Journaling is a habit that’s well worth your time. Here’s why you should carve out space in your busy schedule to keep a diary!
Guest post by Marilyn Nutter
“Where will I find the time?”
Time for what? Journaling!
Some women journal to record memories, goals and dreams; others to record gratitude, their children’s precious quotes and family adventures; some to identify what’s important to them, or perhaps aspire to where they’d like to be in a year and a plan for getting there.
Others record daily devotions and sermon notes, and some use a journal exclusively for prayer requests and answers, or write scriptures that are special to them and how they have been fulfilled in their lives.
I also keep individual journals for each grandchild to record our shared experiences. When they were born, I chose a Bible verse I prayed for them and I have a new verse on each birthday. I plan to give them their journals when they graduate from high school.
If you’ve never journaled or kept a diary, now is a good time to start. You are probably saying, “Does she know what my day is like? Does she know my life? I have one child in school and two under 5! Where will I find the time?”
Trust me; I’ve been there. I know what days are like with children running non-stop and I know life is busy and hard. But I also know we can carve out time for the things we want to do and need to do. Let me encourage you—journaling is worth the time.
How to Get Started with Journaling
Journals are personal; there is no right or wrong approach to keeping a journal. You don’t have to be a professional writer or even a good writer to journal. It is a tool for you.
Just as there are many reasons for journaling, there are also many styles of writing.
- You may choose to write in paragraphs, brief bullet phrases, or in the form of a letter to God or to yourself.
- You can be simplistic and to the point or creative and elaborate.
- You could write daily, weekly, or only journal significant events and experiences.
- You might journal prayer requests and answers, or enumerate things you are thankful for.
Journals can reveal our mood through our handwriting—showing how hurried or thoughtful we are. Some women even change the ink colors!
Journals help us to clarify our thoughts and feelings. There is something about seeing words on paper that help us do that. We may relieve our stress as we write about what’s bothering us. It may help us clearly see what is going on in a disagreement we have with someone. My written words may shout what is really bothering me.
I’ve kept journals for the past thirty-eight years. I’ve seen changes in my handwriting and more importantly, when I re-read my journals, I’ve seen changes in me.
You can use an inexpensive spiral notebook, a leather covered book, or one from the Dollar store. Keep your journal handy with a pen, your Bible, and a study or devotional book if you are using them. You may want to have your materials in a basket in the same place to retrieve when you need them and not waste time looking all over the house! 🙂
Date your entries, use any style you wish and record what you choose: your activities and prayer requests for the day, your reflections and responses to Bible passages or devotions you are reading. If you listen to a sermon or other Bible teaching, include your personal application. Perhaps the lyrics of a song resonated with you. Ask yourself:
- What is God teaching me?
- Is He repeating Himself to me in different ways?
- What is He encouraging me to pray about?
- Is He trying to get my attention about something?
- What is He calling me to change?
- How does He want me to be an influence?
- What is He calling me to do?
Why journal? Why is it worth the time?
Here are some of the benefits of journaling that you will begin to notice over time:
1. You may see a pattern as you write about what God is teaching you through your experiences, through reading, observing your surroundings, and listening to the people in your life.
2. You may discover you are praying in a new way for yourself and others.
3. You may develop more gratitude and contentment.
4. You may decide there is something you need to intentionally change.
Regardless of your discoveries, journaling is one way to grow and change, to record things we may forget, to relieve stress, to develop greater intimacy with God and reflect on the way He is working in and through you.
How do I know? At my last count, I had twenty-nine journals on my bookshelf.
Do you keep a journal? What benefits have you discovered from journaling?
Marilyn Nutter is a mother of three adult daughters and grandmother to seven. She resides in Mt. Holly, North Carolina. She is the author of three devotional books, editor of Penned from the Heart, and a contributor to compilations and online sites. Visit her website, www.marilynnutter.com, and see if her devotionals might become part of your journaling experiences.
I also LOVE LOVE LOVE to journal…I’ve been journaling since I was a young girl. One special thing I did was when each of my daughters became mothers, I gave each a journal and I wrote my favorite verse and a note to them. Then they’ve used them to journal their pregnancies, special events in their lives, etc. My journaling includes many prayer requests, verses to reflect upon, joys, pains, just things about my day(s). I have used spiral notebooks, made my own journals, and keep them where I can reflect back to see how far I’ve come!!! It’s a wonderful outlet, even if you think you don’t have time…..any time to journal is good!!! I found that if I make it one of the things I do in my morning routine, it’s not a “chore”, I also make an entry about my day before I go to bed…it’s been a great outlet for me! Happy journaling!!!
Tasha @ Real Imprints
Marilyn, we are neighbors! I live in Denver, NC! I really appreciated this post! I find a lot of therapy in writing and I can seem to express my thoughts more clearly when I can get them on paper. Every year my husband and I write letters to each of our four children at Christmas. We talk about their strengths and things we love about them. Those letters are placed in their journal with other special cards and memorabilia. It brings great joy to my kids to see how they have grown through our words. I am now realizing as we have started our own blog recently, that I can share my inspired thoughts with others. It brings me a great amount of joy! Thanks for sharing!
I have journaled periodically all of my life. One of my most treasured possessions are my journals from my early teen years. I still enjoy rereading them and remembering. I also was wise enough to journal the purchase and remodel of our current home. Those days were long, tiring, and awesome. I’m glad I recorded the minutia of the days to remember that journey. I have started numerous prayer journals, but I’m not faithful in keeping them. We (as a society) are losing the art of good-old-fashioned handwriting, and even I’ll admit, I’d rather compose at the keyboard where my fingers can keep up with my brain, rather than in long-hand. I do, however, want to begin journaling again. Thanks for the encouragement!
I started keeping a journal at the age of 10. I wrote regularly, recording whatever I thought was worthy of remembering. It is wonderful to go back through and read what God has done in my life throughout the years. I am eighteen now and newly married. I stopped keeping a regular journal during our engagement, mostly due to busyness, but I often catch myself thinking of things I would like to record and remember from this phase of life.
Thanks for this post. It was really needed.
I kept a prayer journal for years and held on to each thinking I would one day pass them on for my children to read. One day as I was de-cluttering, I started reading over them and realized that there was one thing I kept praying about over and over again. Had I not trusted God enough to handle that for me? I prayed right then and there and told God I would completely trust Him in that area of my life. I burned the journals and from that day I was released from the fear I had held onto for so long. I still keep a journal, but the prayers are different now and the pages are filled with a deep gratitude for a faithful God.
Erin Marie Sills
Thank for this post. I am trying to get back into journaling after busy, sleepless years of early motherhood. Have you seen the Spiritual Circle Journal? It’s my current journal of choice, allowing me to get “deep” with God in a shorter amount of time. Here is a post about my journaling journey: http://www.healthhappensathome.com/blog/2015/11/30/journaling-for-health-the-journal-designed-for-busy-women