I have found journaling to be a very useful habit that helps me unclog some of the things that I cannot express in words. I write for many reasons. At times, great ideas come randomly, and I jot these down to help make sense of what my next step in life should be. Other times, I receive random thoughts on what I believe God is saying to me. I am often very grateful to have written some of the ideas down because in a way writing them takes me a step closer to making it feel real. Other times, I laugh at myself when I read the things I have jotted down, either way, it feels like a path of self-discovery.
People journal for different reasons, I recommend journaling to express your thoughts to yourself and as a source document for progress so you can keep yourself in check. People also have different methods of doing this, for instance, they write in story format or simple bullet form. What matters is doing it in a way that is most comfortable to you. I have previously pasted pictures and quotes on my journals, sometimes those pictures help tell a better story than my words, at times it just brings context. Most times, I simply write letters to myself documenting events, feelings, and thoughts I may have. Journaling should be a personal process, there isn’t a ‘one size fits all’ approach when it comes to this so I would suggest one stick to whatever their preferences are, and what works best for them. I read an article, it highlighted that journaling can help you heal injuries faster, boost your IQ, reduce stress and anxiety, improve your communication skills, spark creativity, and help you solve your problems, amongst other benefits. This clearly shows that it does more than organize your thoughts and feelings but can positively improve other areas of your life.
There is a term for the type of journaling I do, I am not certain if this term is official, but I have heard people refer to it, it is called “Journaling with Jesus”. Unlike simply journaling one’s thoughts, you allow Holy Spirit to be part of your love-letter process. This may include silent prayers of asking God to speak to you before you write anything down or asking Him what is on His heart. In the beginning, it may feel strange but with time it gets better and feels more natural.
There have been days when I have felt an urgency that God wants to talk about certain issues and feel the need to get away from my usual spots and go to different environments. On these occasions, God has never failed, I find He has special messages waiting for me in different places. Surely God would still communicate with me even if I did not leave the house or wherever I may have been at the time. However, God will sometimes use symbols such as trees, leaves, grass, cars, color, etc. to reiterate His message to me. In the end, the small getaways with God give me a much better understanding of what He is ministering, plus it makes it feel special- sort of like a date with God. So, I hardly take the prompting for granted, knowing that it helps me in building a special relationship with God. God is in the details and I would not want to miss the different ways He communicates with me.
Journaling with Jesus allows me to spontaneously flow with the thoughts and ideas that Holy Spirit may drop in my spirit, as mentioned above, other times these turn out to just be my thoughts, and that is okay because I get to filter the information and keep what matters. Journaling with Jesus is different from journaling by myself, the LORD often gives me scripture to confirm what He says, that way, I get a glimpse of what He wants me to focus on at that moment. When I jot my thoughts down, I can revisit them and start to categorize my emotions. It helps me to stay aware of the state I am in, which positively contributes to my mental health. In some odd way, I see journaling with Jesus as a form of prophesying over my life in an unspoken way, when I document the more positive and encouraging thoughts, of course. I write things down in the hope that they will be manifested, I also make space at the back of the journal for testimonies. What would the point be if I did not believe it would happen? I, therefore, write in faith that God will surprise me. There have been times when God has taken me back to journals from previous years, I get surprised at just how consistent God is when He has given me a message about my life, I find that He hardly changes His mind, instead He adds on more context as the years go by. This has helped me keep track of the things God says He will do in my life and it helps to build my faith in Him manifesting these. I wish I could journal daily, but this is not the case for me, I can go long periods without any journaling, and I have seasons where I journal almost daily. Either way, it makes the process of journaling personal and special. This process has a lot of beautiful benefits!
I would like to invite you to try this out, it helps in decluttering your thoughts and categorizing them efficiently. That way as you reread what you have written, you get a sense of what is in your heart, you will probably be able to sense the irritation, impatience, joy, or satisfaction, or whatever emotions come out strongly as you write. The most amazing outcome of this process is that it can help you hear the voice of the LORD better, and to grow in a relationship with Him.
Is journaling for everyone? Probably not, but you will never if this method is for you unless you try it. You do not have to be a “writer” to try it, all you need is a pen and a notepad!
Jeremiah 30: 2 “Thus speaks the LORD God of Israel, saying ‘write in a book for yourself all the words that I have spoken to you”.