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.