50 Opening Lines From My 2023 Journal

50 Opening Lines From My 2023 Journal

The blank page. It stares us down, like a defiant child, from our notebooks, journals, and desk monitors. We want to write, but it’s the first scribble on paper that causes us to pause. We hover over our desks transfixed. We stare back as one in the ultimate staredown. The first line, mark, or sentence holds weight for we who dare to take pen to paper, or who boldly write what no one has written before. Even if we write for no other audience than ourselves, we still stand before the start of the page with a strange reluctance to commit to the first writings to mark that vast empty corridor to Lord knows where! Maybe it’s exactly the problem…once we set about the first lines of our page, there’s no telling where we will be led. This is both thrilling and exceedingly daunting. In my book, Journaling for Discovery and Delight, I suggest the spill-your-coffee method to get beyond this, but that’s not ideal in every situation. Especially for Tablets.

If you find yourself feeling a bit intimidated by the start of a blank page, or new journal, or a blank computer screen and you desire to get those words out, I am here for you.

Some may be wondering, what is the purpose of sharing the opening lines of your personal journal. Well, to start, I am all for transparency. If it means one person will benefit. So maybe not the masses, maybe not even all those who are academics or seeking to find some next-level method of journaling to ring into nirvana. Or those who think journaling is all malarkey. Yeah, no…I am not looking to reach the millions. But maybe one person needs to find a way to find themselves on paper. One person who struggles to clearly hear their own thoughts because they are drowning in the voices of too many people around them who refuse to listen…yeah, I’ve got you.

And though I am 100% all in with Jesus I know what it is to be without him trying to figure it all out too. I know what it is to see the hypocrisy and the good deeds with strings, and subtle manipulation…I know what it is to be on the receiving end of criticism, judgment, manipulation, and blind eyes that claim to see. So though, my heart is set in a heavenly home, my feet are here on earth. One foot in eternity, the other stuck on God’s beautiful creation. Truly- to be a believer in this day and age is to be one caught between a rock…The Rock, and a hard place. And I am. That is both my security and my frustration. I live in this world, here and now, walking with clay feet. I stumble. I have no answers and I have the only answer that matters…in a word, The Word. My journal, my blank page…it’s where I sense the One whom I believe in. Where I can hear Him- Jesus- most clearly…where I can also find myself. It’s where the rubber meets the road… oh so cliche, but true. He is my road! I trust the road will reveal itself to you as you allow yourself to become rubber. OK, I digress…slightly.

In sharing these 50 one, two, or few lines from my personal journaling practice I hope you see a few things. As a matter of fact, this was a great exercise if you keep a journal to try. Make a list of your first few sentences. Look for the themes. Look for consistencies and offshoots or habitual practices. It was fun to look at these after I wrote them for this post. Although they may seem arbitrary, I think that is an important point. But this was a great journaling exercise in itself.

About each opening line: I have tried to stay very true to the specificity for authenticity. However, if Grammary corrected it, unless I was fixed on my way, I let her have her way.

Another important point is to find your own journaling rhythm – the right writing entry point, pace, and consistency that is good for you. This might vary with seasons of life. As one who has written through many …um, well …seasons herself, I can attest to this reality. Stay true to yourself. The mistake I see many make with beginning journaling is not understanding that your practice will flex and bend as your life does. Give yourself permission to let your journaling practice flex and bend with you.

As you will see with my own scribbles there is no right way to get those first words out. Sometimes having a specific signature opening helps. You will see mine in the list, but the key is to find your own. Ann Frank named her journal after a character in a series by a favorite childhood author, addressing her pages in her now famous journal with the entry point, ‘Dear Kitty‘, ‘My darling Kitty’, and ‘Dearest Kitty’. Find what works best for you. I have found the Psalms to be helpful to my understanding of how to write hard things, yet still, find God in everything.

Consider these as openers “Soup Starters”. A starter is a small quantity of food that is served as the first course of a meal. […] REGIONAL NOTE: in AM, use appetizer. (Collins) Read through them, sip, slurp, or dismiss as needed. Perhaps these starters will be to your taste and be complimentary in helping you enjoy your own launching into your journaling session- the full meal. Sometimes I go on after and journal for pages, sometimes a page. But the starting point is easy when you don’t overthink it. I encourage you to find your own board to dive off, whether it’s Dear Diary, or walking to the end of the board and doing a cannonball. Don’t be intimidated by the blank page. It doesn’t have to be perfect, and neither do you. Just show up. Jump in. Write for YOU. Write your way into your voice, your being, your YOU-ness. That’s what a journal can do for you, give you the place to discover all the ways your being you matters. Be your own best friend by giving yourself a safe place to seek, explore, and work out what is first for your eyes only, and then maybe an offering to the world (after it’s been filtered).

