I’m not gonna lie, journaling has always sounded a bit feminine to me.  Partially because academia in the midwest is typically shunned by independent, sport-watching, beer-drinking men.  I’m aware that this isn’t always the case, but the more men I come in contact with, the munore this stereotype develops in my mind.  As this stereotype has grown over the years with the guys I’ve come in contact with, the need I see to journal has also grown.

First off, we should know that journaling is not about writing down the warm and fuzzy feelings someone gets when they come in contact with that “special someone.”  Keeping a journal is about realizing that our life is part of a much bigger story that God is writing, and recording our current spot in that story (which can include the warm and fuzzies too I guess).  In addition, writing our thoughts and prayers down is a tool to keep the eyes of our hearts fixed in the right direction, not just a record keeper.  Paul E. Miller wrote a book called  ”A Praying Life.”  This book from page one has challenged and shaped my view on how to pray, why we pray, and why we should record our prayers -I highly recommend it.  On page 254 Miller writes,

When we keep our eyes on the Shepherd, we become aware of ourselves.  The valley of the shadow of death becomes a valley of vision… Journaling allows us to discover the story that God is writing in our lives.  Instead of rushing through life, it allows us to pause and reflect.

When I ask people the overused, underused, and abused question, “How’s it going?”  The answer I’m accustomed to hearing ranges from “good,” to “not too bad.”  When I am asked this, the answer that almost always rolls of my tongue is, “busy, but good.”  Life for me, no matter how chaotic or organized, almost always feels busy.  I’m going to venture the guess that most of you who read this feel the same way.  Praying through life won’t necessarily change the business of our schedules -we are the ones who allow our lives to be busy.  When suffering comes our way (which is bound to happen), we tend to automatically forget the goodness of God.  We may say that “God is good all the time, and all the time God is good!”  But if we are honest, we don’t feel that God is good.

When we journal through the busyness and disappointments of life by pausing, reflecting, and recording our honest prayers, we are in essence giving God the reigns to slow our hearts down and to point our eyes toward His sovereign hand that is weaving a beautiful story in and through our lives.  Watch, pray, journal, and discover -Jesus still changes lives through His life, death, and resurrection.



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