I have been journaling since I was in my very early twenties. I may have periodically done it before that point, but it has been a regular part of my life for at least the last fifteen years. Here’s why I keep a journal, and why you might want to consider keeping one yourself, especially if you are a leader who wants to grow and develop.
1) My memory is not as good as I think it is. When I look back at journals from the past I can see the highs and lows through the years. I am reminded of conversations, celebrations and insights I had years ago. I can see the growth in my thinking and attitudes. I am reminded of how God has guided me through the years. It is a measuring stick of my thought growth, much like a measuring stick on the wall for growing children.
2) I can see where I am stuck. If I write the same thing over and over, or I see a pattern of negativity or thinking that is not helpful, it gets very real when I have to write and read those thoughts over and over. Journal keeping has been a way to get out the ugly on a page and then make the decision to move on to a healthier, faith-filled future.
3) I can record leadership and discipleship insights. I always record thoughts about my daily Bible reading as well as quotes from a current book I am reading. This is one more way that I am able to better remember what I have read and also to interact with what I have read. What stood out to me? What do I agree or disagree with and why? What do I need to learn?
4) It keeps me writing. If nothing else, journaling puts me in the habit of writing something each day. It may spur a thought for a sermon, a blog, a book or even a conversation I need to have with someone else.
In years past I have done all my journaling in black notebooks and a fountain pen or some other writing instrument. While I still love doing this, I have found that it doesn’t always work with my schedule. When I want to write I may not have my journal, but I always have my iPhone and usually have my MacBook Pro or iPad.
That’s why I have digitized my journaling using Day One. It synchs over the cloud, I can add pictures, and whenever I have some downtime I can add my thoughts and musings for the day. It even recommends questions that may spur your creative writing. I highly recommend it.
No more excuses. Get journaling and grow.