Pastor’s Word: A Book Recommendation on Spiritual Journaling
Have you ever wondered if God is working in your life in ways that you are unaware? What if there was a way to gain some perspective on the little ways God might be working and possibly gain some insight? These are the questions that drive the spiritual practice of journaling. Recently I revisited a book that was recommended to me in a seminar entitled Journaling: A Spiritual Journey (Broyles, Anne. Journaling: a Spiritual Journey. Upper Room Books, 1999.).
Broyles makes a distinction between a diary and a journal. “A diary is a record of daily events in one’s own life. The journal may take as its starting point the same events as a diary, but in journaling, one looks inward to see how one is affected by the events.” She continues with six methods of spiritual journaling (Broyles, 12-13):
- Beginning with the premise that God can meet us in the mundane details of our life, the first method looks for how we recognize the risen Christ in our daily routines from doing the dishes to paying bills to tucking the kids in at night. Reflecting on God in the details of life over a period of time may reveal ways in which God is working through the
- Journaling in response to scriptures. This is one I really like. Whether it is in response to devotionals on our own or in response to group Bible studies, journaling about how God is working through the scriptures and the reflections your fellow students and yourself make is a powerful way to see how scripture is not just a story unfolding before us, but how it invites us inward to become part of the ongoing story of God and God’s work in the world.
- Use guided meditations which take you on a journey “into [your] psyche where imagination plays with ” Journaling through guided meditations can bring us closer to God through new understandings.
- Journaling our dreams. The scriptures are rich with encounters with the Divine through dreams. If you can remember your dreams and journal through them, these reflections may give meaning to parts of our waking Our daydreams can be part of God’s inspiration, too. How might your daydreams speak to the longings of your soul?
- Responding to our readings. We read all kinds of things. Books, articles, blogs (church newsletters!), maga- zines, etc. Do certain passages jump off the page to us? Journaling about the things which draw our attention may reveal “fertile ground” for God’s work within us.
- Journaling our conversations. What conversations did you have today? What do they have to do with each other? What themes emerge? What concerns emerge? What joys find themselves in your conversations?
Reflecting on our conversations throughout the day with friends, family, acquaintances or even strangers may reveal patterns and truths not easily spotted in isolated moments.
These six methods are not the only ways to do a spiritual journal, but in highlighting these six ways, Broyles shows us a pathway for reflection and finding patterns of deeper meaning in the everyday events of our lives. I would recommend this book for anyone considering a new spiritual practice or a new way to approach journaling.
Grace and Peace, Pastor Rob