The Habit that Transformed my Life_journal and map_Heather Rae Hutzel

 

If there is one habit I’ve developed over the years that has impacted my life more than anything else, it would be this: flossing. Just kidding, journaling! Journaling is way cooler than flossing, but you should probably do both. You know, that whole gingivitis thingy.

 

My Experience with Journaling

I began journaling in 2011 as a way to document the process of writing my first book. But while I started this discipline as a way to keep track of thoughts, ideas, important dates, and milestones, it soon became a habit I couldn’t kick.

A friend of mine decided to begin journaling this year and asked, “What types of things do you write in your journal? Thoughts? Bible study notes? Grocery lists?” It’s a good question, so I thought I’d share my response.

 

Ideas for Journaling

Your Prayers

Prayers dominate the real estate in my journal. There’s nothing better than looking back years later to see how God has answered your prayers.

Your Worries

I will often write down things I’m worrying about, usually as a part of a prayer. Once they are on the page, they belong to God. This practice really helps to promote peace in my life. Again, just like with the prayers, I love looking back to see how God takes care of things.

The Awesome Things God has Done

Like when He answers old prayers or works miracles in my life or speaks to me… Throughout the Bible, we are told to “remember” the things God has done. I write them down, because in my frail humanity, I forgot how amazing and good He is.

Your Dreams (Literally and Figuratively)

Sometimes, God speaks to me through my dreams. I like to keep my journal near my bed, so I always have a way to record them. Oftentimes, interpretations for dreams don’t come until later, so it’s best to have a record.

I also record dreams–as in hopes–and if I feel prompted by God, I turn them into actionable goals.

Your Thoughts, Ideas, and Notes

My journal is also a very practical piece of parchment. It’s a place where I can record book ideas, notes for my blog, or thoughts to share with my discipleship group.

Favorite Bible Verses or Quotes

…or anything else inspiring, encouraging, and motivational.

The Kitchen Sink

When I’m in a pinch and need a scrap of paper, my journal also includes random email address, reminders, to-dos, and yes, even the occasional grocery list!

Make it Your Own

The best part about journaling is that you can make your journal into whatever you want it to be. If I had to describe mine, I would say this: it is a documentation of my journey with God. It’s the story He’s writing with my life.

If you already have a rhythm of journaling, what things do you write? If you don’t journal, how might you incorporate it into your daily or weekly rhythms?