Pastor Ed Jones
While on vacation, we met no fewer than 15 folks who asked for prayer. Without a journal, we would no doubt forget one or two of these wonderful people.
“Journaling” can mean different things to different people. For us, journaling is keeping a record of prayer requests and answers. The Bible does not mention journaling, so is there value in any of these activities?
Writing or creating art of any kind causes us to slow down enough to attend to our inner self. Words may flow effortlessly, or they may take time to formulate. Either way, writing is a method to help us reflect, contemplate, and more fully digest the things of life.
Journaling can help us pay attention and keep wisdom at the forefront of our thoughts. It can also be a way to guard our hearts as we search our inner being, paying attention to what is going on in our hearts and submitting it to God.
Although the biblical psalms are not true examples of journaling, they do illustrate how the truth of our experiences can be expressed alongside the truth of who God is. The varied themes in the Psalms and their unabashed candidness demonstrate how we can be perfectly honest with ourselves and with God about our feelings and thoughts.
Another benefit of journaling is having a written record to refer to later. In times of spiritual discouragement, one can look back at a journal and find encouragement in God’s past faithfulness or reminders of truth. God often instructed the Israelites to set up forms of remembrance. The Passover, for example, was to serve as a reminder of God’s faithfulness in rescuing the Israelites from Egypt (Exodus 12).
After the Israelites crossed the Jordan River on dry land, God gave Joshua instructions about setting up memorial stones, which were “to serve as a sign among you.” In the future, when your children ask you, ‘What do these stones mean?’ tell them that the flow of the Jordan was cut off before the ark of the covenant of the Lord.
For those who are “natural” writers, journaling can be a way to intentionally use their gifting to grow in Christ. They can explore through journaling the truth presented in scripture or the things God may be teaching them through life circumstances.
Journaling is exciting for some and sounds laborious to others. There is no right or wrong way to journal. And, depending on the person, it may be highly valuable or not add much. Journaling is certainly not a requirement for Christian growth, but it can be a great tool.
Ed Jones pastors Fellowship at the Ranch Church at Robson Ranch. This nondenominational church meets at the Robson Clubhouse on Sunday mornings at 10:30 a.m. For information, visit Fellowship’s website, www.fellowshipattheranchchurch.com.