Though I write constantly, I had never been a consistent journaler - until a little over three years ago.
In December 2009, a significant event deeply impacted my life. In working through it, a trusted pastor friend advised that I keep a journal single every day.
Since journaling was not my habit during normal seasons of life, I wondered how in the world I could incorporate such a discipline into my routine when life wasn't gliding along smoothly.
However, I followed his advice. No matter how tired I was or what time of day, I faithfully journaled every day during that difficult time. He promised that my journal would one day "become a treasure trove of ministry."
He was right.
As I begin outlining my new book (top secret for now!), this journal has become indispensable. In fact, this new project would be next to impossible without it. Consequently, since December 2009, I have journaled consistently.
Along that journey, five main benefits (though there are many more) have consistently surfaced that I want to share with you:
Top five benefits of daily journaling:
- Process life events. What happens to me is not as important as the meaning I assign to what happens to me. Journaling helps me sort through my experience and be intentional about my interpretation.
- Disentangle my thoughts. Writing captures thoughts and allows me to see patterns. If one or two issues keep appearing, it alerts me to start paying attention to them. Are they strongholds? Are they nudges from God toward a certain direction? Journaling helps to clarify my thinking.
- Perspective. My pace of life tends to go quickly, so I usually find precious little time to pause and reflect to see where I am in God's greater Story. Journaling allows me to learn what questions I am asking. Once identified, I can ask God for His guidance and reveal His answers.
- Stay connected with my heart. Scripture reveals that "the heart is deceitful" (Jeremiah 17:9), but also warns us to guard it "above all else" (Proverbs 4:23). My heart can get me into serious trouble if I'm not paying attention. Feelings aren't everything, but I can't dismiss them because they are often an early indicator of something brewing.
- Record important lessons. Ask anyone who knows me, and I'm always taking notes. Whether in Bible class, during a sermon, in a conference, you name it. I'm a better student when I am taking notes. Jotting down important life points leads to even deeper understanding - and hopefully wisdom. Writing down what I learn saves time re-learning it later.
Do you journal? Why or why not?.