Know the Dos and Dont’s of Keeping a Spiritual Journal

dos and donts

Do you struggle with journaling like many others?

Do you want to go deeper?

Then these dos and donts will help you with both:

  • Listen
  • Make your request clear
  • Be Real and Honest
  • Don’t Write-Down Tons of Scriptures
  • Don’t Use High Formal Sounding Language
  • Don’t Use Gobbledygook and Spiritual Buzzwords

1. Listen

I struggled with this at first. It does take time to hear what God has to say. Don’t let anyone tell you differently.  Many people are so busy talking to the Father about the problems that they never stop to hear what He has to say.

That was me.

Can you identify?

Just like any healthy relationship, you ask questions and to listen to the other person speaking, don’t you? That is a critical part of journaling. Listen to what He wants to say. Don’t get so self-focused you forget to focus on Him.

Sometimes the Lord wants to talk about something completely different. He will answer your question in a way you didn’t expect. I have experienced this many times in my own journals when I go back and read His answer.

Listen to what God has to say. Really listen. We get wrapped up in our own ideas that we don’t listen.  Don’t do it.  Jesus often told people, “be careful how you listen.”

2. Make Your Request Clear

Next, make your request clear. Sometimes you write your request down. But it doesn’t seem right. You have a hard time describing your request. Take your time and find the right words to describe your request.

When you come to the Lord come with a clear idea of what you are journaling for. As you begin writing ask yourself, write it down and say, “what do I mean by _____________?” Fill in the blank. By asking this question it nudges you to find the right word or phrase or idea you are writing about.

For example. You might write down. Journaling is important to me. Well, that’s a good start. But what kind of journaling do you mean? Here you could write. “What kind of journaling do I mean? It’s not a diary, it’s spiritual journaling. Where I write down a request and the Father answers me.” Now your request is getting clearer, isn’t it?

Since your request now describes the type of journaling (spiritual journaling) this helps to give you a specific focus for your journal.

It could be as simple as,  “Lord, what do you have to say to me today? What is your direction for me today?”

Chances are an idea is already going through your mind of what you are going to say because it’s a conversation. It might sound like this, “Father, I’m having a hard time putting into words my need and care” or “Good morning Father, how are you doing? I just want to hear what you have to say.”

When you meet with a close friend it’s not hard to get the ball rolling. The conversation seems to flow and goes on from there. It’s the same with journaling. Sometimes it flows back and forth.

3. Be Real and Honest

With close friends, we’re not formal and stuffy are we? I just say, “It’s good to see you, how’s it going? Stop around for a cup of coffee?”

Jesus says, “You’re my friend, I call you friend.” And what a friend He is. He knows you like no one else does. He’s your best friend and you can be real and honest with Him, more so than you can be with any other person in this world.

We don’t approach our friends in a formal manner and we don’t need to approach Jesus in a formal manner either.

A warm affectionate relationship with the Lord Jesus is what I mean. Be real and honest with Him and He will be real and honest with you. He’s all about being real, honest, and truthful.

I didn’t always say it like it is. I didn’t always say it how I felt. I didn’t always say what I  really was thinking in my journal  That’s changed, now I spit it out on paper so to speak.

A practical tip with embarrassing information is after you write it down and spit it out on paper, you can delete it afterward. It’s okay. Your journal is for your eyes only.

Believe me, your journal begins to come alive. You’re not faking it anymore but you’re real. When you are honest with Him you will start to hear some honest answers back. He opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble. It takes humility to be real.

4. Don’t Write-Down Tons of Scriptures

I use to do that all the time. Honestly, it didn’t help.  

A friend says, “That is like having a conversation with a friend where you are trying to back up every statement you make with a scripture.”  

It’s like quoting the Scripture back to God. I realized He didn’t need me to quote it back to Him.  That was eye-opening to me but was a big help. I don’t do it anymore.

What’s God’s Language Sound Like

You will find that as the Lord speaks to you in your journals He doesn’t quote Scripture. He’s going to say things like, “My daughter, you don’t have to walk through this problem alone.”

A Bible teacher said, “If you get into the “I have to go look up all the scriptures” mode, you cut the flow of your spirit and you get into your mind. That is when you start walking a delicate line that can even lead to deception.”

Wise counsel.

I would take my mind off what God was saying and began analyzing it.  Now I journal first then afterward look up the Scripture if any came to mind.

5. Don’t Use High Formal Sounding Language

It was a shock to me to find out that the Father, Son, or Holy Spirit doesn’t speak in King James.

When Jesus walked the earth, He was rather ordinary.  He looked ordinary and spoke the ordinary language of the day. No high sounding language for Him.

He might have looked ordinary and sounded ordinary but He spoke with authority.  He spoke in such a way that children were drawn to Him, the beggars understood Him. Prostitutes and tax collectors understood Him. 

He Talks Your Language

You’ll find as your warm affectionate relationship with Jesus develops over time that He talks your language. He speaks like you speak.

Think about it. If you speak German, He speaks German. If you speak English, He speaks English. He speaks to you in a way that you will understand Him. That’s awesome.

He speaks a language that you can understand. He speaks in pictures, types, and shadows. I’m dyslexic and a visual learner so I find the language of the Holy Spirit is filled with images and pictures. He speaks my language.

6. Don’t Use Gobbledygook and Spiritual Buzzwords

Don’t fall for the “Christian buzzwords” making its rounds in the Church. Many times we’ve grown up with these “buzzwords” passed down through the years.

And so you use them and think nothing of it.   When you catch yourself using one of those “buzzwords” ask yourself, “What does that “buzzword” mean?”

Finally, you know some of the dos and donts about journaling

What next? Are you satisfied with your journal? Will you apply some of these tips to your journaling so it’s more life-giving and nourishing to your soul?

Are you still doing all the talking in your journals or do they look like a conversation?  It takes time to get more conversational in your journaling, but I know,  as you apply yourself, that you will soon come to the place where your heavenly Father and you are talking face-to-face!

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