How Journaling Has Impacted My Faith

Note from Kat: This is a guest post is from the lovely Amanda Holland. Also, don’t forget today is the last day before December. If you don’t have an Advent activity planned, check out Truth in the Tinsel.

I’ve kept a journal for years. In fact, there’s a big stack in my cedar chest of little hardcover, dollar-aisle notebooks with sunflowers and puppies on them, containing the deepest thoughts of my teenage self. On top of those are the little spiral notebooks that contain the ups and downs of my early adult years.

Okay, actually, they contain a lot of complaining…all of them. That’s why I stopped journaling several years ago – I started looking back on what I’d written, and I realized that the only time I wrote was when I needed to vent.

My journal had become a place to release all my negativity, and so I gave it up.

A New Perspective On Journaling

A few months ago, I read Savoring Living Water, and I decided it was time to try something new. I was ready to journal again, but with a new perspective. Instead of journaling just about my life, I wanted to journal about my faith. That’s how my “faith journaling” began.

I laid out a few ground rules for what would be recorded. It sounded simple enough… I had no idea what was ahead of me.

My Journaling Process

Faith journaling has changed my life. My walk with God is growing so much deeper than ever before. So what do I journal about?

1. My gratitude list
Taking Ann Voskamp’s challenge to record God’s gifts and graces has been life changing. Recording what I’m grateful for has made me look for things to thank God for, no matter how stressed I am or how bad my day may be.

2. Scriptures I’m memorizing
I’m doing the Hide His Word challenge at Do Not Depart. Every day, I write the verse or verses I’m learning that week in my journal. There is something about hand-writing the verses that helps them sink deeper into my soul.

3. Quotes
I read a lot of books and a lot of blogs, and I find a lot of great quotes. The quotes I jot down challenge me, inspire me and pick me up when I’m discouraged.

4. Conversations With God
Most of all, my conversations with God have amazed me…it’s amazing how much He will speak to me, if I’ll just slow down enough to listen.

I can already look back and see how He has slowly revealed things to me, little by little, as I spend time with Him. He’s revealing big dreams – God-sized dreams – to me, and reawakening dreams that I let die long ago. Do I have this “listening to God” thing down? Good grief, no…but the closer I get to Him, the better I hear His voice. When He speaks to my heart, I record it in my journal.

I think the most exciting thing about my faith journal is being able to look back and see what God has done, even over the span of only a few months. In the Old Testament, God’s people built altars to commemorate and remember what God had done – my journal is my altar to remember. It’s the recording of God’s faithfulness and blessings in my life, and journaling is reminding me of just how blessed I really am.

Amanda Holland is a pastor’s wife, working mom of two boys and a Yorkie, and full-time college student. She loves cooking, crime shows, reading mysteries, coffee, and being a boy mom. You can find her sharing her heart about faith, working moms, and parenting on her blog, Grace In Our Moments and on Twitter @graceourmoments.

(This post may contain affiliate links to various resources we’ve recommended.)

Comments

  1. I have a question. I have told people I want my journals to be burned when I die because they are my venting place as well. So now, where do you vent if not in your journal? I know its not right for me to complain to my husband or friends so where if your safe place to get it off your chest?
    I really like the idea of faith journaling….

    • Elizabeth,
      Amanda may have a different answer, but I’ve found I really enjoy journaling on my computer or iPad. I use an app called Day One and sometimes when I need to vent, I’ll do that there. Normally, though, once I’ve vented, I’ll just deleted because I’ve processed through it and no longer feel the same way.

      Another idea, would be to just keep two sets of journals.

      Also, I think that as long as we are in the process of working through something, I think it’s certainly ok to share challenges with our husbands or a close friend so they can pray with us and help us sort them out.

      Hope that helps!

  2. I’ve been wanting to start journaling myself, but have struggled with how to set up my journal. (I’m very Type A and über organized and so figuring out HOW to set up the journal has prevented me from actually DOING it!) I was wondering if you had any suggestions for how to do this. For instance – do you have one section for Bible verses, one for quotes, one for prayer requests, etc., or do you just keep it all mixed in together in one main section? I just want to be able to look back and find things easily.

    • This reminds me of myself! When I first started journaling I had to have a certain pen or the world just wasn’t right! I put all my stuff together, but I couldn’t find what I wanted so I started writing on my blog and putting a lot of it there so I can black and search for it.

    • Christine, I tend to be very type-A also, but I’ve found that I like to write everything out for each day. For example, I’ll start with writing out my Scriptures that I’m memorizing, followed by my gratitide list, then I’ll journal from my Bible study time. I like being able to see how everything is tying together.

  3. I’ve been using three separate journals, one for my gratitude list, one for my conversations with God, and one for ideas, quotes, etc. It makes a lot more sense to combine my gratitude list with my conversations with God one! I don’t know why I never thought of that before. Thanks for the great ideas!

  4. I stopped journaling years ago and cringe at the thought of reading what is in my old journals. I can relate to Elizabeth’s concern. I definitely don’t want anyone reading my old journals. For a while I journaled on my computer and password protected the documents. But, I just haven’t made time for doing that since getting married/having kids. I do thank God for 5 things each day, but don’t write them down. Though after reading this post, I think I’m gonna start. Thanks for the idea of faith journaling.

  5. Thank you for this great and honest post.

    I have been journalling on and off since I was about 10 years old. Some of my older journals I wouldn’t let my children read. Not having been saved till I was 18, the journals contain obscenities and attitudes that are the very opposite of those that I aspire to instill into my children.

    However, the journals that I kept since my salvation point, have truly told an incredible story of God’s transformation power in a life – my life! And this alone gives me reason and cause to continue. My journals are a part of the heritage that I will leave one children one day. A first hand record of God’s faithfulness in a life – their mama’s life…

  6. I love journaling. I have been journaling since 14.

  7. Love the idea of faith journaling… never been much of a diary keeper, truthfully I never had a diary as a young child. Now that I am an adult, believer, mom, wife, I feel the need to track things more in my life? Words, moments, conversations, God-sightings… my legacy to leave behind when I’ve gone to be with my Creator. Thanks for sharing this :)

  8. I have just recently started journaling. For the most part, I’ve been writing prayer requests and what I’ve been learning in the study “Knowing God by Name” by Mary Kassian. After reading this blog post, I’m adding my gratitude list to my journaling.
    Scripture memorization is something I continue to be convicted about. I struggle with consistency and where to begin. Thank you for the link to the Do Not Depart site. I’m going to start with the Essentials of Philippians memory set. Between the songs that correspond to each verse and the app ‘Bible Memory Verses’, I’ve got the tools to help me succeed!

  9. I love this Amanda! I used to journal all the time, but it was like the teenager kind of journaling, so I stopped. I’m just not getting back to it. Blogging is a good way to journal, but I really like writing it down on paper and not have to turn on the computer or my phone to look through my journal.

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