Ok, so it’s no secret:
I love to journal.
It is simply the way I express myself creatively (writing/drawing), the same way a musician expresses themselves through music. I don’t want anyone to misunderstand my goal for this blog. I desire to use what I love to do in order to share what God is teaching me and encourage you, but I do not expect you to have that same desire. The way you express yourself, the way you learn, and your relationship with God will look completely different. Keep in mind that this is a personal preference of mine and by no means are we all called to express ourselves in the same way. I truly believe that this is a part of my personal ministry in order to encourage others in the faith.
Why I keep them.
So, I started to journal during my quiet times with the Lord when I was 18 years old, and I currently have a trunk full of them filled. I keep them so that I can sometimes flip through them to reflect on all that God has taught me, what He has brought me through and to remind myself of what He has done for me. It is so amazing to look back and read something that God revealed to you years ago that speaks directly into your life in the present.
In my journal:
- quiet time notes
- church notes
- Audio podcasts notes (I love Andy Stanley & the SEVEN podcast!)
- Various drawings that connect with what I am learning
- Song lyrics that speak to me
- Bible verses
- In depth bible study notes
- Reflection on what God is teaching me in that season
BUT, you may have another way that you and the Lord spend quality time together…
For example, some people enjoy spending time outdoors talking to God, others sing, or dance, paint, simply pray, teach, preach. Instead of writing in a physical journal they may use a tablet, or maybe you have another way. Everyone has a unique, intimate relationship with the Lord, so don’t feel the need to force yours to look like mine or anyone else! Be yourself.
If you DO like to journal:
Then I will share a few things I do that really help me break down, recall and reflect on what God is teaching me.
- I have one journal at a time. This is a personal preference because I have noticed that whether I am praying, studying the bible or taking notes during a sermon, God always seems to somehow connect the different lessons of my season. Having everything that I am learning or experiencing written in one place allows me to see a common theme. When reading through my journals, I am able to connect the dots and see clearly what God is revealing to me. But, I will say that I have a friend who completely disagrees with my method in this, ha! She is probably the most organized young woman I know, and she keeps multiple journals for different purposes. And it works for her! She has a prayer journal, a planner, a journal for church notes and for studying the bible. I think I write too much for all that! I would lose track of them all, but I do love how different we are. So, find the best way for you.
- I take notes during church services. Many of us do this because God speaks so clearly when we are seeking to hear His voice. And how many of us have felt that God was speaking directly to us through the pastor at some point? If we believe God wants to speak, then we want to remember what He said! I write it down because if I truly intend to apply what God is teaching me, I need to be able to recall it. And I won’t be able to remember anything unless I do.
- I write everything down. Ok, so I am often driving, working out, or at work when out of nowhere God gives me a good word. A mini revelation, inspiration, or an “aha” moment. And sometimes it has nothing to do with my season and seems to be completely random, but either way I write it down! Sure enough, without fail, months down the line or even that day, God either uses it to help me or allows me to share it with someone else who needs it (or I end up writing it on She Journals). And not only that, I WILL forget if I don’t write it down right then. If you feel like God is speaking, write it down (unless you have an insane memory, which I do not)!
- I share what I am learning. After I reflect and meditate on what God is teaching me in my journal, I share it. It can be to my best friend, on an IG post or on She Journals. I can’t help but share what God is teaching me. I get so excited and passionate about how GOOD He really is and sometimes it just pours out. And you never know who needs to hear exactly what God is teaching you. I can’t tell you the number of times that I have had young women even some guys reach out to me thanking me for sharing my quiet time on IG. You may feel silly for sharing (some people mock you for it), but praying that God uses it to encourage just one person makes it worth it.
- Every journal entry looks different. Some days a simple written prayer will suffice. Other days I fill up 4 pages of study notes (I always pray for understand before I get into the Word). Sometimes I draw a picture that relates to what I am learning. Other times I write song lyrics that touched my heart. Once in awhile I feel like making my writing look super pretty. And there are always times when it looks like a 1st grader got a hold of my journal. I want my journal to be personal and honest. Not routine. For me, if I did the same thing every entry, it would feel like a chore. It’s just not me.
- I journal when I can. So there is nothing I enjoy more than hitting a coffee shop with a yummy latte, my bible and a journal in hand! It is my absolute favorite thing to do. But, I do not journal every day. Gasp! Crazzzzzy huh? No, not really. Because this crazy thing called life just won’t allow me to spend an hour in my word/journaling each day. I currently commute to Orange County each morning at 5am and don’t get home until late! THANKFULLY, God is so good to me and He understands my season. I love to spend the car ride to work in the morning praying, listening to a sermon on podcast or listening to worship (or 116 clique, ha). Sometimes I take a few minutes on my lunch break to get a little reading in. And this brings me to my next point…
- I don’t count my days. Ya know, I have met some people that say they have no problem counting the number of days they have been in their word (in a row) and it works for them. But, for myself and many others it just doesn’t work. I used to try and keep track of the number of days I spent having my time with the Lord in a row… I used to write the number at the top of my journal page. DAY 1, DAY 2… you get it. But, guess what happened if I missed a day of journaling and had to start back at DAY 1 the next day?! Um, I felt horrible! In a sense, I felt as if I had to start back at one in my relationship with the Lord. As if the other 15 days didn’t count! But, one day I had an amazing pastor remind me that even if I never journaled or read the bible another day in my life, GOD WOULD STILL LOVE ME THE SAME. And we are not confined to a journal page when it comes to spending time with God. He is all around us, always. It’s not about numbering or comparing ourselves to the next Christian. He loves us no matter how much or little we spend reading and journaling. We simply do it in order to learn about and know Him more!
So, if you like to journal and you share your journal entries on social network platforms, then I would LOVE to see it! Please use #shejournals (or #hejournals?) if you posted anything that the Lord revealed to you! You never know who needs to hear it, and I could very well be that person! 🙂