Why God wants you to keep a journal

Today is an epic day. 

I finished my last journal entry in my self-bound book and began to write in a new book.

Whenever I crack the spine of a new journal to begin documenting my life, I feel as though I should make an introduction of some sort. Now, I know it doesn’t make logical sense: to introduce yourself to a bundle of paper. And yet it has been made quite clear to me (by numerous amounts of experiences and opinions of other people) that I am far from a logical person by nature and design.

*sign* I just love words!

I feel a sense of attachment to my journals. I do spend a great deal of time with each of them, and I pour out much of my heart and brain into them. I almost feel as thought my notebooks turn into… horcruxes. (any Potter fans out there?)– as if a piece of my own self resides within the pages.

I do realize that this notion is quite absurd. My identity rests in nothing of this world, not even language. However, language can be used to express what my identity does rest in, and so language and words and writing… well they are important.

And not just to me.

Words are important to God as well.

First of all, I just have a feeling that God wants me to be able to use words to tell you that my real identity rests in nothing other than Jesus Christ, the most important Man in my life.

Luke, the writer of the Gospel which I have least explored, recognizes the necessity to record the story of Christ for the “servants of the word” (Luke 1:2)

John, the writher of the Gospel with which I am most familiar with (so I’ll go into this a little deeper), starts off his work with these lovely verses:

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through him, and without him not one thing came into being. What has come into being in him was life, and the life was the light of all people. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it. John 1:1-5

Obviously John was not a grammar teacher…

Now, I want to unpack this, because it’s confusing. And not simply because John cannot seem to choose one tense to write his Gospel in (as sometimes happens when one gets really excited about Jesus).

First of all, the Word of God is what exists, has existed, and will exist forevermore (perhaps this is the real reason for John’s seemingly laxidasical switching of grammatical tenses).

So the Word of God is first of all a proper noun, and it is what gives life to all people and all things. The Word of God is, I believe, and many theologians and fellow young bible readers agree, none other than Christ.

If you substitute “Christ” for “The Word”, you get a very clear depiction of what the rest of John’s Gospel will be all about. Let’s give it a try, shall we?

In the beginning was Christ, and Christ was with God, and Christ was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through him, and without him not one thing came into being. What has come into being in him was life, and the life was the light of all people. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it. 

… That being stated, everything the “Word” does is actually what Christ does. Words, in this case, are the vehicle, the platform for bringing the said “life” and “light” to all people.

God uses words to call us all into being, and he puts the truth and love and perfection of his words into a physical form (coughJESUScough) so that we can see how to live the Gospel– the Word of God.

The Word in Three Forms

This is where I myself begin to better understand the Holy Trinity in a deeper sense. The Word of God is God, but then takes the form of a living man, then of a Spirit, which is mysterious and scary and… rather unexplainable to be honest! I’m talking about the Holy Spirit.

But unexplainable as it may be, it is this Holy Spirit which now dwells within each of our hearts and moves us to action. All three: Word, man, and Spirit is one God.

Some of the most beautiful experiences that I have had with the Holy Spirit have been with his words.

Now, the bible tells us that the Spirit intercedes for us during prayer, with groans that words cannot express (Romans 8:26). But the Spirit also has inspired some incredible pieces of writing without which we as Christians would not even exist!

I’m talking about the Bible folks. The Word of God.

So Paul and Soloman and John and Moses and David and a bunch of other people all contributed to writing it over years and years and years, but we do not believe that it was only mortal men. No. See, we believe that God uses language and people to write his words and his story for our benefit.

It all ties back to words. Or rather, The Word.

The Gospel According to Claire… JK!

Now, I don’t go all into this to tell you that I believe I am writing the words of God.

But I do take my position of writer very seriously.

Words have power, even if you are the only one who hears them (which is really never the case since God always hears them as well). And I personally have been deeply moved and changed by the words of others, so who’s to say that the Holy Spirit won’t speak through me and with my words? I have witnessed him speaking through others many a time!

You see, maybe God didn’t design all of us to be incredible Super Heros. But the Bible tells us that he has given us spiritual gifts which he awards us in order to help spread his message and truth.

What if we took every talent we had this seriously?

What if, with every special skill or uncovered ability we realized we possessed, we all sought after ways to give it back to God– the one who gave it to us in the first place?

It might be to preach at a newly-planted church, or a teacher in an inner-city school, or a motivational sports speaker, or a doctor saving the lives of potential believers, or it might be “just” a  barista who hands sleepy-heads morning coffee with a warm smile. What if, no matter what we were doing, we were constantly striving to serve selflessly like Jesus did?

That, my friends, is how to live the word of God.

My Gift

God blessed me with an odd obsession with words when I was a small child which turned into a love for writing when I was a teen. Now, God has molded that gift into a distinct writer’s voice that I am speaking to you in now.

Why wouldn’t I take that seriously and want to use it for his intention?

So that is what I am doing.

And that is why I find a great deal of meaning and importance in the seemingly simple practice of keeping a journal or updating a blog.

What about you?

What is your experience with journal-keeping? Are you as obsessed with words and writing as I am?

Do you have any talents that you are seeking to use for God’s will? What spiritual gifts do you feel you’ve been blessed with?

Tell me what you think and about your experience!

3 thoughts on “Why God wants you to keep a journal

  1. Claire-

    Even though I’m a bit further from these experiences than you, I love the way that you express yourself.

    Something about keeping a journal has always been difficult for me. The motivation to write daily in a journal, which my mind has pegged as emotional and seemingly unimportant writing, just isn’t there for me. Or at least it hasn’t been.

    I’ve been making a concerted effort to battle this roadblock, as I am well aware that journal writing, and keeping a daily record of life and thoughts is healthy, but also because – Who cares if the writing is emotional and seemingly unimportant? It’s made its way out of my pen for a reason, yes?

    Enjoying the thoughts in this new venture of yours.

    • Thank you so much Doug. I really appreciate your thoughts. The truth is, my journal entries sometimes do lean towards emotional and unimportant. However, the more I read the better my writing becomes. Lately I have been reading a lot of witty, argumentative, non-fiction, and it reflects in my own writing. I know you read a lot, so I’m sure you’re writing just needs practice. It wouldn’t be long before you’d be writing publishable scribbles in your “diary” 🙂
      Anyway, thanks for the comment. I hope you are well and enjoying the summer off!

  2. Pingback: Lazy Sundays are A-Okay: Mary vs Martha « the art of breath

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