I love to journal. I love to sit down at the end of the day, open my notebook, and record specific thoughts that have been suggested to my mind that day, situations that I have learned from, insight from books I am reading, meditations on Scripture, or simply write about an enjoyable event and thank God for His goodness to me.
Out of all the spiritual disciplines, I would say that I am drawn to this one most easily. There are days when I feel like I could write for hours-and this inclination usually comes after having already written for near an hour! But I sense real spiritual benefit from writing, too. Thoughts are clarified, truth is solidified in my mind (which usually promotes real rejoicing in my heart), God’s faithfulness is preserved for future encouragement, and helpful quotes from godly men and women are stored up for later use.
Even if you never intend to write for publication, I would encourage you to write for your own edification. Don Whitney writes,
Keeping a journal can be one of the most profitable and fruitful disciplines we ever practice. Among other things, it helps in self-understanding and evaluation, in meditating on the Lord and His Word, in expressing our deepest feelings to the Lord and in remembering His works in our lives. Journaling assists in creating and preserving a spiritual heritage, in clarifying and articulating insights and impressions, in monitoring goals and priorities, and in maintaining other spiritual disciplines (Simplify Your Spiritual Life, 95.)
Whitney continues to encourage us,
…some people imagine journaling to be more complicated than it is. In fact, it’s quite simple. Just write. Unlike some of the other spiritual disciplines, there’s no right or wrong way to keep a journal (95).
John Piper, in a Q & A after his biography on Jonathan Edwards, said, “I owe all the [doctrinal, spiritual] clarity that I ever had to 30 volumes of journals began when I was a sophomore in college.” That was 19 years ago. In a recent interview, he says that number is up to 60 volumes. Imagine that! 60 volumes of writing, never intended for publication but only for the good of his soul.
So pick up a pen, a notebook, and start to write. Whether you write several paragraphs, or just a couple of lines; twice a day, or a couple times a week, the practice of journaling will benefit your soul.
You can read my other entry on journaling here.
Photo: Calum MacAulay