. You can use these for notes, thoughts, or writing longer observations as space permits.
  1. Pre-printed journals – these are great for beginning journal writers. These usually have prompts or formats that you can follow or use.  For those who can’t think of what to write about, or what kernels of wisdom we should look for while reading Bible verses, these can get your thought processes started.
  1. Blank journals – These can be used many ways. You can write your prayers out as you would a letter to God.  You can write your thoughts down in paragraph form.  You can write poems or songs.  You can use as many pages as you want; you may want to write ½ page today and 10 pages tomorrow.  Follow your heart!  If you are into art, you can even buy a blank journal without lines and use it to journal using your artistic talents. You’d be surprised what you may feel led to write about.  One morning as I sat with with my pen in hand, sipping my coffee, my cat Ralph decided to join me during my reflection and prayer time.  Rather than let Satan get the best of me for the distraction, I decided to look at the humor in the situation.  While I am not gifted with any artistic talent, I found myself drawing out a stick-figure diagram to share with my daughter about the humorous situation.  It shows Ralph purring and circling my feet as I tried diligently to focus on what I what I hearing from the Lord.  On this particular morning, I felt him say, “Stop taking everything so seriously and enjoy the little things I’ve placed in your life.”  I look back at that drawing (which I shared with my daughter via text) and it always brings a smile to my face.  I would like to think it makes God smile too!
  1. On-line Journals – If writing in a journal seems foreign to you, you can do an online journal. You can make your own or you can use one of the many apps available online.  (I’ve personally kept an online travel journal.)  Most of these sites give you the option of keeping your writing private or choosing whether or not you would like to share with others.
  1. Journaling Bibles – A journaling Bible is formatted with space inside your Bible for note-taking and artistic creativity. You can keep notes, track prayer requests, make journal entries, etc. in the same Bible you read every day.  There are many types available.
  1. Three-ring binders – Easiest journal to personalize. You can use dividers and write on as many topics as you want or choose just one subject to focus on.  Binders come in many widths as well from ½ inch to 6 inches (maybe more).

One of the best things about keeping a journal is that at any time, you can go back and look at what you’ve seen, read, heard or felt and compare it to where you are now and how you are feeling today.

Let me encourage you to use any of the above-mentioned journals, a journal creation of your own, or any combination of journal-keeping ideas.   Use them to focus your mind and enable you to “write” these important things “on the tablet of your heart.”  See the difference it can make in your own spiritual walk.

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Journaling Bee

I am a retired Christian wife and mother with a passion for reading, journaling, and sewing/quilting. As part of my ministry, I feel called to be an "encourager" and as such, decided to share some of my journaling experiences with the hopes that it would offer comfort, compassion, and encouragement.

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