Firstly, let me assure you there is no perfect way to journal – one person’s perfection is another one’s nightmare. I for instance am a very busy headed, ‘something on the go all the time’ personality and if I feel I ‘have to’ sit somewhere and journal to be correct or proper…. I’d start feeling a little freaked out
I am a little envious of those people who are wonderfully organised and have everything in its place with their time accounted for and a neat and a well-oiled and dust free brain.
When I first got saved, oh gosh! that was an experience in itself. Who would have thought that Jesus would be interested in me? Of course, it goes without saying that
I was interested in me, I put ME first nearly all the time, but it wasn’t really working out for me. I had strife in my business, and I was a selfish wife to my lovely husband.
I was on the hit lists of many Christian friends. I think they were amazed and open mouthed when I finally turned up at church to “check it out”, there was a scurry of texts flying around “Jan’s coming to church” and it’s hilarious to find out afterwards just how well organised they were, they all had my salvation at heart.
I’ve learnt since then to understand that even if those we speak to don’t want to know God – Holy Spirit waters every single seed that we sow. I would be interested to see just how many seeds were following me around……it would have looked like the bottom of a very large and well populated budgie cage!
Anyhow, I was in tears all through the service, and I found myself on my knees at the front giving my life to Jesus as Pastor Royree led me through the salvation prayer. I remember feeling a massive sense of relief and I didn’t know why, but ever since then I have carried peace with me everywhere I go.
So off I go into this very wonderful and sometimes more than a little bit weird world of “being a Christian”
Before I got saved I did believe in God, I went to Sunday school as an army kid and I even went to church for a year in Wales after I married Philip, but that was just so that I could get our son enrolled into the church school (a very deliberate and not too honest strategy that worked a treat!)
However, I didn’t know that being a Christian means following the teachings of Jesus and living life the way He would have. I thought a Christian was someone who believed in God, but not so. Christian actually means ‘follower of Christ’
After about a week my mentor and friend Christine Gear (who has since gone to heaven) suggested that I journal. She said that I should write my questions, worries, ideas, thank you’s and just general chit chat in the journal and it would give me answers and bring me closer to God. I really liked Christine and even though I thought that was very weird to suggest chatting to God through a journal, I went and chose a very posh, velvety covered, gold embossed journal and started to meet with God every single morning for an hour, writing about everything that was in me.
To my amazement I was also writing the answers, but after a little while of feeling very clever, I started to believe that actually it was God that was conversing with me. I really wasn’t that smart!
That’s when the rhymes and poems started emerging. I would read back through my week and think I must have seen that somewhere before because it didn’t seem like I had written it. Even now, as I dip into a poem in my book I often think “wow – that’s so beautiful! Go God!”
So, at that time, I was writing my journal every day for an hour. Nowadays I don’t do that, seasons change, and I am more sporadic that I was then, I dip in and out and this is my point. There are no rules, what works for one person may not necessarily be something that someone else would do.
So here is a very loose list of my top ten tips for writing a journal.
Prepare your space
Invite the Holy Spirit in to sit with you, call on Him to bless your conversation, be very still and quiet and feel His presence. Psalm 46:10 “Be still and know that I am God” Shut your eyes. He will come to you if you ask Him. I used to imagine Jesus standing behind me with his hands on my shoulders and would wonder what it would be like to feel His breath on my hair.
Pray, either out loud or under your breath, he hears all, show your gratitude for who He is.
Praise His name, show Him you love Him. Just worship Him – if it’s appropriate and you are alone, sing along with the music and imagine Him there looking into your eyes.
Also be aware that nothing you write will be a surprise to Him. He already knows you and understands your every need. He just wants you to give Him permission to help you. Having said all that, it is OK to just pick up your journal and write whenever the need arises.
I am so grateful that I had a mentor like Christine, and it was because of the journal that I have been able to share the poems that God dropped into my spirit on those wonderful mornings with Him over my first 7 years as a Christian.
I pray that you will find peace and joy in writing yours and that these poems will bless you.
Jan’s Top Ten Tips