Five Ways to Flourish in Journaling

David Mathis is executive editor program for and curate at Cities Church. He is a husband, father of four, and writer of Workers for Your joy : The Call of Christ on christian Leaders ( 2022 ). David Mathis is executive editor for and pastor at Cities Church. He is a conserve, father of four, and writer of Workers for Your rejoice : The Call of Christ on christian Leaders ( 2022 ). adept journaling is not merely an exercise in introspection, but a nerve pathway for rejoice — and a potent tool in the hands of love .
possibly you ’ re sold on the likely spiritual value of the discipline of journaling, but you precisely don ’ t know how to get going, or keep going.

Make It Yours

It can be helpful to hear that there ’ s basically no wrong way to go about it, and no real rules for it, but that it ’ sulfur something you can actually make your own. Be adenine creative as makes you comfortable. Embrace kind and mix it up vitamin a much, or adenine small, as you prefer. Don ’ thyroxine be locked into one way of doing it, and don ’ thyroxine be suffocated by person else ’ s prototype .
so to help you get going, or keep going, on journal-keeping as a apparitional discipline for the glory of God, the good of others, and the deepening of your own joy, here are five extra pieces of advice for flourishing in this attempt .

1. Keep It Simple.

Journaling is a give for the long haul. The flash-in-the-pan try has limited value. And then an authoritative hardheaded for journaling is keeping it simple enough that you can keep coming back .

“Journaling is a pathway for joy and a powerful tool in the hands of love.”

Be modest in your plans for frequency and duration of entries. If your expectations are excessively involve and complex, then you ’ ll be less probable to continue over fourth dimension. If your only substitution class for journaling requires half an hour or 45 minutes, then you ’ ll be much less likely to develop the substance abuse than if your arithmetic mean is, say, five minutes .
If you ’ re just starting out, or good coming back to the exercise, don ’ thymine test to go from zero to sixty, but take child steps with regularity. One mind for getting the momentum going is to try writing something very short daily during devotions, even fair one prison term. “ Whenever I seem to be content with needlessly retentive lapses in making entries, ” says veteran journaler Don Whitney, “ I discipline myself to write at least one sentence per day ” ( Spiritual Disciplines ) .

2. Don’t Catch Up.

even those of us who don ’ thymine typically think of ourselves as perfectionists can find its magnetic force mess with our journaling radar. It ’ randomness easy to fall into the mentality that our journal must contain all the major events, thoughts, and feelings of our lives to truly be a journal at all. But that is simply not the character .
The best of lifelong journals are “ incomplete ” in that they can ’ thymine possibly hold everything of meaning, or even near — and if their custodian thought they did, then he would have given up long ago. As Whitney writes, journaling “ is not a burden from God to document your entire life sentence ; quite it is meant to bless you and be a mean of rejoice and godliness. ” It need not be an exhaustive record of your universe. It must not. It can ’ t.

3. Take God Seriously.

vital to making your journal serve your spiritual plangency is saturating it with Scripture and permeating it with prayer. a often as seems lifelike, make it Godward, not only with specific text from the Bible, but with cautiously crafted prayers. Journaling and secret prayer can serve as the thermostat for setting our gauges of earnestness about Jesus and his providences and our kinship with him .
But don ’ t take yourself besides badly. Don ’ thyroxine expect that your records and reflections on life will one day be sought by the cosmopolitan Christian public. It is very probably that no one else will ever read your journal. Better if they don ’ thyroxine. The best of journals are just for yourself and God, without constantly looking over your shoulder to think about what person else would think if they were reading it. Settle the return in your own heart now, and write for your own good. Don ’ t change the run of a life ’ s worth of secret journaling just in case person reads it someday .
besides, not taking yourself besides seriously means holding at sleeve ’ sulfur length your intuitions about and your interpretations of God ’ s providences. Take scripture with the extreme earnestness, but proceed cautiously when you think you “ listen God ’ second voice ” or see his management through respective timings and circumstances. Be slow to let one dramatic flurry of journaling inspiration direct a major life decision without cautiously testing it over time and in residential district .

4. Bring the Gospel.

Those Christians who flourish in journaling not only pursue prayer, and study on scripture in general, but seek to apply the religious doctrine with specificity to their fears and frustrations, their highs and lows, their joys and sorrows. When you open your journal harrow, try to follow the path of the psalmists and close with hope .

“Journaling is not a burden from God to document your entire life, but a means of joy meant to bless.”

Make 2 Corinthians 4:8–9 total to biography as you fill the white space with words. When you feel afflicted, exuberate you ’ re not crushed ; when complicate, drive away despair ; when persecuted, remember you ’ re not forsaken ; when struck down, know you will not be destroyed .
Your diary is a venue for impertinently preaching the gospel to yourself, in your particular circumstances, without parroting the canned lines of accuracy you ’ ll nonpayment to without pausing to think it over and write it out. capture in your own words what you ’ re truly feel, and then look for God ’ s words that meet your need. Tailor-make the application for today .

5. Stay with It.

even when you make it yours and keep it simpleton and don ’ triiodothyronine annoyance catching up, there ’ sulfur hush the need for perseverance in the long catch. When the newness wears off and your energy for journaling feels gloomy, remember that it ’ mho natural to come against a barrier like this whenever forming a helpful new substance abuse. Ask for God ’ s assistant to press through the drag, for “ the lastingness that God supplies ” ( 1 Peter 4:11 ), for “ all his energy that he potently works within me ” ( Colossians 1:29 ).

much the hardest character is just sitting down and turning that rust internal grouch to begin letting the words run. But once the doorway is open, ohio how the stream can flow .

Habits of Grace book

Habits of grace : enjoy Jesus Through the Spiritual Disciplines is a call to hear God ’ second part, have his ear, and belong to his consistency .
Though apparently normal and act, the casual “ habits of deck ” we cultivate give us access to these God-designed channels through which his love and world power flow — including the greatest joy of all : know and enjoying Jesus .

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