Monday, January 31, 2011

Journaling the Easy Way

I’ve never been good at journaling. I've tried several times over the years. Slowly but surely, though, I start to journal less often and eventually give it up entirely. Although I do see the value in keeping a journal, I've never been able to be consistent with it.

If you are like me and see the value in journaling but have never been good at devoting the time to do it, then I want to recommend a few things to you that have helped me ease my way into being a more consistent journaler. Some of these are specific products that you can purchase, but you could also do them with a simple notebook and pen if you wanted. I hope these suggestions spark some ideas for you and a desire to journal about God’s faithfulness in your own life.

One Line a Day Journal: A Five-Year Memory Book
This journal is “a condensed, comparative record for five years, for recording events most worthy of remembrance.” Each page is marked with a calendar date and has space for 5 separate entries (see photo below). You simply fill in the year and write a few sentences about that day.

I saw this 5-year journal reviewed on another blog and thought it was an interesting idea. I put it on my wish list and a friend bought it for me for my birthday! Since then I have been using it and have enjoyed the challenge of condensing my day into one or two sentences. I keep it by my Bible and do the previous day’s entry in the morning right before my quiet time. This works better for me than doing it at night because I would often forget to do it at night.

These hard-bound journals are set up for you to hand-write your own copy of the designated books of Scripture. The idea for this comes from Deuteronomy 17:18, where God commands the kings of Israel to hand-write their own copy of the Torah, or book of the law. The purpose of this was so that they would carry it with them always, read it, learn from it, and lead the people accordingly. It's interesting to note that 3400 years later, educators are discovering that most people learn kinesthetically, by doing or writing things out for themselves.

As you open the book, you will see chapter and verse numbers on the right-hand pages. These are conveniently spaced according to the length of each verse. As you look at the left-hand pages, the lines are left blank for personal notes and comments on the text. There are also some questions scattered in light print throughout these pages to guide you in thought as you study the books of the Bible and to help you understand the types of questions you should be asking of the text.

I received two of these for Christmas from a friend. One is a small booklet for Psalm 119 and one is a hardback for 1Timothy – Hebrews. I have been using the smaller one in my quiet time and have almost finished Psalm 119. I hope to start 1 Timothy next. The biggest value in these journals is that it slows you down. It takes much more time to write the verse than to just read it, so by its very nature it causes you to think a little more about the verse than if you were just reading the passage.

Yearly Journal
A few years ago, I started selecting a Scripture passage every year on which to meditate. I started a journal at the same time that I write in once a year that tells what passage I selected and why I selected it. Right now, it doesn't have much in it, but I look forward to reading it in future years and reminding myself of what God was doing in my life each year.

So that’s what I do. Once a year, I write a journal entry about the events of the past year and how God used my yearly Scripture passage in my life and then I journal about my passage for the coming year and why I chose it. Then every day I write a line or two in my One Line a Day journal and use my Journible to aid in Bible study. Again, any of these ideas could be done with a simple notebook and pen. No special equipment is required!

Have you found any helpful journaling tools or ideas? If so, share them in the comments!

1 comment:

boo4baby said...

I am a journaler and have been for years......since high school. I buy pretty ones and lined ones, red ones and "just the right size" ones. I write out each verse that speaks to me in my time with the Lord and my thoughts that have been brought up by reading that verse whether conviction, encouragement, or whether it leads me to pray this verse for a specific someone or situation. My family will have lots of insight into my spiritual journey after I am gone.

I love the journal where you write the book of the Bible. I need to look that one up and get one! That one excited me! Love ya!

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