Journaling is not everyone’s cup to tea. However some kind of record of God’s work in our life and what we are experiencing should be kept if we want to grow in discernment and in awareness of ourselves.
The ancients were instructed to put up stones of memorials to remember the mighty deeds of God. Joshua picked twelve stones from the river bed of Jordan and set them up so that God’s people remember what God has done and therefore what God is like. Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob set up stone markers to remember the encounters they had with God and the words God had revealed to them.
Journaling is one pragmatic and simple way of doing this. Recording what God has done for us, in us and through us. Recording our encounters with Him and what he taught us. Recording our insights, emotions, memories, desires, dreams, and feelings. Reviewed regularly, whether monthly, quarterly and yearly to reflect on what God has been doing for you, in you and through you and what he is saying to you is a healthy way to discern God’s work and will in your life.
With the annual review I could give a name to my year. One was a year of stress. One was a year of desolation. One was a year of clarity. Last year was a year of release of burdens. I could see what God was doing with my life and how I was progressing spiritually and in ministry.
If you want to see spiritual growth in your life the organic way, you will want to record what you are experiencing, reflect on what God is doing and saying to you, and grow in discernment. No short cuts. The path of patience.
However not everyone likes recording their experiences with words, whether on paper or digitally. Here are a few other ways to remember God and our encounters and experiences:
- Use a voice recorder and talk through what happened and what you felt.
- Draw pictures and images to symbolise or express your emotions and desires.
- Make something: origami, clay work or plasticine, or embroidery to represent what happened.
- The smartphone is always with us and you could download an app that allows you to take short notes for each month. If you have a Samsung Note like I do, you have wonderful access to S Pen and S Note folders.
- Take a large cardboard and draw twelve large stones, each blank stone to represent each month, and write significant key words of events or emotions.
- Use Facebook to write private notes of what happened and emoticons to express emotions. Change the privacy setting to keep some of these for your eyes only.
- Use Instagram and use pictures and words to record your encounters, feelings and events.
- Start a free blog on blogspot or wordpress and keep whatever you record private.
- Do a selfie video of yourself talking.
- Use that neglected camera in the drawer and set it up on a stand and record yourself talking about what God has been doing in your life periodically.
I am sure there are several other creative ways besides deepening on our unreliable memory. Do share with us in the comments below how you do it personally?
Thank you Pastor Kenny for the above reflection. Journaling has helped me a great deal and I would like to start practicing a One Word for how my year was like for 2018.
Thanks Agnes for your comment. You have always been a God-chaser. Steps like the one you are taking will sharpen your discernment of the Lord’s work with you.