3 Benefits of Journaling

            Hello there! Today, I would like to share the 3 benefits of journaling, and how they can help us in our endeavor to live godly lives. I have personally reaped the benefits of journaling and would like to see others experience the same. Maybe you’ve thought of journaling as a diary and the very idea of recording something makes you cringe. If that’s true, I invite you all the more to dive in and consider the benefits to journaling. If not, I hope you still benefit from this article.

1. Remembering that God was there

            What’s the average memory span of a person? I don’t know, do you? Anyways, you get the point. I don’t know about you, but it’s not unusual for me to forget (or nearly so) my water bottle on the way to the gym. We’ve all been there, whether it’s forgetting water bottles or where we’ve put our phones. There’s always stuff going on and so many different things fill our minds and take up our concentration. With so many thoughts and concerns pushing for attention, it can be easy to forget things that we don’t actively think about. That, my friend, is where journaling comes into play.

            Journaling is a great way to help us remember God’s presence in the midst of our hardship. It might not feel helpful in that moment, but your future self may just benefit from it. Struggle and challenges are a common experience that we share, and there are events that sometimes make us question where God is, or simply deny that He is there. That is why journaling can come in handy. It can be a helpful thing to read your own, personal record of how God was there in the midst of trials. In this way, the truth that Jesus is always by our side, is reinforced. Sometimes, you might just need to hear the truth from yourself.

2. Remembering Answered Prayers

            Maybe this is different for you, but isn’t there something reassuring about knowing that God is reliable and that He’ll always answer your prayers? That’s all good, but unfortunately, we tend to forget about this. Instead of having faith in Him,  we can transition into this mentality of knowing this truth, but not really “believing” it. “Yea, I know He answers prayers” we shrug, but inside we don’t really expect to hear from Him.  

            Journaling isn’t going to fix problems of faith in Jesus, and it isn’t supposed to. However, we can use it to affirm the truths we already know and to remind us of them through our own personal stories. When you experience an answered prayer, take note of it and consider jotting it down. The next time you’re tempted to believe that God is quiet, take a look back.

 3. Seeing Growth from Hardship

            Hardship, suffering, and challenges are results of the Fall. Everyone goes through hardship, though they come in different shapes and sizes. Many times, they aren’t fair, and it’s not because of anything we’ve done. Rarely, if at all, do these experiences leave us unchanged.

             When you experience that pain or season of trouble, if you can, write it down. Set it aside for a time. Then, if you are able, examine that period of difficulty with fresh eyes. Read through and ask yourself questions. What happened? Did this challenge cause me to grow closer to God? Have I grown in faith? Did I become more obedient, or more humble? If I hadn’t gone through this season of hardship, would I have experienced growth?

            Questions and self-examination may open your eyes to God’s hand at play. Suffering and pain aren’t from God, but the good that grew from it is. It isn’t always easy to see the positive results that can come from hardship. Sometimes we may not even understand how God worked it into something good. However, other times Jesus reveals how our suffering wasn’t meaningless, and that He had a particular plan in mind. Journaling might reveal how more than hardship was at play.

            Writing about our struggles doesn’t need to solely be used for identifying growth. It can also be used to reaffirm you in a season of struggle. Maybe you’re experiencing doubts about how God can turn your situation into good. Go to your journal and be reminded of how He can take something terrible, and make something good result from it.  

            Now before I close, I’d like to make sure that the technicalities of  journaling don’t scare you off. Your journal is for you. You decide what the length is, or how in-depth you go. What’s important enough to jot down is yours to decide. Your journal is your tool.

Conclusion

            The Bible never said that we should journal. It isn’t necessarily a  “Christian thing” to do either. However, journaling doesn’t just have to confined to just coping with stress.  Instead, we can utilize it as a tool to help us in the difficulties we will face, and most importantly, points us towards God. Journaling can act as an aid to help us remember what God has done for us (1 Chronicles 16:12) and that He will always be by our side (Matthew 20:28). It reminds us that the Lord can turn our suffering into good (Romans 8:28) and might help us see the good that can come from suffering.

            With that said, going to your journal first isn’t what we should run to when we face problems. God is the One whom we should go to first, in addition to the Bible. As mentioned earlier, it is a tool to be used, but it is no solution to fix troubles we might have with trust or faith in God. Journaling isn’t for everyone, but if you haven’t  tried it before, I would recommend giving it a shot. You might be surprised how often God has been answering your prayers and walking beside you all along.

            So, what about you? Have you written down prayers or struggles, and then looked back on them later? If so, has it helped you spiritually? Has journaling helped you spiritually, in other ways? What things have you done to help affirm the truths you already know?  I’d love to hear from you! Just comment below to share your thoughts or stories.

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