I have steadily kept a journal since February of last year. I don’t write in it every day or even once a week. There have been times I have gone an entire month without writing in it.
However, I have found when I don’t write in it I miss it. I try to write in it as much as possible and I believe there are four reasons writing in a journal will help you.
1) It helps you be more thankful: We know there is a good chance what we are worried about right now won’t matter in six months. There is something powerful about writing down your struggles and your stress and then seeing how it turns out. More often than not what you are worried about never comes to fruition.
2) Track your prayers: We often fire off prayers when we are worried or when we feel defeated and don’t think about them again. I have tried to write down specific items I am praying about and it’s amazing to look back weeks and months later at them. We sometimes forget the prayers we pray but God does not. I use The Circle Maker Prayer Journal and on the top of pages there are quotes and I love this particular one from Mark Batterson: “Prayers don’t have expiration dates. God answers them forever.”
3) It is a stress reliever: There is something to the practice of physically writing. I know there are great apps for journaling and I obviously love “writing” on my computer. However, there is something about putting pen to paper which makes everything seem right. Nothing magic happens when I write and it won’t when you write but I agree with Michael Hyatt who says, “writing in general helps me disentangle my thoughts. Journaling takes it to a new level.” When I get stressed I usually try to do something to occupy my mind so I won’t focus on whatever is bothering me. Doing the opposite can actually help more. Writing out what bothers me helps me sort through it.
4) Remember significant moments: The day you get married. The day you get a huge promotion. We don’t have any problem recalling these times. There are other significant moments which are not as big we usually forget. It is great to be reminded of these when looking back through your journal. I was reading through my journal from a few months ago and ran across something I wrote about running into a family friend. He mentioned reading my blog. He talked about how he enjoyed it and encouraged me to keep writing. It motivated me at the time and it motivated me again when I read what I wrote.
You don’t have to buy a new notebook or purchase an app, just start writing. Commit to writing once a week for a month. Don’t give yourself a word limit. Nobody will see what you write just let the words flow.