As a gratitude coach I always recommend that everyone keep a gratitude journal. I encourage others to write down three to five things every day that they are grateful for. I tell them that by creating this habit you will become more grateful but I have now found something much more powerful than a gratitude journal and it’s a spiritual journal.
If you have been reading my blog recently you know I have been going through a forty day journey to find my purpose in life. This journey was guided by the book by Pastor Rick Warren called “The Purpose Driven Life-What on Earth am I Here for?” This was a powerful forty days that transformed my life and allowed the Holy Spirit to work more effectively through me. Learning about the spiritual journal has also helped me be more at peace recognizing God’s work within me.
Therefore we ought to give the more earnest heed to the things which we have heard, lest at any time we should let them slip. Hebrews 2:1
I would like to explain what a spiritual journal is and give you an example of what an entry would be for me. First the explanation. A spiritual journal is not written in every day but only when you have learned a lesson or lived an experience and you recognize God within that lesson or experience. You write this down in your spiritual journal so you remember what God has taught you. It is also a journal you can pass down throughout your family through the generations just like we have the Bible.
Let this be written for a future generation, that a people not yet created may praise the LORD. Psalm 102:18
What you write in your spiritual journal need to be raw and honest yet simply put as to be easy to read. Write a complete recount of the experience the best you can ans as descriptive as you can. You may help others learn from your lessons. Writings can be lessons learned (or revelations of God) regarding relationships, yourself, life or any day-to-day activities God has influenced.
Here is an example of a spiritual journal entry pertaining to me that happened last fall. I would write this looking back since the lesson wasn’t fulfilled until just recently.
It was last November, just before Thanksgiving. I was sad and in desperate need of God’s intervention. There were three issues pressing firmly on my heart and causing me great pain. One was a set of family members that were having severe relational issues. They were fighting daily and their house was far from peaceful. I also found out a family member was diagnosed with melanoma which is a very aggressive cancer. Lastly I was needing to make a huge financial decision. I stressed daily about how I could fix these situations. Situations regarding relationships, health and finances which we all face daily. Earthly conditions I felt.
I was contorted on the inside thinking constantly about these situations when on Tuesday, December 18th I knew I had to turn to God. It was around 6 pm when I drew myself a hot bath and began my nightly meditation session. I was weak, worn out and knew I was a mere mortal wrought with anxiety and worry. As I closed my eyes to meditate I sunk lower in the warm water and listened to the mediation music. I was releasing everything else in my mind. I became the muciscal notes being played on my phone. I allowed the music to circle calmly in my head.
I instantly broke into mindful and honest prayer. “My heavenly Father, I am unsure why I am in this place in my life right now. Worried and Anxious. You have taught me to trust you and always put my faith in You. I am not sure why the enemy is attacking me so fervently to keep my mind controlling the situation instead of turning to You. I am strong and You are more powerful and almighty than any other thing and I recognize that Father. I am surrendering these problems to you Lord. I am removing myself and allowing Your will to be done. I am following Your plan and accepting the walk You have for me. I am nothing without You Father. Please take these issues and comfort my heart that I have the strength to sit silently as You handle everything as You see fit. Your will, not mine. Amen”
As I surrounded myself with the warm water I slid under the water to immerse my whole self as I rose out of the water I reminded myself of Jesus baptizing others to cleanse their souls and make them new. I sat quietly in the warm water as a complete calm came over me. I heard in my mind, “Do not worry my child for everything will be fine. Calm yourself all is being handled and will be fine.” My Father had taken my problems and comforted me to know He is in charge.
I went through December and January staying peaceful knowing God doesn’t break His promises. Although I prayed constantly for continued faith and strength to be patient I did stay in faith and trust. I remained patient as I knew that was what God had asked of me.
February came and my family member that was diagnoses with melanoma had been through surgery and mapping for the spread of the cancer. The test results came back with total excision of the tumor site and only one lymph node being involved. The prognosis is very good even though there will need to be immunotherapy to halt any new cancer.
The family members with the relational problems seem to resolving the fighting through communications and patience. They appear happier and also more at peace.
The huge financial decision I had to make was the scariest and had the most ramifications. On February 12th, I cried and prayed most of the day. It was one of the most difficult days I have had spiritually. I knew God put in my heart what needed to be done but since I didn’t know what the outcome would be I kept praying and crying until about 5 pm. At that time I freed my self and made the decision that God told me I needed to do. Crying and praying I made the decision and trusted in God that everything would work out and it did. The resolution that could have been the best was gifted to me by God. I decided and didn’t look back. The financial issue is behind me and I am healed of the worry.
As you can see, there is a big difference between a gratitude journal and a spiritual journal. When you use a spiritual journal and fully recognize in your heart how beautiful God’s promises can be you will live in gratitude. I do think if you need help recognizing gratitude in your life a gratitude journal can help you develop the practice of being grateful and seeing your life in a better way. I will tell you this that keeping a spiritual journal is much more powerful and builds your faith and relationship with God in a very special way. You will be so grateful from your heart instead of your mind. You will feel God’s loving touch and peace in a much more magnificent way!
If you decide to start a spiritual journal please promise me you will write this on the first page.
God I am grateful for all the lessons You will give me as I write in this journal and all the love and comfort You provide me through these lessons.
Keep your heart open to God and record these experiences with gratitude and reference them when you need them. May you feel God’s blessing and love daily in your own life. My love and gratitude for you reading this blog. LoLo