Wed, May 27, 2020

Discipline of Journaling

Good morning, Anthem Church!

I hope that our journey through the Lord’s Prayer and the practices that Jesus gave us from it was a helpful and encouraging one in this unique season. We want to continue to grow in our disciplines and practices of being with Jesus, becoming like Jesus and doing what Jesus did. Kristen and I reached out to my parents to write a series of devotionals that will help us grow in our pursuit of Jesus. My parents are two people that I have looked up to for a long time. They love Jesus with all their hearts and they enjoy serving him in some of the hardest to reach parts of the earth. I asked my mom to share about her discipline of journaling (partly because my dad will give a couple journaling assignments). So, with no further ado… Connie Larson today and Steve Larson to follow. 

—Matt

Hi Anthem Church,

This morning I want to share with you about journaling. Journaling is about keeping a record of your spiritual journey with Jesus. It’s different than keeping a diary or a record of what you did. It’s writing down the important things God says to you and the things He does in your life. It helps us remember the things that we learned.

Here are the things I write down in my journal:

- What I am learning from God’s Word and how it impacts my life. 

- When I read Scripture (or listen to a sermon) I ask the Lord what He wants me to hear and learn. Then I write down the date, the verses I read, what stood out to me, how it impacts my life and what Jesus wants me to do about it.

- My prayers – I often follow up what I read with a prayer asking the Lord to help me obey or for Him to show me how I need to make it happen.

- Sometimes I write a letter to God and start with ”Dear Lord.” I may include my struggles, my anxieties, what I’m thinking and feeling, what’s going on in my life, etc. I have found it is so helpful to get these thoughts down on paper, because when they are just in my head, they multiply - my thoughts go round and round, and my dread or frustration increases. Once they’re written down, I can look at them and begin to process them, trying to get God’s perspective.

- I also include my praises, my thanksgivings, answers to prayer, and my worship of the Lord. These are essential. The number one command is to “love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul and with all your mind.” (Matt 22:37) Writing these down reminds me of who the Lord is and what He has done. Sometimes I write a psalm of praise to the Lord. And sometimes I make a list of things I am thankful for. My heart overflows.

One of the benefits of writing these things down is that you have a record of what you have learned, how you have grown, and how amazing God is.

It’s always good to look back over your journal to remember. It’s faith-building. At the beginning of 2020 I read back over my 2019 journal. It was so good to remember how the Lord carried me through some difficult months. And as I was thinking about encouraging you in this practice, I pulled out a journal from 1985. I had been married for 10 years, I had 3 children who were 8, 6 and 3 years old, I was a 33-year-old pastor’s wife, and life was busy. But oh how sweet to be reminded of the things I learned, and that I have grown and changed. And how sweet it is to walk with Jesus.

I’d like to encourage you and challenge you to start today if you’ve never journaled. 

Exercise: Read 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18. Looking back over the weeks of quarantine—In what can you rejoice?

Write down how you’ve seen God, what is true about God even in the midst of this? What character qualities of God give you hope and strength? What are your prayers as you look to the days ahead? List the things that you are thankful for as you look back.

In Christ,
Connie Larson