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!