As I have considered the ways I most typically journal, I thought I would share how I approach my mornings and what I call my daily Quiet Time.
Now depending on who you ask, you can find support for many ideas and philosophies on what makes up a quiet time, why it is important, and certainly some sort of support and Biblical grounds for the practice. But, I want to tell you why I have made it my practice to maintain a morning quiet time for more years than I’d care to admit at the moment.
Aside of the fact that knowing God in a personal way is a high priority for me, and that as with any relationship a requirement of time and attention is assumed for maintenance as well as growth, I will say that morning quiet time for me is both a selfish and selfless pursuit. I am honestly not trying to confuse you!
Let’s start with what Jesus said in Matthew 7:7-8
7 “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. 8 For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened. (NIV)
I love my morning quiet time and although many Christians believe they are offering the first part of their day to the Lord, I sort of see it as a gift I get to receive JUST FOR ME. Every. Single. Day.
If someone said they have a gift to give you every single morning and is all you need do is show up, would you?
Of course you would!
Unless that is you don’t believe they are telling the truth. Well, I am not above being greedy for God, and alone time with Him. Because alone time with God, is also alone time for me. A time to tune into the deeper issues of the heart, mind, spirit and soul. He never denies me being myself, he is not critical, or impatient with me as some might be. Time alone with my journal in the morning in the presence of God is time well spent, because I tune into the One who knows me better than I know myself.
It’s really hard to keep a fire burning if you don’t stoke the fire. Stoking the fire requires time and attention. But, not only does a roaring fire provide warmth, it is beautiful to gaze upon, mysterious, relaxing. Whatever is put into the fire in the form of effort, focus, energy becomes fuel for the experience. Fires and relationships require a focused gaze to be appreciated. The fire will burn for a while unattended, it’s true and a relationship is secure if there is commitment, but beauty cannot be experienced, seen, unless one takes the time to turn the eyes, look upon and attend the object admired.
Asking, seeking and knocking remind me of reading, writing and praying, with paper and pen. Each time I show up, in the quietness of morning, I know the pay off will be for me. Will it impact others? Absolutely. Never am I in a better position to deal with today and whatever it throws my way than after I have had my own morning quiet time which consists of a number of specific actions, none of which I follow exactly the same as in a formulaic way.
Journaling fosters increased focus, energy and peace of mind.
Writing out my thoughts, reflections, prayers, even fears ushers light into my heart, floods my soul with courage, reminds me I am not powerless, alone; invites the unseen presence and power of God into my place and time. All is possible as I sit quietly pen in hand.
I receive the gift of presence. Time is multiplied in ways beyond my comprehension.
This act of writing creates within me courage, encourages hope, invites inspiration. I ask , I receive. I seek, I find. I knock, and find myself standing on the edge of time, eternity, now and forever. This is the place where possibility dwells. This is the place of creativity, inspiration. I find the more I seek God in quiet, hidden places the easier I am able to the live with loud, crowded places of my daily living.
I think one of the gifts of growing up un-churched is that I do not take lightly the reality of fellowship with God through Jesus Christ that is common within Christian community (in my observance). I did not always see it this way, but I can see it now…I can see that in each life God gives gifts that sometimes don’t look like gifts upon casual observation. But, only once viewed through the Cross of Calvary is it possible to see the thing given transformed into a precious gift. In time His gifts are able to not only bless the recipient, but often bless His children within the Body of Christ. Only He can take that which is ugly, tragic, painful and redeem it somehow -bringing forth something unexpected, beautiful, precious and good.
My days most always start with Journal, Bible, Pen. I have simplified my quiet times to these three primary pieces because I can so easily complicate it. My simple formula for mornings equals, reading Scripture, responding with prayer and written word. Sometimes I write first, other times, I will just listen, then other times, reading, reflecting, conversation and confession and finally writing. There is no formula with God (Psalm 51:16-17), and there is no formula with journaling. Come as you are. Just come as you are.
For the Journal:
Is there a special verse or quote that summarizes how you approach your journal? Do you struggle to have a prayer time? One way to help strengthen your personal prayer time is by simply reading scripture than responding with a brief prayer in your journal. Don’t feel you need to write lengthy journal entries.
Have you ever written a letter to God? Journaling can help increase your intimacy with God. Try it.
My earliest journals reflect seeking, struggling and searching for spiritual answers. At this moment in time do you consider yourself a seeker, a struggler or a searcher when it comes to your spiritual life? Journal about it!
Two wonderful books I highly recommend are Writing to God by Rachel Hackenberg and Love Letters to God by Lynn Morrissey.
*Pictured: Black Midori Traler’s Notebook; Embossed Beauty Leather Cover by Imperfectly Perfekt on Etsy.