When we’re in the middle of a hard situation, or maybe just a confusing one, it’s easy to focus on the problem we're facing. But no matter what kind of hardship you’re facing, when we choose to focus on God rather than on everything we can’t change, it gives us a new perspective—one that points us towards the truth: that God is always in control.
If you’re looking for a practical way to shift your focus back to God, journaling can serve as a habit that has the power to help us remember, ponder, meditate, and worship, just like David talks about in Psalm 143. Check out three ways journaling can deepen your relationship with God and help point you back to him when it comes to facing life’s challenges.
1. Journaling helps you remember what you went through—and how God showed up
You might think you have an excellent memory, or maybe you tend to be on the more forgetful side. Regardless, when you’re facing a tough situation (or find yourself in the middle of a great one!), you’ll most likely be thinking, feeling, and experiencing a lot, and odds are you won’t remember all of it in the aftermath.
Writing down the details as you’re experiencing them does more than ensure you’ll remember what happened. It also means that once you’re on the other side of the situation, you’ll be able to look back and read through all that you were thinking and feeling at the time. And ultimately, it will allow you to look back on your experience and see how God saw you through it.
2. Journaling gives you a safe space to ask God hard questions
Have you ever felt like you just needed to vent while going through something hard? If you’re feeling emotionally overwhelmed, taking time to write down all of the thoughts and questions running through your mind (yes, even the ones that seem dramatic or illogical) can be a helpful way to work through a stressful or unprecedented situation.
Journaling can provide a place to ask God hard questions and work through confusing emotions. No one else ever has to see your journal entries—they can just be between you and God. And if you find that you enjoy it, you can even try keeping a prayer journal going forward!
3. Journaling allows you to see how you’ve grown in your faith
Once you start journaling—whether it’s an everyday habit or every once in a while—you’ll start to accumulate entries that span multiple days, months, and even years. And while you may not go back and read every entry, your journal will serve as documentation and a testament to your faith journey over time.
That means this time next year, when you find yourself facing a hardship, you can flip back to a previous entry and remember how God worked then, and look forward to how he’ll work in the future. With the wisdom from those previous experiences, you’ll be able to see (and read!) how much more focused you are on trusting in his plan instead of trying to fix everything on your own.
And remember, be consistent—schedule a time each day or week to sit down and journal, whether it’s 10 minutes or half an hour, commit to sticking to the habit and make it a regular part of your routine.
Ready to start journaling? Here are a few of our top choices to get you started!
1. Daily Kairos Prayer Journal
2. Dayspring Journals & Notebooks
3. Prayer Journal for Him
For more on shifting your perspective towards God when your back’s against the wall, check out the message 4 Steps to Connecting with God.