This one is pushing me out of my comfort zone so be gentle please.
In January, when I did the series on spending a year in the Bible, I shared a little about my quiet time and how I journal. Some people had questions and–I think more than anything–just needed permission to make their quiet time and journaling whatever they need it to be.
This is the post where I give you permission.
My trick to slowing down and really spending quality time in the Bible is to write about what I’m learning. There are a million ways to journal while you do your devotion and no wrong way to do it.
Here are just a few ways:
-rewrite the verses you are studying
-draw a picture to represent the verse(s)
-paraphrase what you read
-find one word/phrase/sentence that speaks to you and write it bigger, sketch it, make it into a symbol, or repeat it down the page
-write out your prayers
-sit still and do nothing
-answer the questions in your devotional (just like you did in school)
-go rouge! don’t follow the devotional
-apply it: how can you use this lesson in real life?
-bring your worries, anxieties, concerns, and questions; write them out
-read the scripture in more than one translation (my go-to is NIV and The Message)
-talk about your day/week/month in pray or conversation
-sing! it’s weird, but it’s holy too (I whisper-sing or hum; I think God is okay with that too.)
-use a bubble map or graphic organizer to focus your thoughts/worries/praise/questions
-lists, lists, and more lists
-color! markers and crayons; decorate your prayers, praise, and scripture
-talk out loud (I’m still too self-conscious to do this, but I’m encouraging you to do it. #hypocrite)
-note cards! when a lesson or verse stands out to you, write it down and take it with you throughout your day, tape it to the mirror, or stick it on your dashboard.
I’m sharing pictures of what my journals look like even though they’re not very pretty and really personal. The best thing I can tell you is don’t be afraid to try something that feels weird. No one is actually going to see it (unless you happen to take pictures of it for your blog *ahem*) and you’re not here to perform for others (or God), you’re just trying out new ways to connect and be in relationship with him.
Do something that feels silly. Try something you know you’re not good at. I do not have an artistic bone in my body, I’m creative in other ways (hello, WORDS), but I still try to draw in my journal on occasion. It’s mostly laughable but the time and focus it takes calms me down and centers me on a verse or thought or pray.
When I was flipping through my old journals, I came across the picture below and actually laughed out loud when I saw it. I also didn’t know what it was until I read the words accompanying it. I mean, I think it’s supposed to be a flashlight, but I could be mistaken. THE POINT ISN’T TO BE PICASSO. The point is to spend quiet time with God.
And if you have to draw a Styrofoam cup with yellow strings shooting out of it to do that, more power to you.