Wednesday, February 06, 2013

Journaling for the Future



I have never been very good at keeping a journal. Are you? Oh, I have random scribbles written down from my teen years, but I never lasted consistently beyond a few days. I would attempt to begin a journal, intending to be consistent in writing, only to have my determination fizzle out shortly after.

So I never did make it a habit. Until recently, when I decided to include it in my goals for this year.

There are a couple of main reasons why I have decided that keeping a journal of some kind is important. The first is to simply record life events. There are already so many things that I’ve experienced in my relatively short life, “momentous” occasions that I will some day want to remember more clearly. And I failed to write them down. :( Major bummer! Already I regret that!

I know that someday when I have my own kids, I will want to record the funny things they do and say, and the big moments of their lives, like their first steps, or first day of school. As the years fly by, the memories I found most precious will begin to fade - my memory isn’t good enough to remember everything!

I have an aunt that has been a fantastic, consistent journaler for many years, and it is always fun to hear the things that went on when my cousins were younger. It is the only way I can know about these momentous things that happened before I was even around! Yes, I believe it is important to be able to revisit my families past and heritage through the pages of a journal.

But the other main reason I believe a journal is important is found in scripture. Yes, scripture! Even though the Bible does not talk about keeping a journal, I believe there is a principle that applies here.

Over and over through the story of the Israelites, God instructs them to build memorials or institute a sacrifice to be a remembrance long after the event has taken place. We find one such account in Exodus 13:14,

And it shall be when thy son asketh thee in time to come, saying, What is this? that thou shalt say unto him, By strength of hand the LORD brought us out from Egypt, from the house of bondage.

The sacrifice that was established just prior to this verse served one purpose: to teach the children that were not present what the Lord had done in their parent's lives.

This pattern is repeated over and over through the story of the Exodus and wilderness wandering, and I believe it is an important thing to consider. How can we show future generations the greatness of God? By letting them see it in our own lives. Then as they learn from our example to depend on Him and trust Him, they can see these same great things in their own lives!

Keeping a journal to record the great things the Lord has done is like setting up a memorial or a sacrifice. It can remind us of the greatness and power of God, and of His working in our lives. Yes, there may be times in our life when things aren’t looking so great and powerful and wonderful. I believe these need to be recorded as well, because the Lord will work some good out of them, and His greatness will be shown through even the hard events of our lives. We can’t ever know the effect that our testimony could have into the future!

So I’ve begun to journal regularly - several times a week. Beyond life events {because lets face it, there aren’t too many journal-worthy ones these days!} I’ve found it a great place to jot down spiritual tidbits that I pick up in my personal Bible study. Things the Lord is teaching me through His word, or things I want to ponder and sort out longer - having them written down allows me to go back and revisit them if I need to! It is turning out to add a wealth of meaning to my devotional life.

If you don’t keep a journal, why not give it a try and see if you find these things to be true in your life? It doesn’t have to be a daily, time-consuming thing unless that is what works for you. Just a few simple lines, a funny thing someone said, or a verse that struck you today is enough. And remember, you are setting memorials -showing God’s power and grace to the generations to follow you.

If you already journal, I’d love to hear about your method! Why is keeping a journal important to you? What sorts of things do you include?


10 comments:

  1. I love journaling. Unfortunately, since D came along I haven't been doing it. I have a ton of notebooks from high school and college already...filled with poems, sermon notes, and the struggles I experienced. It was a good outlet for writing (because I love to write) even though those early years weren't so good. I hope you keep it up. Some day your family will treasure them.

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    1. It must be fun to read back through those journals (and most likely laugh at your younger self...at least that is how it would be for me!) I hope you get the opportunity to start back up again some day - although maybe blogging is just as profitable as journaling!? =)

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  2. I have journaled for several years now. I have done it different ways - sometimes just writing down blessings of the day, sometimes including prayers and devotions, sometimes recording answers to prayers and happenings in our life in general. Sometimes, word studies or songs. There are so many things you can do. I often joke with my kids and tell them, I wonder if anyone will read these when I die. One of my children assures me that she will. I go back often and read devotions from past years. Many times this has strengthened me in my daily walk with the Lord as I remember how the Lord dealt with my heart on another occasion. Keep it up. I wish I had done it when I was your age.

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    1. I am sure your children and grandchildren will LOVE reading through these for years to come! What great ideas!

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  3. I started, this year, to write daily happenings on a 5x8 index card (line 1 2013 - line 2 2014 etc.) But I've never been good at keeping a journal. I've always seen or been told the need to have one... I think I'll try again, your post was inspiring! And maybe if you mention your progress it'll keep me going too.

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    1. Oh wow, love your index card idea!! What a fun way to look back at past years, every day!

      Hope you enjoy journaling, once you get started! I'll be posting my progress every month when I update my 2013 goals, so you can check up on me then! ;)

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  4. Nicole,

    Great post! And I hope you keep up with your journaling. I've done so for many years- diaries as a kid, more extensive journaling in high school (a Creative Writing class REALLY helped with that), and then on and off all through college and beyond. I journal every day now, and also keep a prayer journal where I write down weekly prayer requests. It's a great outlet and source of comfort for me.

    Just as a side note- my mom and I were cleaning out my sister's room this past fall after she moved to NY, and we found some of her old journals- they were HILARIOUS!!! We were both laughing so hard at some of the things she thought worth writing down as a kid.

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    1. I would love to someday be disciplined enough to write every day! Good for you!

      I am sure childhood journals are the funniest things EVER! :) I have one I wrote in off and on as a pre-teen, but I'm kind of scared to open it, haha!

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  5. I don't necessarily have a journal, but I have a blessing book; I try to write down at least one blessing a day, whether it be as big as an answer to prayer or as "small" as ...new shoes! :) So perfect for when I am having a "down" day to just look back and be reminded of all the good things that have happened! I have started getting Michael in the habit of naming one good thing each night before bed that happened during the day, and I am thinking of starting a book just for his ones, too!

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    1. I keep a list of "1,000 Gifts" which is basically little blessings I see each day. Focusing on the blessings the Lord gives is so important in this sin-stained world we live in! Thanks for sharing!

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