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What are the Benefits of Writing a Spiritual Journal?

 April 29, 2022

Writing a journal is generally recognized as a helpful, healing, process. This can take many forms from a daily diary, a dream journal, a gratitude journal, a travel journal or an artistic journal. However, what is the difference between these journals and a spiritual journal? And what are the benefits of writing a spiritual journal?

Personal Experience with Journal Writing

While teaching a course on addictions for a local college, one of the assignments I gave my students was to keep a two-week emotions journal. The idea was to have them experience how this could be helpful for individuals struggling with addictions, helping them become aware of what they are feeling and how that might trigger a relapse. After writing the journal, the students went back, reread what they had written then reflected on what they had learned.

Since I never ask my students to do something I’m not willing to do myself, I also kept an emotion journal for two weeks.  What I discovered was just how whiney I could be! Something I hadn’t been aware of and a helpful learning experience.

Throughout my life I have kept several different forms of journals. Usually they were unorganized, random thoughts, feelings, writing. Always, it has helped me if only by allowing me to release feelings, explore thoughts, then let go.

What is the Difference Between Journal Writing and Spiritual Journal?

The primary difference between other journal writing and spiritual writing is that a spiritual journal is specifically designed to help us in our spiritual journey. You don’t have to limit your writing to spiritual matters. Write about anything on your mind same as in other forms of journal writing but share that with God.

There is a sense of companionship with God’s spirit in the writing. Journal entries may be written as addressing God. I often start my journals with, Dear God … For me, it is a form of prayer.

Benefits of Writing a Spiritual Journal

Other journal forms may be healing and beneficial and help us grow. Spiritual journals do all of this and more. They allow us to express our feelings in a safe environment, vent, explore dreams and wishes, unleash creativity, and grow closer to our God. And then we have a record that we can re-read and reflect on to give us insights on our spiritual journey and how God has been present.

When writing to God, I don’t hold anything back. I write whatever is on my mind without censoring. Who better to tell what may be bothering us than God who already knows what’s on our mind? The process of writing is freeing and healing. At times I may be surprised at what surfaces. All part of self-discovery.

What Do You Do If you are Stuck?

Sometimes, though, the words don’t flow freely. What do you do then?

It could be that God is calling you to a different form of prayer. When pursuing my Doctor of Ministry, one of my instructors used to say that he changed his prayer form every six months. This kept it from becoming stale or routine.

I never found the need to do this but I do know that using different prayer forms can be helpful. God leads us in prayer. Sometimes that is through quiet contemplation, sometimes through memorized prayers, sometimes through writing a spiritual journal. And sometimes a prayer form that worked one time, no longer is right for us. There was a time when I wrote almost every day, but I no longer feel the call to write a spiritual journal. Perhaps some day I will pick up this prayer form again, if the Spirit leads me in that direction.

Or it could be that your inner critic is active, criticizing what you write. Most of us have an inner critic, sitting on our shoulders, whispering into our ears, telling us we aren’t good enough, nothing we do is good enough, and tearing down all of our efforts. In order to journal, this inner critic needs to be silenced.

Unlocking Creativity – The Artist’s Way

Julia Cameron, in her book, The Artist’s Way, talks about this inner critic and ways to silence it. She recommends that creative people write three pages every day, Morning Pages, where you just let the words flow. You don’t worry about whether they make any sense; you don’t worry about grammar and punctuation. Just write as a way to clear your mind, unlock your creativity and quiet your inner critic. You can always come back and edit later.

For me, this is a form of spiritual journaling. I address these pages to God and see what God has in store for me.

Or it could be that you are blocked because you are over tired and/or have lost your spirit of play and creativity. Julia Cameron’s book offers a number of ways to recapture that spirit. If you are tired, rest. If you are overburdened, sometimes it helps to journal about this, other times you need to go outside and play or go on a day trip somewhere new. Whatever inspires your imagination and brings joy to your life. Soon you will find your inspiration returns and you can’t wait to get back to journaling.

What are the Benefits of Writing a Spiritual Journal?

So what are the benefits of writing a spiritual journal? They are out of this world! Find healing, insights, inspiration, and most of all, find your God, whoever God may be for you at this moment in time, however God may be speaking to you.

Have you tried writing a spiritual journal? What was the experience like for you? I would love to hear from you!

Are you looking for a book for a special woman in your life for Mother’s Day? Who Me? Full of Grace? is perfect for mothers of young children. Give her spirituality based in her everyday reality!

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