Monday Ministry Tip: Journaling

For this Monday Ministry Tip I wanted to focus on Journaling.  What is Journaling?  It it the discipline of keeping a written record of your thoughts and experiences.  The journals I keep are very personal and are slanted primarily towards a devotional life.  

Personally I have found Journaling an essential spiritual discipline.  I have found it to be extremely helpful to focus my thinking, have greater insight and stay on task in my quiet times.  I have also found it to be a great tool to see how God has been faithful in the past, and to remember key important information.  I also hope that someday this will be an insight into my life for my children.  

So here are some tips on Journaling.  It is a tough discipline to keep up because it is easy to start and then stop and never pick back up. 

Tip 1:  Get a Nice Journal.  I have found that I value journaling more when I like my Journal.  It shows that I value the discipline.  I am a little weird in that if I spend money on something it makes me want to use it more.  I was given a really nice journal by an old mentor of mine and it was really expensive.  It has kept me wanting to use it to value that gift.  Levenger has some great journals.  If you want to look at some check them out here.  HTTP://www.levenger.com/PAGETEMPLATES/SEARCH/SEARCHRESULT.ASP  I use the Infinity Journal.  You can get refills for it, and all my journals look alike now.  

Tip 2:  Keep it with you as much as you can.  You wont use it if you don’t have it with you.  I keep my journal in my bag all the time.  Having it convenient keeps you disciplined.  

Tip 3:  Journal about all sorts of things:  write out observations from quiet time, write sermon notes in it, use it to store best practices that you come across, brainstorm in it, write down your life values.   Basically put your brain on paper.  

Tip 4:  Ideas for your quiet time journaling.  This is the discipline of journaling that is the classic example of a journal.  I would do the following.  First, make a timestamp and a title for your entry.  That will let you know what each page is talking about.  Secondly, as you do your quiet time, write out your thoughts.  Write your observations of the passage, write out your prayers.  Write out what you have seen God fulfill as a result of your prayers.  All these things will make you slow down in your quiet time, and yes that is a good thing.  You also will find yourself becoming less distracted by other thoughts as you focus your thoughts by writing them.

I am sure there are other things you can do in your journaling.  If you have other tips, please post them here.  I know Journaling is a tough discipline, but it is a powerful tool to have a strong relationship with God.

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Tony Barnette
12 years ago

Great tips. I’m wirinting them down in my journal. Seriously though, it really hits home about leaving a record for your kids. My Dad passed when I was in my early 20s and it was kinda before the explosion of digital video and technology like that. Unfortunately, I don’t really have any audio or video of my Dad or anything he had written. Often times I wish I could just hear his voice or be able to tap into his mindset. I think some of my motitivation to write things downs has been for my kids. Thanks again for the… Read more »

ke4juh
12 years ago

It’s interesting to hear somebody talk about the quality of the notebook; will not the best notebook pass away with this world? I have mixed feelings on note taking in general, sometimes I think it’s best to be in the moment and not worry about taking notes for later consumption. I was blown away when CS Lewis said, in Surprised by Joy, that keeping a diary was a waste of time. He apparently was an avid journal keeper through his life and when he went to write his autobiographical work found the journals to be of little use. Maybe we… Read more »

Chris Barnette
12 years ago

Mike, You have given me some great ideals. I have a lot of thoughts I would like to remember and recall but I never seem to be prepared to write them down. And usually they come to me while I am driving or out somewhere. There have been so many times where I have been in Church or listening to the radio and heard something worth remembering, then later when I wanted to recall it I drew a blank. I don’t think I could carry a computer with me everywhere I went so I think it would be great to… Read more »