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Getting Real: Journaling

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In our Getting Real sermon series, we’re looking at how spiritual practices serve as tools for heart change and authenticity before God.

To help make this more practical, each week a Woodland staff member will share about a spiritual practice that has been meaningful to them as well as tips for how you might try it out.


Journaling is a great way to reflect on what God is doing in our lives and process his truth. It’s an opportunity to “get real” with our Creator and wait on his response.

Donald Whitney, a professor of biblical spirituality and author of the book Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life, writes, “By slowing us down and prompting us to think more deeply about God, journaling helps us feel more deeply (and biblically) about God. It provides an opportunity for the intangible grays of mind work and heart work to distill clearly into black and white. Then we’re better able to talk to God with both mind and spirit.”

Here are some practical ways to put pen to paper:

  • Reflect on Scripture and engage with the words you see. You can think more deeply while you take notes.
  • Record what you’re grateful for and what you’re struggling with.
  • Look back on your life and write down all of the ways God has been faithful.
  • Write down your testimony. Though most journals are private, maybe this entry is one you can share with family and friends to bring glory to God.
  • If you don’t know where to start, try freewriting. Set aside your perfectionism and jot down whatever comes to mind, even if it seems like gibberish. Then pray into what you’ve recorded.
  • Write a poem. Poetry makes up a large part of the Bible. Check out Psalms, Proverbs and Ecclesiastes for inspiration.
  • Make a mind map. Ask God to reveal wisdom to you and record what you see, hear and feel.
  • Doodle. Creativity is a great way to engage with our Creator.
  • Write a letter to God. It can be as sophisticated as you want—take up calligraphy if you like. Or it can be super simple, like Judy Blume’s tween character in Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret. Six-grader Margaret Simon sets a great example of processing her spirituality through journaling. Her conversations with God are entirely authentic— straight from the heart.

Let us know in the comments if you have any other tips to share, or if you have questions!

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