Keeping a Journal
What is a journal?
A personal journal can be a tool for self-exploration and discovery, as well as a safety valve for the emotions. It can also be a place to find clarification, resolution, spiritual resources, and the self-affirmation needed for courage. A journal is not a substitute for people and our need to communicate with others, but it can become a friend and a confidant.
What do you say in a journal?
Anything at all! There are no "right or wrong" words. Just record whatever comes from your heart!
What are the benefits of keeping a journal?
Growth in self-understanding - Keeping a journal can provide the time and structure for exploring your life, your thoughts, your feelings, your dreams, your relationships with others and with God.
Releasing emotions - A journal can often help define what emotions you are experiencing. Expressing these emotions in writing can help you diffuse any negative ones as well as reinforce positive ones.
Guidance and decision-making - We often find out what we think, what we feel or know. When forced with a decision, you can weigh the possible alternatives in your journal before making the decision.
Making sense and order of life - We are all faced with fears and questions about life. The mere fact of writing about these makes some attempt at dealing with these fears and unknowns. Frequently, a new sense of peace can be yours by sitting down with your journal in the presence of God and sorting out your life regarding your perspective.
Clarifying beliefs - As you bring your beliefs into focus on paper, you will have greater courage and ability to witness to the hope you have in Christ.
Working through problems - In a journal, you can "talk out" a problem and gain perspective on it. It can often help you gain enough clarity so that, if you do decide to talk with a friend, you will be better prepared to do so.
Setting goals and managing your time - A journal is a good tool to keep your goals before you, to clarify them, and to move toward reaching them. You can also use it to evaluate and organize your time to help to progress toward your goals.
Talking anything over with God - When you are unclear of God's will, caught up in a particular problem, or just wanting to tell Him how you feel, prayerfully talk it over with the Lord in your journal.
How often do you write in your journal?
As often as you have the need. Do remember to date each entry, however, when you do write. It is helpful to be able to look back from time-to-time to see your progress in your journey of life.
(Sometimes it is helpful to write letters to God in your journal)
Adapted from How To Keep a Spiritual Journal by Ronald Klug.