A couple months ago I heard one of the best talks I have heard on the topic of journaling. Keeping is a journal is one of this topics that makes a lot of people sigh when it comes up. It's like ONE more THING to do that you just don't have time to do properly. I thought I'd share a couple things I remember from the talk, though, because it really was excellent.
Sister Galloway shared a few journaling experiences she has had over the years. She keeps a couple different journals. In one she writes down promptings she's received, things prayed for, and prayers answered (which is probably the most important of the three - recording the answers).
In another journal she writes specific things that she is grateful for - which I think is often a record of blessings that she has noticed during the day.
She shared some specific instances where journaling has helped her through difficult times, and when it helped her sustain a child through a difficult time. She talked about how it has increased the quality of her prayers when she is putting more thought into what to ask for and paying attention to the answers.
I felt inspired to be more consistent about making special note of spiritual experiences I've had and prayers answered. Instead of keeping a separate journal, I've been marking them with a star in the margin so that when I'm flipping through, I can go back and re-read about some of my more poignant and spiritual moments. I like to write on Sunday evenings, but I will pick up my journal any time I have something specific to say. I don't write every week, though I'd like to write more frequently.
I was a really dedicated journal-writer in my teens/early 20s. I recently went back and re-read quite a few of those journals and it was such a helpful thing as a mother. Sometimes I just don't remember what it is like to be 16. Reading about my feelings, concerns, and recognizing all the dramatic emotion I was experiencing on a daily basis really helped me feel better prepared to relate to my teenage daughters. Instead of feeling frustrated with the things they say and do, I had so much more empathy because I could remember being there!
Sometimes I go back to specific experiences in my life when I really had to lean on the Lord. There's a feeling of strength that comes when I remember those times and how, with the Lord's help, I was able to get through them just fine. It is a reminder that there is still help available from my Savior and Father.
Keeping a journal has great power to bless our lives. It helps us focus, prioritize, and follow-through. We will remember the goals we have and the values we want to stick to. It can provide a source of spiritual renewal and strength. We will be reminded of our Heavenly Father's love for us.