John Stott, a famous writer once wrote “It is my conviction that our heavenly Father says the same thing to us every day: ‘My dear child, you must always remember who you are’. “ Journaling is a way to get in touch with how God feels about you, your true self, and a way to process the conversations you hear in your own heart. Journaling is a tool to help reflect on ones life, their awareness of God’s presence, or the activities that have gone on in and around the person.
Journaling helps an individual reflect on the experiences a day has brought their way. Accumulating experiences does not bring wisdom, wisdom comes from understanding the experiences and allowing space to reflect on and learn from the experiences. Sometimes we go through our day and we might wonder: What just happened, what caused me to react that way to that person or that situation, who am I, or what triggered me today that caused me to move away from that person or experience?
Ignatius was a 15th century writer who had a profound experience with Christ. He wrote what is called ‘The Spiritual Exercises’ and talks of God being in all things, Psalms 139 talks about God being everywhere as well. He is not afraid of the places we go because He goes there with us. During certain seasons our journaling might focus on one particular struggle, using the same questions each day to see if we can grow in our awareness of what is going on in our lives in regards to this struggle. Ignatius wrote some wonderful questions that can be used daily to help us in our journaling. Some of the questions below are from his ‘Prayer of Examine”.
- What’s been hard today and needs my attention?
- How did I feel today, what was the dominating feeling for the day?
- When did I move towards God today?
- When did I move away from God?
- When did I feel most loved by God today?
- When did I feel loved by others and love others today?
- When looking back over my day, what am I most grateful for?
Journaling also can be done with color, art, or pictures. What is going on in the unconscious can often be expressed better without words by using art, drawing, or coloring.
Daily journaling can be a wonderful way to look back and see where we have come from and to see where God has been at work. There is always movement in some direction, and being able to get a sense of what that direction is will help a person grow.
If you choose to begin to journal, take one day a week to look back at the past 7 days and see what has been the theme, take time to ask God to show you what this past week has been about. With time, you will see God’s amazing hand in your life.
Spiritual Formation Adjunct Faculty at Biola
In addition to her role at Biola University, Roe also offers missionary care with Heart 2 Heart International who ministers to Romanian orphans and leads the Romanian/American staff in spiritual retreats and leadership development.
Roe began her career as a teacher when their youngest child entered school. In 2005 she graduated from Talbot Seminary with a Master’s in Spiritual Formation and Soul Care. While at Talbot, she oversaw women’s discipleship and urban ministries. After graduation she became a caseworker with the Orange County Rescue Mission before coming to work at Biola. Roe has been on countless mission trips, volunteered in homeless ministry, and led retreats over the last 15 years. Her and her husband offer pre-marital counseling and mentoring for couples struggling with sexual addiction. She serves on the Executive Board of Treasures and as the Care Team Director.
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