Journaling a calming part of your spiritual disciplines

Today I didn’t want to get out of bed. Nothing unusual about that. I’m not a morning person. And it’s a Monday. But as I lay in bed in the dark after Ray left for work (usually I drive him to work), I pondered why I didn’t want to face the day. Part of it is that yesterday was delicious. I had some much needed time alone with God.

I was able to spend some time praying, and enjoy absolute quietness, which is rare (I have a very noisy family). I didn’t want to lose the peace from my time of solitude with God by going full-force into Monday with all its to-do’s. So I deliberately set aside time this morning to read the Bible (Joshua 1) and to journal to quiet my soul before I started the day.

Journaling can be a calming part of your spiritual disciplines each day. You don’t have to spend a lot of money or time to do it. You don’t have to buy an expensive journal or pen. My favorite pen in the whole world to write with is an ultra-fine, black Sharpie.®  I should have stock in them. Two Sharpie pens are $1.99 at the local Walmart. You can also get Sharpies® in different, fun colors like purple, green, red, blue, etc. They write effortlessly across a crisp, white, fresh page.

You can buy an inexpensive  journal at Border’s or your local book store, Walmart, or the dollar store. I don’t buy expensive journals, but I do enjoy picking one out that is colorful. My journals’ covers have had ladybugs, spring flowers,  zebra stripes, polka dots, etc. The one I have now is purple faux leather with wide lines on the pages, because I love the color purple and like to have lots of room to write. Choose one that you enjoy looking at, because you’re going to spend some time in it.

Sometimes I read the Bible before I journal, and record the scripture I’m reading, then journal about that passage. For example, today I read Joshua 1, which my friend LaTara Ham Ying had encouraged our Challenge Circle to read this week. It spoke volumes to me and was in perfect alignment where I’m at right now with a workshop that I”m planning for November 2011, Fearlessly Forward. (If you’re not on my mailing list, sign up so you’ll be sure to hear the details first!) God amazes me how He confirms His word!

The Scriptures can be a springboard to write. For example, today I copied Joshua 1: 1-2 in my journal, reflecting on how God wants us to have courage and not be afraid – and to know that He is always with us. I also wrote down ideas for the November workshop.

In your journal, you can also just record your own thoughts, write a song, do copywork from a poem or a book you’re reading and love, draw, press flowers or trace beautiful, colored fall leaves, or whatever you want in your journal. Let your creativity flow. It’s yours.

I encourage you to date your journal entry. Later you can look back and fill in dates of when and how God has answered prayers or worked in that specific situation. It can serve as a memorial like the stone altars the patriarchs Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob built to God to worship Him to remember His promises and His miracles.

“Christians through the centuries have written spiritual autobiographies, personal diaries and journals. Some are available to us, while the contents of others are known to God alone. Some were written to be read. Others were so personal and confidential that they were ordered burned at the authors’ death. Some classic autobiographies are: Augustine’s Confessions; Teresa of Avila’s Life; George Fox’s Journal; Thomas Merton’s The Seven Storey Mountain, Dag Hammarskjold’s Markings; and Henri Nouwen’s Genesee Diary and The Road to Daybreak. The personal reflections of some of the great missionaries can also be accessed and read. It is worthwhile to mention here that we are not in competition with others. Our journal is ours.”

(http://www.upwardcallministries.org/Journaling_as_a_Spiritual_Discipline.pdf)

You don’t need to worry about proper spelling or grammar for your journal. Lay the internal editor to rest, and just write, your thoughts unstopped. Let your journal be your sounding board to God.  Pour out your true feelings.

“Rise during the night and cry out. Pour out your hearts like water to the Lord.” ~ Lamentations 2:19

I believe the Psalms may have first been portions of David’s journaling. When he was angry or depressed, he shared this openly with God.

Ask God questions and listen for His answers, guidance, direction, Wisdom. Journaling is a path of discovery. You are inviting God into your writing and your life.  It will take you deeper in faith with Him.

You can journal in your bedroom, on a bus or a train, at the park after your nature walk. You can have worship or praise or some type of soothing music in the background, and a cup of hot coffee or a cold drink on the table as you’re writing. This is your time to reflect, ponder, ask the hard questions, dream.

If you have problems with insomnia like me, you can write in the middle of the night, recording your prayers, things that are weighing on your heart, or ideas for a book, your next event, conference, webinar, or telecall.

“The goal is to allow the Holy Spirit to use the time of journaling to bring together in a redemptive and revelatory way His love and your need articulated from the depths of your heart.”

(http://www.upwardcallministries.org/Journaling_as_a_Spiritual_Discipline.pdf)

Begin journaling and see where it takes you.

“So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you. Take your everyday, ordinary life – your sleeping, going-to-work and walking-around life – and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for Him.” ~ Romans 12:1

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