I am sitting in our reading room with my cup of coffee, watching my dogs eat their morning Dingo bone, and talking with my husband. My black notebook with the red spiral binding is calling to me. “It’s my turn, talk to me”. Something inside of me wants to express all of the locked up fragmented thoughts and feelings into that black book.
I wake up and it is 2 am and the thoughts begin racing and sleep will not capture me again. The black (with red spiral binding) journal flashes in my mind. Now I can’t get the thought out of my head. If I just get up and go write to God it will all be better. I will give all of my problems to God, write down all of the world-changing ideas swirling in my head, and soon I won’t be able to keep my eyes open.
It has been one of those days. Clients have terrible things going on in their lives and I don’t think I helped anyone. The next person coming in is really in crisis. I don’t want to mess it up. I need God to work through me. I need to journal or I won’t really let go of control. Okay, it is just an illusion of control….
Infomercial: Why Journal?
What? Why do i have to journal to get help from God? Why do I have to write it down in order to go back to sleep? What is it about journaling that puts order back into my world? Here is my infomercial for all of the healing aspects of journaling. [Begin Infomercial]
- I have “thinking ADD”. You know the disorder where all of my thoughts are so crowded in my head I can’t think through any given thought before my mind jumps to the next one. BUT, if I write it down, aka journal, then I have to stay focused on one thought at a time. At least to finish the sentence. Then it usually leads to another thought on the same topic so I am able to actual think things through to completion because I am writing it down. If I try to pray in my head or even out loud it goes something like: “Dear God, I really can’t sleep because I am worrying about the kids not doing their…did I take my antibiotic today..homework. I don’t … how can Jim sleep since I am tossing and turning…why the kids don’t realize…I wonder if our small group is meeting tomorrow…..” How can God even figure out what I am saying or why would He want to try?
- I write everything to God. It helps me to keep close to God and look to Him in everything I do. Because I am writing to God there seems to be this built in respect and accountability. I don’t want to JUST vomit all of my one-side venting to Him. Usually I will go through a process of writing down the concern or issue, challenge or opportunity, hope or skepticism, and then follow- up with “What would God tell me to do?” Then I take the time to follow-through with a more Godly point of view which usually brings me wisdom and peace. Okay, sometimes it convicts me that I am being totally childish and immature and I need to change…then the peace comes.
- When I journal I start out in a stream of consciousness, which means what ever comes to mind as it comes, which can be quite scary sometimes when the ADD slips out and there are 4 or 5 topics flowing quickly. But most days the writing flows into a particular topic. It might be writing about a book I am reading and what I am getting out of it. It could be a goal and action plan that I have been putting off and really need to take care of. Many days it is prayer for people I care about. Intermittently ideas for my business will pop up. Through journaling, all of these thoughts, plans and resources get captured. By writing it down it helps me to think through what needs to get done...or develop a thought or philosophy…or to bring God in as an intecesor for others.
- By journaling frequently, I can look back and see the answered prayers, the achievement of goals, the resource or idea for my business. I have a record/diary of very important things in my life. It is awesome to go back and check off the answered prayers – God is so faithful!
- Plus I am very visual. In a journal I can draw, make charts, use a rainbow of color and/or highlight, check-off, or cross-out. Seeing things on paper enhances my creativity to work through things.
- But most of all, and my favorite reason to journal frequently and copiously, is it brings me closer to God and builds our relationship. It helps me keep Him involved in every aspect of my life. It cultivates my total dependence on Him. And it brings me peace that wasn’t present in my life pre-salvation!
All of this for the cost of an $8.99 notebook and $.79 pen. You can’t beat the value! [End infomercial]
Let’s Share Techniques and Tools
After years of using every different kind of journal made, I settled on these fabulous Black n’ Red notebooks. They are great because they have a hard binder to write on. It is an 8 1/2 x 11 so I have lot’s of room. The outside is non-descript so I can leave them laying around everywhere. Plus, it makes the creativity inside the journal flourish since the outside is so non-descript.
There are lot’s of techniques for journaling, but for me I find that writing everything to God is a one-stop shop for getting the most for my journal time. Please share with us your techniques and journaling resources. How do you do it? Do you have a favorite type of journal? Do you write or type when you journal? Let’s share all of the resources we have and create a journaling community!
It has taken me quite a while to find a journal I really love. I’ve been through ruled, unruled, skinny, fat, large, small, hardcover, flexible cover. You name it, I’ve tried it. I could open the wicker trunk in my bedroom and show you piles of journals that are half empty because I gave up on them.
Last year I discovered Moleskine notebooks. The ones I buy are large, plain cahier journals that are sold in packs of three. They have a cardboard cover with stitching on the side (the binding). The last 16 pages of the journal are perforated and there’s a pocket in the back cover. The pages are a little thin, which took some getting used to, but I love this journal because it is thin (which = not heavy) and large enough to explore your thoughts but small enough to throw in your purse. Because they are thin, I go through one every three months or so and can start a new one in a short amount of time (I have this obsession with blank paper and unused journals!). I just store my old ones for reference.
I’ll also note that I take my journal everywhere (home, work, and everywhere in between), and the stuff in it varies from grocery lists to task lists to prayers to God to mind maps for projects. I’m still working on Sue’s suggestion to talk to God about everything through your journal, but having my journal with me all the time helps when I simply have to get the thoughts out.
Okay Holly, I can’t picture them. Are they called Moleskine? Where do you get them? I like the idea that they are thin too, because I love starting a new journal. It is like I get a blank slate again. I don’t know if I will give up my black n red, but I still like trying new ones!