“Writing in a journal reminds you of your goals and of your learning in life. It offers a place where you can hold a deliberate, thoughtful conversation with yourself.”
–Robin Sharma, Canadian author and speaker on leadership
I used to hate keeping a journal. It’s not because every entry had to begin with “Dear Diary” (which I don’t, by the way #truth). What I didn’t like about journaling was having to write entries on a daily basis. Or having to come up with something substantial to journal on days that went by uneventfully. Or having to write legibly (chicken scratch, anyone?). Or having to use profound language. Keeping a journal often became a chore. And I would often abandon the discipline altogether.
Yet I can’t deny the usefulness of keeping a spiritual journal. Entries often serve as mile markers for my spiritual life. I believe God is constantly showing me new (or old) things in my life. And it has been quite helpful for me to write these things down and to reflect on them thoughtfully. I’m also quite forgetful (and I’m certain you are too) and I often overlook many of the things that God teaches me. Keeping a journal helps me be reminded of all the stuff that God impresses upon my heart.
One of the things that I firmly believe in is that God speaks to us every single day. Why shouldn’t He? We are His children after all. And although He loves us the way we are, He certainly does not want us to stay the way we are. And so I believe God is constantly nudging us forward in our spiritual lives that we might become more like Christ in every way. Keeping a journal encourages us to open our eyes and our ears to what God is saying. It encourages us to reflect on what God is teaching. And it reminds us of how far we’ve come and how far we’ve yet to go.
If you’re just starting out in keeping a journal, I suggest that you start small (see post here). Every day, I simply say to myself that I’ll write something small—just a line or two in my journal. It could be a verse that struck me. It could be a sentence about something that occurred that day. It could simply be the passages of the Bible that I read that morning. And then there are days when something profound happens in my life and a write a paragraph or two about it. Those entries I really cherish. But each day, I simply go back to just writing a line or two and see where it takes me. Starting small every day helps me build consistency and discipline in keeping a journal.
I certainly can’t say that the Bible requires you to keep a journal. If it’s not your cup of tea, there’s not much I can do to convince you otherwise. But the Bible does tell us to keep God’s Word in our hearts (Psalm 119:11). If a journal helps you do that, then by all means, do it. Personally, I’ve found journaling to be quite useful in helping me reflect on the stuff that God teaches me and moving me forward in my obedience to Him.