If you haven’t already caught the journal “bug”, you may be asking, “Why should I?” Here are some great reasons:
1. It’s therapeutic. Our journal is a safe place to rant and rave, dream, grieve, and expound on the meaning of life. Writing things down often puts things into perspective.
2. It is a disciplined way to reflect on and cherish the moments of our lives. Busyness pushes many pearls of wisdom, grace moments, and learned lessons to the back of our minds where they gather cobwebs and are quickly forgotten. Journaling forces one to reflect on and savor life, God, family, friends, and the things of true value.
3. It’s a gift. How I’d love to take a peek inside the life and faith of my grandmother or great-grandmother! (Or grandfather!) Unfortunately all but one of my grandparents are dead, and as far as I know none left written accounts of their valuable life experiences. Those treasures were buried with them. Taking the time to write down the seemingly non-important is really a gift for the next generation.
4. It’s a legacy. Our written journey of faith touches the future. This hit home a few years ago when my husband gave me a new leather-bound copy of the Study Bible I love so much. My then 12 year old daughter, Cassie, asked for my old paper back copy. Later she made comments about some of the things I had underlined! She was discovering things that were deeply important and meaningful to me. I’m sure we had discussed most of them before, but it was more personal for her to see the actual words God had spoken to my heart. It was a peek into the marrow of my spiritual life.
5. What a legacy of faith we leave future generations when we not only write down special verses, but what God said to us through them! Our children need to see our struggles as well as our victories, how God brought us to where we are, and our dreams for being more and more like Jesus.
6. We are commanded to remember and not forget what the Lord has done. (Psalm 103:2; 1 Chronicles 16:12; and Psalm 77:11) Let’s face it, the best way to remember something is to write it down and keep it in a special place. When we are discouraged, depressed, or feel forsaken it helps to go back and see God’s hand on our path. We’ll be reminded that we’re never alone.
7. We are commanded to teach them to our children. (Psalm 78:1-7 and Deuteronomy 6:4-9) Journaling doesn’t take the place of verbal instruction; it just puts what God has taught us into writing for future reference. A written account can be passed down through multiple generations. The reach of our influence is increased many times over through journaling.
8. God gave us an example. Deuteronomy 10:2 tells us God wrote (1) the Ten Commandments on tablets, Luke 10:20 says those who are saved have their names written in heaven, and the NIV(2) contains nine references to the Book of Life (3). God thought it important to pass His words down from generation to generation in writing. He even writes down our names. Though our words are not as important and powerful as His, they have deeply significant value when they point to Him.
Note to young people: You may feel some of these don’t apply to you, but you may have children one day. What a precious gift it would be to let your children read details of your own childhood and your perspective on events they may be reading about in their history books!
Note to the childless: Don’t think your life’s journey is unimportant simply because you don’t have children of your own to share it with. Nieces, nephews, friends, pupils, etc. can all benefit from a record of your life and walk with God.
(C) Drewe Llyn Jeffcoat 2005