I have a confession to make… I’m a dude, and I journal. It’s something that I started to do in 2007, and I plan on doing it the rest of my life.
Growing up, my sister had a diary. It was one of those diaries that had a little key and lock to go with it. I wasn’t that brother who tried to find it and read it to know all her little secrets (I was too scared to do that), but I assume her entries probably began something like this, “Dear Diary…” followed by a bunch of girly things going on in her life.
The first time somebody challenged me to start keeping a journal, I immediately thought of my sister’s diary and equated that to something girls do but guys don’t. Honestly, I think that’s probably how most guys view journaling. But, I’m here to say that the type of journaling I’m talking about is totally different than keeping a diary, and it’s also totally life-changing.
Since 2007, I have tried to consistently keep a journal. For me, that includes three things. First, I write down anything the Lord is teaching me that day through His Word. Second, I write down any major events going on in my life that I think would be important to remember. Third, I write down some things I’m praying for.
Like I said, doing this has been life-changing, and here’s why…
Journaling helps me process what I’m reading in Scripture.
I don’t know what your time in the Word is like, but for me it can often be hard to process through what I am reading without getting sidetracked or distracted in some way. What I have found is that when I start to write out in my own words what I have just read, I begin to process what I’m reading in a much deeper way than if I just sit there and think about it. I can’t tell you how many times when doing this, I have begun to see things in God’s Word that I don’t think I would have otherwise seen if it weren’t for processing through writing.
Journaling helps me remember what God has done.
God’s Word talks a lot about the importance of remembering (especially to the Israelites in the Old Testament). It’s crazy how we can see God do something so amazing and mind-blowing and then just a few days later forget about. Our poor memory is often the reason we have so little faith. When I journal, I try to write down any major events going on in my life. This includes answers to prayer and other ways in which I have seen God work. Since I keep my journal on my computer (since 2011), I can type those things in red or yellow letters so that they stand out. I will often go scrolling back through my journal and stop when I see those red or yellow letters to read about what God has done. Few things have been better for my faith than journaling.
Journaling allows me to see growth in my life.
In a similar way to how journaling helps me look back and remember what God has done, it also allows me to look back and see how I’m growing. One of the coolest things about keeping a journal is being able to look back a year ago, or two years ago, or even further and see what I was writing, what was going on in my life, and what God was teaching me. Today, as I write this, it is January 23rd. Today, I looked back at all the previous years I have journaled on January 23rd. Sometimes, it’s hard to notice growth in your life over a few days, but when we’re able to look back over a few years, we can see a lot of growth.
So…I’m a dude, and I journal. I plan on doing it the rest of my life. If it’s not a practice of yours yet, I encourage you to start as soon as you can!
Austin Wadlow and his wife, Lesley, and son, Judah, live in Iowa where he serves as the Teaching Pastor and Salt Company Director at Keystone Church in Ankeny, IA. They will be planting a Salt Network church in East Lansing, MI at Michigan State University in Fall 2019. You can connect with Austin via Twitter: @austinwadlow