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What is a Spiritual Journal?
What is a Spiritual Journal?
A spiritual journal is different from a regular journal. It is a written record of personal reactions on spiritual matters. A journal has benefit in itself, providing a cathartic dumping ground for thoughts, feelings and ideas.
Keeping a spiritual journal is not a mysterious process. It is simply a way of paying attention to daily life, looking at what we and others do in order to understand what God may be saying to us and asking of us.
There is no right and wrong way to keep a journal. You may find that using one kind of notebook or another or using one kind of pen or another makes a difference in how easily you can write about your responses to life. Don’t let the tools distract you. If you are more comfortable with a computer than with pen and paper, write at the computer and put a password on your journal to keep it private.
Benefits of a Spiritual Journal
- Greater awareness of interplay of faith, personal behavior, and intent
- Making sense and order out of life within context of scripture and/or doctrine
- Growing in self-awareness, external perceptions, and overall understanding
- Documentation of expressed emotions and external responses, gaining perspective
- Clarifying beliefs in religious faith, self and others
- Setting spiritual goals and managing time that align with values
- Problem solving on macro and micro level, working through decision-making
As with most spiritual practices, there are important guidelines that help to make the journal effective. The most important is that you must be honest with yourself and God when writing. You probably won’t get that right from the start. Very few have any idea of what it really means to be honest to God, and so we have to learn as we go along. Another good guideline is that the date and time should be marked with each entry.
What to Journal About?
- Insights into daily life, interactions with others
- Understanding and/or struggles with Bible scripture
- Answered prayer(s)
- Meaningful questions to explore from the Bible, other books, etc.
- Lessons learned and/or lessons needed to be mastered
You can refer to that when you’re looking back, or trying to remember. And, it is most helpful if the entries are tied into a rhythm of regular Bible reading (such as in a lectionary cycle) and private prayer.
This article is not meant to be instructional but a polite guide for those invested in journaling and spiritual health. Consult a trusted faith leader or trusted websites for additional guidance.