Keeping a journal can give your spiritual life a boost, especially during a cold winter.
Posted in , Jan 5, 2015
Journaling is the perfect activity when the weather turns cold and unforgiving. Curling up with a pen and notebook can help you record your favorite memories, get more in touch with your emotions and set goals for the New Year. But did you know journaling can also bring you closer to God?
Here are seven ways journaling can enhance your spiritual life, based on my book, Heaven on Earth: A Guided Journal for Creating Your Own Divine Paradise.
1. Writing allows you to go deeper into your subconscious.
Often the thoughts that emerge on the page are not those everyday thoughts, the same old notions that your brain regurgitates and dissects over and over. Journaling is like digging for buried treasure. The ideas and insights you get while journaling are jewels that come straight from Spirit, from that deeper part of yourself that is connected to God and an eternal wisdom.
This wisdom helps you discover solutions to persistent problems, or unearth the foundations of negative beliefs or self-sabotaging actions. When you journal you are mining for gold.
2. In our hectic modern world, journaling can help you block out the noise.
Setting aside even 15 minutes a day, or 30 minutes a week, to quietly journal gets you in the habit of consciously removing yourself from the hustle and bustle of life. Daily or weekly journaling forces you to adopt a quiet, meditative state on a regular basis.
There is a stillness and calmness that comes when you go inside and put pen to paper. And once you begin training your mind to be still, that stillness will last with you long after you close your journal. It is in this quiet, meditative state where we can most easily hear, sense and recognize God’s guidance. When we can clearly access God, we can follow the guidance of Spirit.
3. Your journal is an ideal place to communicate directly with God.
Just as a prayer may be thought, spoken aloud or even sung, so can a prayer be written down. Is there something weighing heavily on your heart? Someone you need help forgiving? Someone you want forgiveness from? Are you looking for a job or a partner? Or maybe God brought just the right person or opportunity into your life, and you want to say thank you.
Your journal is the perfect place to pray to God, thank God for answered prayers, and ask God for patience and insight when a prayer is not answered.
4. Winter can make us feel isolated, and journaling creates a connection.
One of the ways we stay close to Spirit is by getting out of the house, which allows us to see God in the wonder and beauty of nature and in the faces of friends and family. But during those winter months early in the year when the holidays are over and the snow sets in, we tend to hunker down.
Even getting to church can become difficult when the weather doesn’t cooperate. We can feel isolated, and even start to feel isolated from God. Journaling about your faith and your prayers can help your heart warm to Spirit even when it’s cold outside.
5. Journaling can serve not only as a record of your life, but as a record of your faith.
Jot down the moments when your faith grew to a new level. The moments when you doubted. The moments when God sent you a special sign, or you received a sign from a loved one who has passed.
Look back at old prayers that were answered beyond your wildest dreams, as well as some of the unanswered prayers that you might realize, in hindsight, weren’t really in your best interest. Or how about those prayers that were answered in unexpected ways? Old journals allow us to see our lives from a God’s-eye-view and map our spiritual growth.
6. Checking in with yourself when you sit down to journal will help you stay more present in your daily life.
Journaling will ground you in the moment and get you in touch with your emotions and the events of day-to-day existence. God wants us to savor our lives, not rush through them. How can we learn all the lessons and feel all the joy God intended for us if we are not present?
Journaling the contents of your heart and mind on a daily or weekly basis forces you to be aware of what is happening in your life. Then you can decide what is working, and what isn’t, and ask God to help you set goals and make changes.
7. Journaling encourages a sense of gratitude.
God wants us to recognize all the blessings in our lives, even as we strive to do more and be more. Expressing gratitude by writing down your blessings will make you realize just how many blessings you experience every day. In fact, you might need a bigger journal!
Gratitude not only makes you happier, it brings you closer to God because you suddenly sense just how much God loves you. Seeing how many blessings you experience, written down in black and white, will inspire you to help and be kinder to others. There are people who desperately need your assistance, whether it’s donating money to a charity, donating some TLC to loved ones or just donating a smile to a stranger on the street. God wants us to be of service to each other, and God is counting on your joy and gratitude spilling out to bless the world around you.
Tanya Richardson is the author of Heaven on Earth: A Guided Journal for Creating Your Own Divine Paradise.