You might be asking yourself, 'Why should I bother to keep a journal? Well, to quote Socrates:
The unexamined life is not worth living.If we do not examine our lives, how can we learn from our mistakes? How can we keep perspective when things aren't going well? How will we remember when God has spoken to us and what He has said?
Keeping a journal means recording the ups and downs of life, the great blessings, the times of distress, when we took risks and how God was faithful, how we are doing on the spiritual journey. It is palace to be honest with ourselves and with God. It will also help us to develop a more mature walk with Christ, keeping a check on which direction we are moving in. We can see patterns emerging; see which way God is leading us. Where do you keep sinning? Where are you struggling? Where can you see victory and growth?
What do I record?
The short answer is: anything you like!
I have more than one journal on the go at any one time. I have one that I do my Bible study/prayer in every morning, and another for recording specific things God has said to me. I also have a couple that I just dabble in - they are often the ones where God speaks to me through the process or reveals something in the result. They are the ones where I let my hands work intuitively. Sometimes the result is surprising, and sometimes I don't like it, but all journalling teaches you something.
So put in your journal whatever suits you.
|this is a Bible study journal page|
Here are some ideas:
Reflection - looking at the past can help us make better decisions in the future. Reflect on times when you made great decisions, when you took risks for God, when you fell down, when you had to make tough decisions. Look at where you have come from and where you are heading for. Remember the times of great blessing. Be thankful for what God has already give.
Confession - when you see that you have to keep confessing the same thing, you might be spurred to do something about it.
Dreams - writing down or drawing your dreams can help you to see where God is speaking to you while you sleep. Remember, God often talks in symbols (think of the parables) so your dreams won't be literal necessarily. Learn to see the message behind the actual dream.
Pictures and words - keep a record of anything God says to you either directly or through others. Even if you don't immediately understand them, making a note means you can come back later. They also increase our faith when you see how they fit into what happens in your life.
Promptings - make a note when God has prompted you to do something and you have taken the risk to do it. Also when you haven't acted on the prompt. Why not? What was the result?
Impressions - when you think that you should be moving in a particular direction, write it down. If you receive several of these it can help you to see exactly what God is saying.
Prayers - write down your prayers of blessing, thanks, praise, confession, etc. When you go through a difficult patch, you can come back to these and pray them again when words are difficult for you.
Bible study insights - things you have learned from reading the Word. What is God teaching you?
Blessings - making a note of answered prayers and blessings is an encouragement.
Illustrations - keep a record of ideas for explaining spiritual truths. Whenever God uses something ordinary to help you to understand, make a note of it. You might need it to help someone else.
A journal is for you. Do it any way that helps you to grow. There is no right or wrong way to keep a journal. Here are a few ideas to get you started:
Writing - Putting thoughts down on paper. Reviewing the day. This doesn't have to full-flowing prose. If is for you, Just jot down what is important to you. Distil the day into one phrase if you want to.
Drawing - think of colours, shapes, situations, emotions. Drawing can be as simple as the colour of the background reflecting the mood of the day.
Collage - use images out of magazines, found papers, etc. that speak to you or speak of how you feel, or just images that you like.
Of course, if you're not listening to God there will be nothing to record!