Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Journaling The Journey

Some people have vast collections of valuable items.

I collect colored pens, pencils, and markers.

I may or may not have purchased a pen because it claimed to be, “...the best writing pen in the world.”

I own –blank– leather-bound journals in every size, color, and fancy functionality.

So I've had to admit I like to collect the tools of journaling more than I like the actual work of journaling.

The art of journaling is sprinkled across the vastly visual world of social media. Designs full of detail, color, and imagery.




These women not only journal but they make each entry a creative masterpiece. It causes me to sigh a bit ...and to feel guilty. Guilty that I can't even consistently take a pen to hand-scrawl an entry onto paper.

Simple. Just words on a page.

No flowers, swirly-gigs or even fabulous freehand stick people.

I've read plenty on how and why journaling should be part of my life.

And I've seen first hand a simple and effective way to journal through my friend and accountability partner. She uses a common, black, wide-ruled, composition notebook. Her handwriting is neat, and thoughts precisely recorded. The size makes it easy to carry the journal with her everywhere she goes and when the last page is filled she closes it and grabs a new one. Easy.

The beauty of this practice in her life is so evident. She has one of the most honest and deep walks with Jesus, that I've personally witnessed.

However, the system that worked for her just did not seem to work for me.

Still, I could see journaling as a spiritual discipline and I wanted the benefits that must come along with doing it.

Certainly I've tried repeatedly to succeed at journaling and have drawers full of journals to prove it. Pages partially filled with months of silence between entries. It makes me wonder now, what work God was doing in my life that I missed in those long silent gaps.

Twenty years, this has been my experience. Try. Fail. Guilt. Repeat.

Until about nine months ago. That's when a small group of beautiful women came together and decided to do a 40-day prayer challenge with some specific goals in mind.

Someone suggested that we begin a new journal for the challenge. Goodness knows I had a few empty ones to choose from. In fact, I had enough that I brought a stack of them to offer anyone who was interested.

From the beginning, I assumed this would be like so many other failed attempts. I'd begin strong and end with empty pages to record my failure.

Perhaps it was the accountability (though no one has ever seen my pages) but for those forty days, I heart-bled words and prayers and worship with ink between faint lines.

At the end of that 40-day challenge, the movie War Room came out. I'm so in love everything about that movie. At that time, Priscilla Shirer, who starred in War Room, came out with her book, Fervent.

With the focus on strategically praying for important areas in my life and those I love, I found so much that I wanted to record in my journal.

In fact, I filled a journal.

And believe it or not... (me talking to myself) I had to purchase a new journal.

I needed a deeper reason to journal and prayer seems to be the motivation that I needed.

My new journal isn't fancy. It didn't cost much more than a cup of my favorite coffee, but it's kind of priceless to me.

At its core, writing things down simply helps me to remember.

Remember what God has been showing me. Remember what and for who I've had on my heart to pray.

Writing things down can be as uncomplicated as jotting down a name that comes to mind or a verse reference. It can be as elaborate as pages of my heart being poured out in ink dusted with tear stains.

I've already gone back to revisit my last journal to see how many prayers have been answered that were recorded there.

Journaling has given me perspective in some of my difficult circumstances.

Journaling consistently, along with recording what I'm reading in the Bible has increased the level of intimacy in my walk with Jesus. I feel the warm breath of His present tense words on my life.

Just in recent weeks, as things have been unfolding in some surprising ways in our life, I've run to record them in my journal. The verses, the things that have happened without our striving. I've written them down so I don't forget how God has revealed Himself to me. To my husband and I. To our family.

Recording what we've seen Him do, has made this relationship with Him feel even more tangible.

More personal.

And I found myself re-reading those pages when circumstances scream that what we've felt God's leading us too isn't true. The journal reaffirms we have seen God leading us in a direction even if we don't know completely what that will look like.

I wonder if Abraham had a journal. I wonder how he recorded the things God was doing to confirm the direction he was heading. After all. Abraham and Sarah left what was comfortable and familiar to go to a place they did not know. There had to be days they wondered if they miss understood their calling.

Journaling gives purpose and direction to our journeying.

These months of consistent journaling, have been an invitation from to God to speak into past pain, current situations and future dreams.

He has placed on my heart to pray for blessings I've never thought to ask for.

For instance this prayer: "God what is something that You'd like to do in our lives that would not only bless us but our family and others?"  From, Battle Plan For Prayer, by Stephan & Alex Kendrick 

I recorded that prayer and dated it, with a note: "Lord I have NO idea what that could be." And it feels like God is saying: "I know what that looks like and you may want to take notes."

A prayer like the one above, is so honoring to God because the Bible says He has good plans for us.

Journaling has helped me better see the details of Gods protection and blessing and timing. Plus a deep sense of relationship, trust, and gratitude.

It has given me a deep sense of belonging to Him.

I've experienced great rest and release as I've handed over the stuff of life in prayer and dated it.

No doubt there are things that I get to pray and hand over, again and again, but the journal feels like I hammered a stake in the ground on the enemies accusations and my own doubt.

Journaling has taken the pieces of my life, placed them like stones in a riverbed, smoothing them over with His truth, making newly beautiful material that can be pieced together on the path being laid out before us.

It has taken my eyes off of things that distract me and helped me focus on His work in me. in this season.

Journaling has stirred up things in my soul. 

I certainly don't understand how God meets us in the pages of Scriptures and proceeds to sit down to process how that applies to the details of  this right now life, but journaling has helped to open my eyes to that reality.

The pages of scripture are moving from my head to my heart. 

The more I write down the story unfolding in my life, the more I realize it's actually God's story being written on my life.  

 I'm new to embrace this need to write, to journal the journey. 

"...for we are each the product of His hand, heavens poetry etched on our lives."
Ephesians 2:10

I am God's masterpiece.

- - -
Tell me how you record your journey?

How do you see His hand, heavens poetry, being etched on your life friend?


Post a Comment

I love hearing from you! Thank you for stopping by.

© Rhonda Quaney