50 First Lines from my Journal…

  1. Here I am, Lord! New Year’s Eve Day. It’s Day 3 of no phone, your gift to me.
  2. Here I am, Lord! Ready to shine. Ready for this New Year. Ready for all you have for me to be, do, say…one day at a time.
  3. This will be a year of reading deeply and living fully. Of walking well with Jesus and loving large. This will be a year of beauty…and tenderness.
  4. “How rarely we weigh our neighbor in the same way which we weigh ourselves.” Thomas A. Kempis
  5. Lord, here I am. It’s _______ o’clock and I’m more than ready for the day.
  6. “Many persons have a wrong idea of what constitutes true happiness. It is not attained through self-gratification but through fidelity to a worthy purpose.” Helen Keller
  7. Here I am, Lord…and thank you that you continue to change me.
  8. Lord, thank you for the good day!
  9. Here I am, Lord, ready to listen…needing to listen to your soothing voice.
  10.  Good Morning, Lord! Here I am…seeking you. Asking your wisdom and power for the day. Asking to be faithful like you, Lord.
  11.  Lord, I want to give you thanks and praise for today.
  12.  First Friday of the New Year! I’m still without a phone and enjoying it. But a bit of a challenge for those who are forgetting I don’t have a phone.
  13.  Well, here I am Lord! Feeling both grateful and sad. I’m trusting in your forgiveness, your blood, your power, and presence. Thank you, Lord.
  14. Memories rise within me. But also, the journey is one that stretches out before me…us and is one that begs we walk it alone.
  15.  “It’s no secret that the devil hates our joy in the Lord and will strive with all his power to rob us of this holy delight. Nothing bothers the devil more than a Christian delighting in God’s Presence.” A. W. Tozer
  16.  Today has been interesting …
  17.  Here I am, Lord. Infuse me with that new energy we’ve been discussing. I need you.
  18.  Here I am, Lord. Thank you for this new day. Thank you for your presence, peace, and place. Thank you for your provision and power. Empower me to walk in it, Lord.
  19.  This morning I am thinking about things carried…within.
  20.  Grabbing a journal moment before heading to work. Snugglebutt (Phoenix) is draped over my shoulders around my neck…he’s purring away.
  21.  Here I am, Lord. Lots going through my mind.
  22. Here I am, Lord. Lord, do we remember our birthdays when we are no longer here on earth? When we are in the Kingdom of Heaven do we recall our days on earth?
  23.  There is something I need to write about this morning.
  24.  Here I am, Lord. Lord, that Psalm 8 this morning…a gem.
  25.  It’s amazing how January can flatten you…
  26.  Here I am, Lord. Phew, it’s been busy. So busy. I’m behind with my Bible reading plan and poetry; I’m behind with spending time with you… yet you have been with me every step of the way…each moment ordained. Lord, have I been listening?
  27.  Well, Angelo is making homemade pizza in the kitchen, having just showered. I’m in my office at my little desk.
  28.  I’m actually writing this on _______________________ (date)…but yesterday was a restful day. One in which I read in the chair for the afternoon.
  29.  Here I am, Lord. It seems lately I have little to say. Lord, let me start with Your Word.
  30.  Please, Lord, right now, I need You to focus me, keep me busy. Lord, settle my unsettled heart, I ask, in Jesus’ name!
  31.  Lord, Your word keeps me, Your word contains me, completes me. I ask You to rule my heart, mind, spirit, and soul.
  32.  How quickly this month is passing! Yet, it has been a bit too busy. Too many back-to-back events. I pray I choose carefully in the days ahead: Can I do this? Should I? Is this your will, Lord?
  33.  Here I am, Lord and here You are with me…for where I am you are there also. Thank you, Lord. Lord, hard to believe month one of the new year is already in the books. Today is the last day of the month.
  34.  Lord, I hated the way things went last night…
  35.  Here I am, Lord. Trusting you, thankful.
  36.  Lord, let me not forget the wonders of your love, your extravagant goodness, or your faithfulness to me all my days…all the days of my life.
  37.  Here I am, Lord…Not much to say… Feeling ready to listen.
  38.  Here I am, Lord…thank you for this day. Thank you for Your grace and a new morning to be experienced. Thank you that You hear me…my every thought and thank you that I am Yours and You are mine.
  39.  My mind is swirling with memories and now…all blurring together.
  40.  Here I am, Lord. Here I am…Needing to hear You in me…needing to hear me, there’s been so much over the past few days- and I’m not rushing through but being carried along.
  41.  Lord, here I am. You know all that is, was and is to come…Lord, help me today. Help me to walk in your power, peace, presence- Your pace…Let me not run ahead or sidestep your will for me today.
  42.  Here I am, Lord at the start of the day…thank you for Your Word. Thank you for your peace, power, and presence. Thank you that you are patient with me…
  43.  Here I am, wondering, Lord, where you want me to begin…
  44.  “This should be your ambition: to live a quiet life, minding your own business and doing your own work just as we told you before. As a result, people who are not Christians will trust and respect you and you will not need to depend on others for enough money to pay your bills.” 1 Thessalonians 4: 11-12 (The Message)
  45. Dear Lord, here I am, Lord…needing you. Needing to get away for the day. I wonder…should I take a small road trip?
  46. Thank you, Jesus. I am a student in my Abba’s classroom.
  47. Lord, here I am. Please forgive the words I’ve already spoken that fail you…but I ask you to guide me…keep me…help me.
  48.  I experienced some feelings of stress this morning …concerning my time, commitments, etc. Lord, guide my every moment.
  49. Lord, thank you for a new day. Thank you for your perfection, patience, power, and grace. Lord…I do pray for a good day, but also an opportunity to reflect…
  50. Here I am, Lord! Singing your praises this morning. Singing the praises of your wisdom and grace, provision, and power.

Take the 50 Opening lines Challenge from your own journal and see what a list you discover! If you do this, let me know in the comments or tag me @thejournalenthusiast (DawnP) on Instagram. Let’s use the hashtag #my50firstlines (I just checked and it’s available for us if we choose to play!)

As always, I pray your journaling leads you to discovery and delight!

You can buy my book Journaling for Discovery and Delight at Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

If you have used the book’s prompts or read the book, I would greatly appreciate it if you could share what you liked, and/or didn’t like in a review on Amazon, Barnes and Noble or Goodreads. I grow best when I know how to do better! Thank you for your support!

Enthusiastically, Dawn

Published by enthusiasticallydawn

Dawn Paoletta is the author of Journaling for Discovery and Delight. Her writing is included in several anthologies and her poems have been included in the Wickford Poetry and Art Exhibit and Books. Dawn is currently working on her next book. Inquiries at dawn.paoletta@gmail.com

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