We are a journaling generation. Journals come in every paper style, color, and texture. Magazines are filled with articles about learning to journal. We journal our prayer lives, our events, and our secrets. And sometimes we figure out our stories in our journals.
For people who love to process life’s experiences, slowing down to dig deep and rethink events on the page allows just the right pace to see God’s hand. Many of us had diaries when we were young, but journaling can move beyond recording daily activities and enter the spiritual realm. And our stories matter to God. Journaling allows us to keep track of God’s influence and work in our lives.
Even if you never plan to write a book about your life, think of your journal as your own book—the story of your life between the pages. Going back through the years and reviewing past interventions from God builds our faith and the knowledge that he’s been with us always, through the good, bad, and very ugly. We see our “old” selves from years ago on the page, and we notice that the traumas that upset us in the past seem so minor in the present day, or that the difficulties we endured changed us .
We have grown.
For young people, tweens especially, starting a journaling discipline can provide a lifetime’s worth of analysis about their experiences, while creating the habit of looking for God’s hand in their days. Sometimes we need to intentionally look back over time and see what God has done for us. Journals record communication with God and his responses to us as we invite him into our struggles—and joys.
Through a nine-month prayer program at my church that requires us to journal regularly after our time with God and then review those entries to share with our small group, the power of journaling has shown me that God uses these quiet moments to speak to listening hearts. Without the discipline of solitude and writing, many of his quiet messages to me would either go unnoticed or be forgotten in the rush of daily life. The lessons have been abundant, but my memory can’t retain all the transformation and information. Journaling has been a rich discipline that allows me to relive, retain, and rethink experiences by adding a good dose of God’s wisdom to events.
Tyndale has a great resource to help tween girls in their journaling endeavors. Love, Lexi is part devotional, part journal, and part fictional story of a young girl navigating the challenges of middle school by writing letters to God in her journal. Readers will relate to Lexi’s desires to fit in, gain the attention of boys, and battle her dissatisfaction with her looks.
The Bible is one long story with a beginning, middle, ending, lots of conflict, some foreshadowing that drops hints of Christ’s coming, and a resolution. Our individual stories, which are part of this larger story, show that God pursues us all and joins us in our days so that one day we can enjoy a happy ending with him.
What better way to see his work in shaping our lives than to create a record between the pages of a journal of each day we enjoy with God. And starting to journal at a young age will only add more pages to your book!
Linda MacKillop is the Acquisitions Editor of Children & Youth at Tyndale House Publishers.