Saturday, March 1, 2014

The Benefits of Journaling


Yesterday, I wrote the final entry in my current prayer journal. In writing my concluding entry, I went back to reread my introduction entry. It was crazy to see how much life had changed in that year and half. I was 18 years old and just a few months into dating my now husband. One might expect me to say that the things that bothered me back then seem so silly now. But that wasn't the case. The things that bothered me then turned out to be the things that caused me some of the greatest heartaches I've ever had to face. In flipping through the pages of my journal, I saw how those nagging tugs at my heart turned into red flags, blaring sirens, and eventually emotional catastrophes.

But throughout the heartaches, I wrote down so many prayers and Scriptures. In many entries,
I saw healing taking place. I was able to see how God was sculpting my character and being faithful throughout the pain. While I am glad to have that journal as a reminder of how the Lord works during the storms of life, I was not at all sad to conclude it. I will be starting a new prayer journal soon, and I hope it will be filled with more joyful times. However, I plan to make sure it's filled with accounts of my relationship with Jesus.

Two reasons why I think journaling is super beneficial and why I would recommend it to anyone:

1. Journaling is therapeutic. 
      Journaling is a really good way to blow off some steam, without hurting anybody. And if you write down anything self-incriminating or just something you're not too proud of, burn up the pages or tear them up and trash them. (I especially recommend this if you write down anything rude or unkind about someone else). Those actions can be therapeutic too. When I was about 11 or 12, I wrote some terribly nasty things about my parents. A year or two later, I found all those pages, tore them up and trashed them. It was definitely symbolic of me trashing any negative feelings I had about my parents. 

2. A journal acts as a remembrance book. 
      Specifically, it is a good reminder of the works God does in your life. When I flip through old journals, I see so many prayers answered and even ones unanswered because of God's protection (He always knows better than we do of what's best for us). God wants  us to remember what He does for us, and journaling is such a good way to do it. It is also super cool to see how you've survived the rough seasons of life. 

I'm sure there's hundreds of more reasons to keep a prayer journal, but these two just stuck out to me yesterday. Try it out. What can it hurt? It's not like you have to do it everyday. Sometimes I'll go two months without writing an entry. Sometimes I just write down a Bible verse or a nice quote without even writing down why I needed it at that time. You don't even need to be detailed if you don't want to. The journal is for your benefit. If you go back and read it years later, you'll most likely know what you were writing about (but if, God forbid, someone else read it, they might not know what you were talking about). 

But more importantly, if you decide journaling isn't for you, I hope you will commit to finding a way to remember God's works. His creation and miracles, but especially with you personally. 


Psalm 105:5
Remember His wonders which He has done,
His marvels and the judgments uttered by His mouth

Deuteronomy 8:2 (NIRV) (take this one in context!!)
Remember how the Lord your God led you all the way. He guided you in the desert for these 40 years. He wanted to take your pride away. He wanted to put you to the test and know what was in your hearts. He wanted to see whether you would obey His commands.



Picture courtesy of Bing Images.