Friday, March 26, 2010

Making Quiet Times Richer

Lately I've been having richer quiet times and it is because I've included journaling. Now don't groan and think to yourself that this does not apply to you because you are not a journaler. I used to think the same thing. But that was when I had certain ideas as to what journaling should be. In the recent past I've let go of that and, in the freedom that followed, I have found that journaling can add a lot to your life-- especially to your spiritual life.

Used to be I would do my homework for my Bible study, read the assigned scripture and dutifully write out my answers. But there was still something missing. And that something was personal application. Bible study is great but Bible living is amazing. The thing was, I didn't take it to heart because I didn't know how to get there. That's where journaling came in.

It took me awhile to realize that journaling and keeping a diary are two distinct things. A journal becomes what you want-- a place to jot down notes to yourself about what's happening to you, not a detailed account of it all. For me, my journal has been my place to process what's going on. It becomes a place where I write down what God is teaching me, as a way to preserve it. I know that my sieve-like brain can't hold it all. If I don't get it down, it's gone. And there is such richness in capturing it.

So the one thing I've started doing is to ask myself what my one takeaway is from each time I spend in the Word. I read whatever is part of my study for that day (I go through my own... right now it's Susanne Scheppmann's Perplexing Proverbs For Women) and then I find one passage or verse that really speaks to me. It might be about my marriage, it might be a conviction I feel about something I need to deal with, it might be a verse for me as a mom, a verse to share with one of my children, or just something that touches my heart-- a promise straight from Him. I write down whatever it is and then I write down what I feel God is saying to me about it, and what actions I might need to take as a response. Sometimes I will write out a prayer as a response.

This has made my quiet times come alive and it has made me look forward to them even more. I always liked studying Scripture but sometimes it felt like studying-- all brain, no heart. I was learning, but I wasn't being changed. Perhaps someone else out there needed to hear this. Whoever you are-- I hope it helps you as much as it has helped me!
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Bethany from Confessions of an Organized Homeschool Mom said...

I've begun journaling this year also. It is helpful just to jot down a few things that are pressing on my mind after I've copied a verse (or more) that has spoken to me. I usually write down a thought or 2 from my reading, "My Utmost for His Highest" this year.

Jen@balancing Beautyand Bedlam said...

ah - this is a discipline I have definitely gotten away from...maybe I am that one that needs to get back to it. :)

Angie said...

I just want to hug your neck right now! This is huge for me. This is exactly where I have been standing.

I hear and read all the time about women saying how much journaling has helped them...but that is as far as they go. I know this is something I have needed to do but didn't know how to start. I even have a friend that boought me a journal so that I could start.

I have just been in the spot of...what do I do? And I too have had this thought of it being like a diary.

As I started reading this and your examples and wanted to jump and say..that's it! That is what I needed to hear. Someone that took the importance of journaling and just laid it out.

This has been such a blessing to me heart! Thank you for following the lead of the Holy Spirit and writing this!!

tiggerdaisy said...

I really needed this! Thank you for sharing what journaling could/should be. I always thought it was like a diary and I didn't want that. A journal of how God is growing me--challenging me--loving me--that's a journal I can get into. Thanks!

Prayers and blessings,

Anonymous said...

I love journaling! It helps me to relax...and sometimes allows me to see what God is doing. If I write it down and look back on it, I can see glimpse of the future...sometimes. It helps me to reflect on what I feel God is saying to me :)

What would you do in heaven said...

I've kept a journal too since I was in college. When I read back the entries, I rediscover my growth as a person, and how God has blessed me and guided me all these years. ;)

Cindy in PA said...

I began journaling in October 2009 and believe that it enables me to hear God's directions more clearly. I've also discovered that if I'm troubled by something, I'm able to write it down and let go of the angst I'm feeling. It has been a wonderful learning experience for me.

Tammy said...

I have been journaling for years but this past year it changed as it became more my letters to God. Sometimes it is just a word or two that is pressing on my heart...sometimes a verse...but it is amazing how much I have learned about God, me, and our journey together.

Amanda@Confessions of a Wannabe Supermom said...

I am just starting to journal along with my Bible study and prayer time, and I already love it! It agree that it makes your quite time so much richer!