3 Categories: Discover, Learn, Create
Journal entries fall into three main categories. Writing to Discover something that we didn’t know before. Writing to Learn and integrate insight from others. Writing to Create.
Writing to Discover
Most journal keepers write to discover truth from their own reflection and inquiry. When we use writing to discover, we write to reflect and to sustain focused inquiry into a topic of interest to us. It is a process of thinking about something for ourselves, looking at it from various perspectives. We observe what we experience and consider it. We inquire. We turn it over in our hands and ask questions. We seek to answer our questions as we write. Sometimes we conclude our thoughts in one sitting; sometimes we continue to discover our thinking on a topic over the course of weeks.
Writing to Learn
We can learn to embrace the love of Jesus and to live transformed, holy, devoted lives. Journal writing for the purpose of learning from others helps us to integrate into our lives what others teach us about walking with God. We have the opportunity as we journal to spend time carefully considering what they have written and to allow the truth they teach us to change our lives.
Books, good books, can bring the most incredible people into our homes for dinner. They can share a lifetime of learning with us, teaching us truth, teaching us what they have learned about following Christ.
Dallas Willard encourages us to “read well the lives of disciples from all ages and cultures of the church, building a small library as we make them our friends and associates in The Way.” In our journals we can glean insight from what we read in books. We can use writing to incorporate truth from many sources into how we think and thus how we live our lives.
Writing to Create
Many of us believe that being creative is really playing, so we don’t give ourselves the freedom to be creative during our devotional times. Or we think that journaling must be serious business, so creativity isn’t invited. I challenge these unwritten rules and encourage journalers to be creative in their journals. Even if we know that we aren’t artistic, if we give ourselves half a chance, we’ll discover new insights as we create. Artistic touches are not a waste of time.
Bringing creativity into our devotional time may lead us to write a short story or a song; you may create a poem or picture, you may want to color a design or calligraphy. Be creative and see if it helps you to enjoy the Lord and His word.
I believe that we should choose what we want to write about so I'm not a big fan of writing prompts. However, knowing what others write about may expand the possibilities. Consider these ideas for what to write about in your journal.