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.