New to journaling? Here are five tips from Ben on getting started:
1. Make it your own.
This is your space. Make it serve you, not you serving it.
2. Take all the expectations off.
This isn’t about getting published, it isn’t about filling a page each time or having something really profound written down. Your entry may be 1-2 sentences, bullet points, a paragraph – whatever works. Allow it to be a mental marker board, a place where you work out the things that are rolling around in your head.
3. What to write.
Write out your prayer.
Record what God is doing in your life.
Take notes on talks, conferences, weekend talks, group meetings, etc.
Let your creative side come out (sketch, draw, graph, write poetry).
Talk about something that happened that you don’t want to forget.
Track tough days/good days – what made them so?
4. Keep it with you everywhere.
You never know when or where you will be struck by something.
5. Store keepsakes/notes in the back.
Notes, encouraging quotes, concert tickets, etc.
Already been writing or journaling? Try Ben’s next level tips:
Develop some way of helping yourself quickly browse your journals. There is nothing more annoying than remembering a thought or quote you heard and not being able to find it, or not having a good way to go back to a topic a few years later. Here’s what I do:
Save the first 2-3 pages in your journal for a Table of Contents.
Organize your Table of Contents with 4 columns at the top labeled: Entry
Number, Date, Location, Topic.
At the start of each new entry or journaling time, put the entry number, date, location and topic (if it’s clear at that time) in the upper outside corner, then keep using that same entry number in the same spot on each page you fill for that day. If it’s not a clear topic, leave that blank and come back and fill it in at the end.
Update your Table of Contents as you go.
Take all the expectations off.
Try something new. Let your creative side come out. Sketch, draw, graph, write a poem, make a list, or write out a verse as a writing prompt.
Go back to a similar time frame in a past journal – what did you write about? What were your worries, joys, concerns and prayers? Use your current journal to record your reactions, thoughts, and what God has helped you to see with greater clarity.
Looking for a framework to help you journal? Scroll down for the S.O.A.P. Journaling method, a popular, easy-to-use framework for journaling.
S.O.A.P. Journaling Method
Scripture: Ask God to point out one text in particular as you read. Write it down at the top of your entry for that day.
Observation: What does it say? Ponder its meaning, tone, and purpose. Make an observation about what’s happening, who’s affected, and what’s taking place.
Application: How does this apply to me? Write how you plan to put into practice the verse that has just been brought to your attention. Application makes the difference between hearing and doing God’s will.
Prayer: Write a prayer asking God to help apply to your life what you’ve learned.