DEAR ALI: ‘How can journaling take me deeper with God?’
I showed my mom your book, and she browsed through it. She was so encouraged by your journaling. She said that reading your journal excerpts made her realize she could be honest and candid with God. Can you give some tips on journaling as a way of getting closer to God?
Absolutely. I start journaling right after I invited the Lord into my heart at age 23. It was my way of talking to God, as well as processing all that I was learning at the time. I continue to start (and sometimes end) each day connecting with God through writing in my journal. Here are some tips on how to turn journaling into a meaningful and fruitful spiritual experience:
Be Consistent. It doesn’t have to be every day, but making it a regular habit will definitely help. Just like anything, practice makes perfect! Start by setting a time each day (I suggest morning, but any time may work) and block it out in your schedule as if it is an important business meeting. Try sticking to it for one month and note what the experience was like. Make adjustments as you go along.
Talk TO God. Yes, talk to Him directly. I’ll often start a journal entry, “Hey dad!” Or “Good morning Pops!” I speak to God as if He is my father, my brother, my best friend, my closest companion. Just as I would share things with a close friend or family member who are close to my heart, I have learned to incorporate that closeness with God. He desires nothing more than close fellowship with us, but we have a part to play to allow God into our lives. Journaling directly TO Him has really helped me and hope it helps you too!
Pour out your Heart. Psalm 62:8 says, “Trust in him at all times, O people; pour out your hearts to him, for God is our refuge.” Journaling is a perfect place to pour out our hearts to God, who is our refuge. And the best part? No one else will read it! It is strictly private – between you and your Abba. I believe God loves nothing more than when we come to him and write down all that’s in our hearts – joys, fears, tears and worries…He wants to hear it all. Sometimes we assume ‘God already knows what’s in my heart, so why the need to express it?’ Well, maybe. But I am not so convinced that letting it out is for God as much as it is for us. I have experienced tremendous freedom, liberty, peace and joy as a result of pouring out my heart to God. Go on, try it!
Happy journaling and please do share your experiences on this blog!