My blog has been devoid of book reviews lately: this is mostly because assigned school reading has taken up much of my time, and before I can gather my thoughts on one novel, we’re speeding through the next one on the syllabus. This summer, however, I expect that will change. I’ll be interning with David C. Cook; so the books I read in my downtime will be more personalized. For now, I wanted to grace and edify you with another thought post.
Have you journaled for any length of time? Maybe sporadically? Or during an especially difficult period of your life? Have you kept a collection of these life archives? Journaling can have so many benefits. Here are a handful of the ones I’ve gleaned from my time writing in those gloriously-lined little books (now, over a decade):
- Journaling Provides an Archive of your Memories
Remember that trip to Niagara Falls your family took? Remember that borderline-poison restaurant you visited on that road trip when you were 13? How about that crazy high school or college night partying with friends? Life events can slip through one’s memory after a matter of days. Logging your precious memories in a journal—whether it be a physical, written one, or a video log—preserves those moments you’ll treasure looking back upon later. As well, your children or siblings may value being able to gain a comprehensive view of you as a person later on!
A few of the precious memories I’ve recorded include an evening in the hot tub with family, smelling steaks cooking on the grill; my move to college and the adventures and challenges it presented me; and countless quiet times and sentiments throughout my developmental years.
Recording your internal thoughts can give you a daily, and a large-scale, perspective of your development. Emotions, realizations, maturity landmarks in your personal journey: it’s easy to forget these, as well. Journaling provides reference points among which you can draw connections. The ability to see steady growth in yourself can be so enlightening and joyful. I’ve gleaned much gratitude from seeing how God’s grown me throughout the years. Without those records, I would have forgotten the places I’ve been, and how far I’ve come.
- Journaling Fosters Peace of Mind
Organizing your sentiments requires you to realize what exactly you’re thinking and feeling. Putting these down on paper, or recording yourself talking through them, is so therapeutic. It’s a form of “getting it out.” This release frees us to distance ourselves a bit—to step away, or to look at things in order to move forward. It also allows for an ongoing synthesis of feelings. Whether you’re working through a breakup, a mental health struggle, a financial or identity crisis, or the hardships of a loved one, being able to organize and examine what’s inside you is crucial. While journaling can’t substitute for the benefits that fellowship with another human, or even the Lord, brings, it can partner with and enhance these outlets. Sometimes, being alone with your own thoughts first is crucial to being able to commune with others.
- Journaling Provides Encouragement for Others
This doesn’t jump to one’s mind as a benefit of personal introspection; however, the lessons and insights you discover can be stored to bring up when others in your life need advice or consolation. This doesn’t mean you need to hand your precious archives over to someone else (although, in Youtube vlogs, this is often the case; I’ve exchanged journals with a close friend before, to better understand one another, as well). Trust should be a factor in your decisions here. Filter the information you provide, but utilize what you’ve learned to brighten another person’s day, and life. Others may offer valuable insights, too. This is what the Bible refers to, in part, when it speaks of Christians “sharpening” one another. Just like there are many parts in the Body of Christ, each person has valuable insights to share. Glean from your journals the resources that are fitting to pour into another.
In conclusion, journaling is something God unquestionably uses to foster our growth into His image. I feel so blessed to live in an age where paper and pen are so easy to get. He allows me to jot down daily moments in my spiritual growth—ideas and revelations. I can see my progress, and praise Him for it. I can keep a record of my prayers and see how fully He’s helped me, even in things I didn’t know I needed. I can pour out my thoughts on paper and walk away feeling relieved. In short, if I could grab one thing from my home, it would most likely be my box of journals. They are my story. They are irreplaceable. They are an account of God’s goodness to me.
What are your thoughts and feelings about journaling? Have you done it at all, or for very long? What benefits have you gained from this practice? Leave me a comment below, and have a blessed day! ❤