More than anything, I want this post to be a conversation around journalling, starting with selecting a new journal.
I am only a few entries away from filling the final pages of my current journal. I believe I have been using the same kind of journal since 2004. The Ecojot jumbo journal has been my go to with its 300 pages of spiral bound goodness!
I want to know the different ways people select new journals. Is it a big deal? A sacred journey? Do you have certain things you are looking for in a new journal? Maybe you stand and wait for the right journal to reveal itself to you.
On this particular day, standing before an entire wall dedicated to journals, it was decision making time. Twenty feet of choices and complete freedom, it was a little overwhelming! Perhaps I have used the same journal for 15 years to keep things simple; all I had to pick was the cover design.
For some reason I am stepping away from my spiral bound, hardcover, lined journal I have enjoyed for so many years. What I step into is yet to be determined. As I wrestle to find my new style journal I also began to wonder if there is an invitation into something new in the practice of journaling itself.
I’m going to share some of the ways I have come to know God through journaling, As we look at different styles and approaches to journaling, I’d love to hear your own experiences through journaling. Sharing our experiences through collective inspiration benefits everyone who reads this.
I have met God powerfully in a spaces of journaling scripture. Finding a verse that stands out and writing in my journal causes me to stop long enough to go deeper into His word. I often write a few different translations, and I like to use different coloured pens. This becomes a conversation of discovery, like walking with God down a path eager to see what He may have around the next corner. Some days there is revelation that comes and other days not so much. Regardless, there is more value than we know in interacting with The Word this way. Coincidently, I am brought back to that scripture sometime shortly after, and I’m so thankful I have written it down.
Streams of Consciousness
This is a kind of journaling that could be described as just picking up your pen and letting it flow. Not forcing anything or trying to produce anything in particular. You just write and whatever comes out comes out. Thoughts or ideas may come up, emotions or past experiences, or even things you want to get done today. It can be a brain dump of sorts, but can also tap into what is going in inside. Just like we teach in the Cultivate Connection Meditation Podcast, you simply notice what comes up. This becomes an opportunity to have a conversation with God about what you notice. You invite Him into what you have written that day. You may be surprised as to what flows out as you are writing.
This practice comes into play when I am stirred up about something and can’t settle. If I am hurt, discouraged, offended, or disconnected this kind of journaling usually helps. The point is to connect with the emotions and express them in a healthy way. Pouring out onto the pages all the hurt, pain, injustice, anger, whatever is in there. I like to visualize climbing up on my Daddy God’s lap and telling on the people that hurt me and explaining how it made me feel.
It is better to release [our feelings] them to God than stuff them down and have them pop up at a later date, often bigger than ever!
It is important here not to put a filter on these feelings, just let them flow out in writing. We can be tempted to overlook emotions we think are “wrong” and not let ourselves feel them or try to ignore them, but the truth is they have to go somewhere. It is better to release them to God than stuff them down and have them pop up at a later date, often bigger than ever! Once you have had the release I recommend doing some clean up here and repenting for anything that God shows you. Let Him convict your heart and then take time to listen who He says you are.
This journaling practice is just like it sounds. Instead of speaking prayer out loud I will write it in a journal. It may be prayers from my heart for myself, asking God to move in my life, change my heart, make me like Jesus. Or it may look like writing out the desires of my heart, praying into future hopes; asking God to show me how to fulfill the prophetic words on my life. I also enjoy writing down someone else’s name and praying for them on these pages. The really cool part about writing out prayers is going back and seeing how God has answered these prayers. It is easy to forget the prayers we have prayed, writing them down helps us to remember and celebrate God’s goodness!
I believe it is so vital to document and remember the times when God shows up in our lives. This style of journaling captures all the different ways God moves in our lives. Answers to prayer and the testimonies that unfold. Those fun God coincidences where you know it wasn’t a coincidence at all, but instead God moving all the pieces exactly where they needed to be.
This can be a great practice at the end of each day. Simply reflecting back on your day, asking God to show you something to be grateful for. Focusing on where God is moving in our lives is powerful and helps ward off discouragement. Rather than focusing on what we don’t have, we focus on what we do have. These journal entries become waymarkers in our lives to cling to when things get tough. A much needed map of encouragement when we need it.
Conversations with God
Applicable to every style above, this is a practice of making room for God to speak. Similar to when we pray, it is a great idea to stop talking sometimes and listen to what God has to say. In journaling I will find myself at times writing out what I believe God is saying to me. Almost like a letter from God. Sometimes it is just a few lines, sometimes it can go for a page or two. I allow myself to be open to receive and write down what I am hearing. Similar to streams of consciousness, I try not to question or second guess each though. Just let it flow through writing.
What’s Your Style?
I hope some of the above practices inspire and encourage you in your own journaling practice. Speaking of which, I would love to hear what your practice looks like! What ways has God met you through journaling? Or if you are looking to start a journaling practice, what is your biggest hurdle? Let’s see how we learn from each other in growing an interactive journaling practice with God! Share below.
PS… I still need to figure out how to select my new journal!