The Bible clearly admonishes to “Be still and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10). In fact, during this pandemic this verse has become the go to Scripture for a lot of people. Can I be perfectly honest with you? Right now, I am having trouble being still. With everything happening right now, my pulse rate is up, way up. My ability to focus in prayer is affected by how fast my heart is beating. My attention span is short because my mind is racing. How can I be still when everything else is moving at the speed of light? If you can relate to that question please read on.
The one tool that I have found in my nearly 50 years of being a follower of Jesus Christ that slows up my RPM’s (revolutions per minute) and facilitates “being still” in my life is journaling. When I say journaling, I don’t mean what you might think I mean. I am not talking about keeping a diary. I am talking about following the tried and true example of believers in times past of keeping a record of what God is saying to them and what God is doing in their lives. Two Old Testament saints provide us with a powerful example:
- David and the Psalms – For instance, Psalm 51 is David’s journal confessing his sin with Bathsheba, Psalm 56 is written by David at a time of despair and Psalm 3 is written as David flees his son Absalom. They are great illustrations of recording what God is saying to someone and what God is doing in their lives.
- Jeremiah and the book of Lamentations – Jeremiah writes this book as he observes the fall of Jerusalem. It is his painful journal recalling God’s chastisement and faithfulness.
I would define journaling this way – “Journaling is keeping a written record of God’s work in one’s life through His Word, through circumstances, through people we come into contact with and through life in general.”
Here is what I have found to be the five major benefits of journaling:
- It slows down my RPM’s.
- It helps me focus and re-focus.
- It helps me track my spiritual progress over time.
- It help me clarify what God is doing in my life right now.
- It helps me listen to God.
So, are you at least sold on giving it a try? Here is a basic methodology that I think will work for most of us. (See the pictures at the bottom of the page for more clarity)
- Use a notebook of some sort.
- Write the date & the word “yesterday” at the top of a page.
- Fill up one side of a page per day for the journaling.
- Record your interactions, accomplishments, thoughts, things learned and impressions.
- Answer the question “What is God saying to me through all this?”.
- Record devotional thoughts and special Bible verses read that day or that come to mind at the bottom of that same page.
- Turn the page over and right C. A. T. S. down the page.
– C= Confession – Spend some time making sure you heart is right with God by confessing the sins committed the past day.
– A = Adoration – Write a few of the attributes of God or names of God and praise Him just for who He is.
– T = Thanksgiving – What has the Lord done for you that you are thankful for? Is there an answer to prayer or a provision He has given to you to praise Him for?
– S = Supplication – What are some requests you have specifically for this day in front of you. If you are stuck insert the outline of the Lord’s prayer here.
Beyond this simple methodology here are a few further suggestions:
- Don’t make this complicated, simple is better.
- Don’t write something you wouldn’t want someone else to see if they came upon it. Remember, this is not a diary.
- Don’t be a perfectionist. Punctuation, sentence structure, spelling, etc. are not that important.
- Don’t be easily discouraged. Try to be consistent but if you miss a couple of days a week it is not big deal.
If I am going “know that He is God” I first am going to have to “be still”. Journaling provides a simple way to put “being still” back in our lives. Try it for three weeks and let me know if it makes a difference in your heart and life. I look forward to hearing from you (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Pastor Dave Watson