I'm preparing to teach a journaling class again at YMI this year. This is quite humbling for me because I do not feel like an expert in this area.
Sure, I have a degree in English. I taught in the Louisiana public school system for 6 years.
But journaling is different. It's more of a spiritual discipline - like fasting or praying or worshiping - than it is just writing.
Each person's journal will look different from the next.
Each person will grow in their journaling as it is exercised - just as in prayer, fasting, or worshiping.
There is always room for improvement.
I believe some people begin journaling and quit because it is not producing the kind of things they feel that they should be seeing. They believe it needs to be a deeply emotional, cathartic experience every time they write, and when it's not, it's disappointing. So they quit journaling.
I don't always "feel like" worshipping God. I do not always want to sing songs of praise and worship. But I do, even when I don't "feel like it..." Sometimes I even feel silly singing when I don't want to sing. But I know that I must keep worshipping God beyond my emotions and personal experiences. And I will improve my worship the more I do it.
The same goes for journaling. I try to write everyday. Some days it is a paragraph. Some days it is 2 sentences and then I'm interrupted by one of my babies...Some days it is 3 pages (my journal is a smaller size book) The important part is that I write. I write my joys and my sorrows. My blessings and frustrations. My questions and answers. In my journal I am free to express the real me. And I find freedom in writing whatever comes to my mind.
Journaling is different from blogging. I try to be very honest and transparent in this blog, but not everything that I write in my journal will be seen on here. Sometimes my inspirations may come from my journal, but my journal is a safe place for me to express myself.
When I first taught my journaling class at YMI 2 years ago, I asked Alicia Britt Chole for some advice. She sent me a list of 5 things that have helped improve this discipline in my life:
1. Journaling is a discipline, which means it takes time to develop.
2. Journaling helps you focus your thoughts on God in a noisy, distracting world.
3. Journaling creates a lifestyle of reflection which deepens faith and thought
4. Journaling marks a memory point of God's faithfulness and our growth
5. Journaling provides a tangible venue to go to God first before we process with others.
It's amazing to be able to look back and see what God is doing in me and through me. I like to think of it as a record of where I have been and where God is taking me.
If you have any questions, you can feel free to contact me. I'd love to help you develop this discipline in your life.