I started yesterday a quick introduction to what journaling has done for me. I talked about What and Why I journal. Today I’m turning to more practical thoughts on how.
- I have found that it helps me to focus on communicating with the Lord to write my thoughts even as though I would speak them. My journal entry this morning began with “Lord, thank You for last night and really for everything You carried me through yesterday.” Sometimes the prayers are requests, sometimes other words of appreciation, but I try to write these out, word for word. I know it perhaps seems silly, but this helps me stay focused versus the distractions of the world. It’s almost like writing an email to the Lord, but I don’t have to press send.
- As mentioned yesterday, generally the first thing I record in my journal each day is a quick recap of the prior day. I literally do a quick list of bullet points: good family time in the morning, productive time in my day’s meetings (I need that productivity, so when God enables it, I want to thank Him!), good pastoral connects with X person, etc. Especially if there was anything significant during the day, I make a note of it here. A side benefit of this is those moments when I get discouraged about how things are going, I literally can go to my journal and review some of what God has done over the last season in the world around me. It breaks discouragement every time.
- I use a daily reading plan from YouVersion because it appeals to my sense of “checking boxes”. When I begin my Bible reading for the day, I record the Scripture references for that day. Then, as I’m reading, if God pricks my heart related to a particular Scripture, I will write that full verse out in my journal. Writing it increases my potential for memorization, which is a powerful tool for applying God’s Word to your life and situations.
- Whether it’s insights related to a particular Scripture or other things I believe God has illuminated for me, I also record those.
As I mentioned yesterday, journaling has been helpful to me as a leader and as a follower of Christ. If you don’t currently have a journal, go somewhere, buy a notebook, and start writing. I pray you find it as helpful as I did.
Recommendation: A great resource for me in this area has been Wayne Cordeiro’s book, The Divine Mentor.