Living in the suburbs of Dallas, Texas, we are surrounded by neighborhoods, restaurants, museums, sports arenas, traffic, concrete–and I love it. (Except for the traffic.) With all that the area has to offer, there is always a flurry of activity. However, over the years, we noticed an interesting pattern as many of our friends started to buy homes further away to get out of the city. They recognized a longing to live a slower pace of life. While I do not share the desire to move out to the country without a coffee shop or bookstore in sight, I understood and even identified with that longing.
Over the years, I have come to appreciate the joy of a slower life, even when life around me is moving a million miles a minute. I have even seen this in my own walk with the Lord as I've incorporated journaling in my daily rhythms. The spiritual discipline of journaling has forced me to slow down and sit still before the Lord. Writing out each thought, fear, praise, and prayer helps us dwell with intentionality on the nature of God. Did my words reflect that I believe what He says is true? Are my words revealing something deeper in my heart? Am I able to see God's faithfulness, even in the confusion and pain?
Lately, I've been using The Story of Redemption journals during my times with the Lord. I love them because they provide a structure in which I can journal alongside my study of God's Word. These journals are different from The Story of Redemption studies, as they are notebooks with lined space for each chapter of the Bible. They are beautifully and intentionally designed with an introductory page for each book of the Bible to help provide context as you study. If you've been considering using these journals, maybe these ideas will inspire you to use this beautiful resource!
Journaling As You Read Scripture
If you use a Bible reading plan, these journals are a great way to keep track of what you are reading and record what you are learning. It can be tempting to check off our Bible reading once it's complete, but journaling allows you the opportunity to slow down and process what you've read. Even if you are not using a reading plan, seeing a space to journal each chapter of the Bible provides a path for you to work through the entire Bible! Here are some example journaling prompts you could use as you read:
- Write a brief summary of what you read
- Write the attributes of God that you saw
- Write ways to apply the truths found in the passage
Make note of things that the Lord is teaching you through reading His Word. Record the date on each page. Maybe write out specific prayers based on the theme of the book or passage you are studying. You can even add sticky notes within pages to create more space. The format makes it easy to look back and review what you have learned in your time studying God's Word. Taking what you have read and putting it into words helps to process and apply the truths of Scripture.
Journaling During Family Devotions
Journaling is a great spiritual discipline to introduce to your children, even at an early age. During your family devotions, you can ask your kids what they learned about God from the Bible passage and have one of them write it down in the journal. If you have older children or teenagers, encourage them to record what God is teaching them as they read His Word. It will be a way for them, and you, to look back and see how much they've grown spiritually over the years.
Consider creating a tradition where you pass down journals to your child or loved one. Some of my most prized possessions are old worn Bibles and notes from my late grandmother. She lived a life wholly devoted to the Lord and her writing reflects that. She even recorded dates in the margins, so I know exactly when she wrote the note or prayer. The ability to look back on God's faithfulness within the pages of a journal is a gift.
Journaling As an Act of Dependence
Writing is not an act of efficiency. It is a slow, thought out, intentional effort to put pen to paper in an attempt to communicate ideas and thoughts. Journaling is an act of worshipful dependence. There is delight to be found in slowing down and fixing our gaze upon Christ.
Anytime we slow down, we acknowledge that we are limited. This is a good thing. We are not meant to stretch and wear out in an effort to fulfill the roles and responsibilities the Lord has given us. We are dependent creatures. Yet, in God's kindness, we are not left to our own devices. We have the Spirit dwelling within us, and we have His living and active Word before us. Let us worship our limitless God as we acknowledge our limited nature.
For more on journaling as a spiritual discipline, check out this blog on journaling your prayers and this blog on how journaling helps you to reflect on the goodness of God.