Books are full of maxims about ‘what you measure.’ You are what you measure. You get what you measure. You can’t manage what you don’t measure. There are some principles of truth within these maxims which apply to our spiritual journey. We do not like to talk about measuring anything when it comes to spiritual things because we do not want to create a performance mentality. Just as dangerous, we do not want to malign a biblical definition of success with one that is convoluted by measuring man-defined performance.
How do we leverage the opportunity to measure our spiritual forward motion while not falling into a performance, works, or belt-notching spirituality? Journaling can help us tremendously in this area. Let me share with you a few ways…
- Journaling allows us to pray earnestly and specifically. Writing inevitably takes something ethereal and makes it real. Journaling chronicles our prayers with specificity and allows us to see a record of those prayers for days and years to come.
- Journaling shows us the move of God around us. As we journal prayer needs, both for ourselves and others, we are able to see over time how God works through those circumstances. Without this written storyline of God’s move, we will often not even notice the miraculous works He has on display around us.
- Journaling chronicles God’s work in our own lives. Not only do we see God’s work through our prayer life, but we see it through our devotional life as well. When we write down our reflections while reading scripture, we are able to see the different ways (during different seasons of our lives) God is using those scriptures to transform us.
- Journaling provides us the gift of structure. I can’t tell you how many times people have told me about how hard it is for them to stay awake or stay focused during a time of prayer. Journaling will solve that as we are thinking/praying through the words we write.
- Journaling is a good friend or word of encouragement when we are in need. We all find ourselves in rough times. Journaling through those displays for us how God has always been faithful throughout our lives. It shows us that there are tough times and great times and that God works amazingly through them all.
- Journaling creates a legacy. Could you imagine the gift it would be to your children and grandchildren to have journals which chronicled your authentic gospel transformation journey? Your life… and probably most important would be your struggles… will be used by God to mold generations after you. That is an incredible gift and legacy.
Start small and fight the temptation to make journaling another performance matrix for your life. Develop a routine and when your schedule gets wrecked just pick back up (never try to catch up or make up for lost time). Some days you may write one or two sentences. Some days you may merely write a list of prayers. Some days you will write pages of thoughts, reflections, questions, and revelations. There is no formula for good journaling.
The most important thing is to try to create some consistency and then over time begin reflecting on the days, weeks, and months of previous writing. It will become a self-motivating blessing as the days add up.
If you have any strategies or methods of journaling that have been valuable to you, please share those below. We want to hear from you!