When life takes an unexpected turn, or we are stressed and busy, it is easy to go into survival mode and bury our emotions. We keep pressing on, doing the things we know we are supposed to be doing and keep putting one foot in front of the other.
It is also easy during that time to not spend intentional time seeking God. We are in survival mode, not seeking-God mode.
But is vital that we process those emotions and grow in our faith. Whether with other people, or alone on the pages of a notebook our emotions need to be processed. Felt. Dealt with. And released.
It only takes a few minutes to sit down in front of a computer or a notebook with a blank page in front of you and start writing. Write whatever comes to mind. Get those thoughts out. Be honest and vulnerable, the page is a safe place for you.
After I’ve written and processed for a while, I then like to turn my thoughts toward scripture and God. What would I say to God in this situation? What would I like for Him to say to me?
And so then I end my journaling with a time of writing out my prayers–it is essentially a love letter to God. Of being honest and vulnerable before God. Of asking Him for help and guidance and wisdom and peace and whatever it is I need in that situation.
Writing is a form of worship and one that I intend to use for God’s glory and for my own spiritual growth. David was considered a man after God’s own heart and he was known for writing the Psalms–full of his struggles and worries but always coming back to praise God and declaring his love and trust of God.
Journals are also a great resource for going back and seeing how much you’ve grown spiritually and personally. How God has answered your prayers (because let’s face it, it’s a lot easier to see how God is working when we’re looking back at how the pieces all fit together).
Things you can include in your journal
- letters to God or others (see below for ideas)
- praises (how God has answered prayers)
- a list of things you are grateful for
- scripture verses for particular topics or that come to mind while you are praying
- Bible passages that you have been studying and how it is applicable to your own life
- dreams, visions, and goals you have
- confession of struggles and sins–get it off your chest, onto the page, and into the forgiving hands of God!
- your questions to God–it’s ok to verbalize them but then make sure you’re asking with a heart to understand God better, because that is when He will answer
- prayer requests of family, friends, ministries, etc
- your own prayer requests and needs you are putting into God’s hands
Why writing letters in your journal is powerful
My journals are full of my rambling about things I’m worried about, struggling with, or celebrating. It’s full of prayers and letters. Yep, I write letters to people and things, but it helps me process my thoughts and emotions.
- I write letters to God all the time, telling Him honestly how I feel about things and then (like David in the Psalms) always going back to why I praise and love and trust Him. Writing God a love letter is a pretty powerful thing!
- I’ve written a letter to fear, telling it how much it has affected me but I will not give it that power anymore.
- I’ve also written letters to Satan, telling him who has all the power in my life and it isn’t going to be him.
- I’ve written a letter to myself, reminding me of how God sees me.
- I’ve written letters to my husband (that I probably will never show him, lol) that process struggles we’re having in our marriage, but all the things I love and respect about him.
- I’ve written a letter to hearing loss, autism, ADHD, and apraxia (diagnoses my children have), declaring how challenging they can be, but that they will not stop us
- I’ve written letters to people who have hurt me, even strangers who made a hurtful remark, processing why they hurt me but also why I can and have forgiven them. This is so healing for letting go of any bitterness and finding forgiveness in your heart.
Set your own intention
What materials will you use? Got a notebook and favorite pen and your Bible? Or will you use your laptop and a Word document? Coffee or tea? A candle or something to make your journaling time special? What other materials would you use?
How often will you journal? Once a week? Three times a week? Every day? Try to honor your goal and evaluate if it is often enough or too much. If you don’t make your goal, give yourself grace. Journaling is supposed to be a freeing experience, not one to feel guilty about.
When will you journal? At night before bed? In the morning? After your time with God? Knowing when you will journal will make it easier to stay accountable and make sure you make it happen.
How much would you like to write? A page? Three pages? Or no page goal, just simply until you feel you’ve gotten all the words out?
What will your journaling method be? Will it be writing letters to God? Writing out prayers? A combination of your thoughts and letters? Will it include lists of prayer requests and things you’re grateful for?
Don’t worry about perfecting and editing! Just get the words out and onto the paper. God already knows what you’re thinking and He wants you to share your heart with Him so He can help you move forward with Him.
And try to always end your journaling with words of praise and worship-it’ll do you and your faith a lot of good.
Your turn, please share with us in the comments below: Do you use a journal or prayer journal? What things do you or would you like to include in your journal?