WHEN A JOURNAL SEEMS DAUNTING
Growing up, I was never really into journaling. I loved the concept of it and frequently bought notebooks and journals, but every journal piled up on my shelves and remained blank. I didn’t know what to write about, and I didn’t want a written record of my misplaced emotions, fits of anger, rebellious attitudes, distrust, and questioning of the Lord.
A few years ago, I realized that my journaling did not have to be all about me. Instead of letting my emotions run wild on paper, I could process them through the lens of the Cross. Rather than dwelling on the shame of my wrongdoings, journaling could be a means of identifying sin, repenting, receiving grace, and walking in the freedom only the cross of Christ gives. Writing about my fears could be a process of surrendering, asking God to help my faithless heart, and submitting to his will. The pages of my journal did not have to be a shameful record of my sins and wrongdoings. It could be a beautiful record of God’s grace upon grace in forgiving me and redeeming me when I far from deserve it.
ALIGNING OUR HEARTS TO GOD’S
Throughout the Bible, we find Scripture calling God’s people to meditate on his Word day and night (Josh. 1:8, Ps.1:2, Ps. 19:14, Ps. 119:148). Journaling allows us to reflect on who he is and dwell in his Word. It’s an opportunity to come before the Lord and remember his goodness and mercy. For me, journaling has become a process of understanding who God is and what implications this has on my life and is the process by which I actively surrender to his will.
As I’ve developed as a journaler, I’ve noticed seven broad journaling themes that keep Christ at the center of journaling while allowing me to process, surrender, and learn to trust God in the different seasons of my life. I’ve gathered journal prompts according to these themes below:
RECOGNIZE AND PRAISE GOD FOR WHO HE IS, HIS ATTRIBUTES, AND HIS CHARACTER
- What attributes of God do you see reflected in these passages?
- How does this passage of the Bible point me to Christ?
- How does this passage reflect God’s heart for his people?
- In what ways does this passage fit into the larger story of the Bible?
- Write your own song of praise for who God is.
IDENTIFY QUESTIONS FOR FURTHER STUDY
- What questions do you have about this passage? Write down things that may be confusing, that you don’t fully understand, or that you have follow-up questions about. Try to use resources and wise women in the faith to help you explore these questions.
CONFESS YOUR SINS, EMOTIONS, FEARS, AND LACK OF FAITH.
- What is a current sin struggle in your life? Confess, repent, and ask God for grace and the discipline to turn from it.
- What broken cisterns (idols) are you placing your hope in?
- Which thoughts or emotions are consuming your heart right now? Write them down and ask the Lord to captivate your thoughts and emotions instead. Surrender them and pray for his sustaining grace.
PREACH THE GOSPEL TO YOUR HEART.
- Write the gospel in your own words.
SURRENDER TO HIS WILL AND ASK FOR GRACE TO BE FAITHFUL IN WHAT HE IS CALLING YOU TO DO
- What steps of obedience is God calling you to that you are avoiding?
- What areas of your life are you clinging to and not letting God take control over?
- Which areas of your life do you feel like you are struggling to trust God?
SEEK WAYS TO APPLY THE BIBLE TO YOUR LIFE
- In what ways can you live as an ambassador of Christ?
- How are you to live out the Bible today?
- What next step of faith can you take today?
- How can you serve your family? Your local church? Your community?
- How is God calling you to use your talents and spiritual gifts?
PRAY WITH THANKSGIVING
- How do you see God working in this season of life?
- What are you grateful for today?
I pray that these prompts help you discover the wonders of the gospel and grow in your witness of Jesus to the world.