Anyone that knows me well knows that I am passionate about record keeping. I’m sure that over time I will write plenty of posts that talk about the importance of keeping a journal. 🙂
I love keeping a journal where I can record the happenings from my everyday life. I have heard many people say that they don’t keep a journal because they think that it’ll be boring for someone (or their future self) to read someday because their life “isn’t very interesting.” I have had this thought before as well. But a few years ago I compiled my personal history (see, I told you I am passionate about record keeping. haha.) It was comprised of memories, journal entries, and photos from my birth up until that point in my life (age 23.) Maybe someday I’ll do an entire post about compiling my personal history.
But anyway, when I was going through my journal entries and gathering what I wanted to include in my book, I of course read a lot of entries about my everyday happenings. And while I will admit that not all of the journal entries were thrilling or exciting, they all helped to paint a picture of what my life was like at different stages. And the seemingly “boring” and mundane entries were actually interesting in their own way. They brought back memories of what my days were like, just the everyday moments. Things that I had forgotten about, even though it had only been a few years since then. So that’s my little plug for keeping a journal, even if you think your life is boring.
But besides just writing about the ins and outs and mundane pieces of my everyday life, I also love to write about the things that I am learning and how I am growing and changing. I love to record my random thoughts and insights about anything and everything.
I go through phases where I write in my journal really consistently and then the habit kind of falls away and I am more sporadic with my entries. I happen to be on a good streak right now. I’ve written everyday for almost a year (352 days so far.) Some of these entries are short and only mention a couple of small things. Some are really long and detailed.
I do enjoy writing about what happened that day, but those kinds of entries have been a little less frequent over that past few months. Instead, I have really been into recording my thoughts about the things that I am learning (through my personal growth educational pursuits and also through practicing these skills/tools/concepts. This also includes spiritual experiences.)
Something that I have really been noticing though is that the more consistently I write in my journal (especially when I am recording my thoughts about what I am learning and experiences that I am having), the more I have what I call “rapid-fire inspiration.” This is where I just have so many thoughts and insights (about the gospel, about life, about learning and growth, etc.) that I can’t even write them down fast enough. I actually keep a list on my phone where I write down “journal about… [insert random thing that I just had an insight about].” And then I make the time (during my morning routine, or during nap time in the afternoon) to write in my journal about these thoughts/insights. That is actually where most of the posts on this blog have come from – those journal entries where I just sat down and recorded my thoughts/insights about a topic I was thinking about.
And sure, some of these thoughts/insights don’t seem super important or vital to my salvation. But I find that they give me passion for learning and for seeking and discovering the mysteries of God – however big or small those mysteries are.
I also think that its a way to practice receiving revelation and inspiration from the Holy Ghost. I feel that I’m showing God that I care about what He has to say to me. I care enough to write those thoughts/insights down because I want to remember them.
And many times I have gone back to these journal entries and connected (seemingly random) thoughts that I had before (and had written down) with thoughts that I am having currently. It is like putting together a puzzle. Sometimes Heavenly Father gives me one piece of the puzzle (a bit of inspiration/insight) and then another piece a while (days, weeks, months, years) later. If I have written down the first (and subsequent) puzzle pieces then I add those to the new puzzles pieces that I am currently receiving. I can then piece these insights together and they start to take some shape and show me more of the picture of what is going on. This is one way that I have really come to know myself at a deeper level. And that self-knowing has benefited my life in numerous ways.
I found this quote and I really feel like it speaks to what I am trying to say….
“Referring to the Holy Ghost, Joseph Smith said, “If you will listen to the first promptings, you will get it right nine times out of ten.” How often have you had an impression and rationalized it away as your own thought? For instance, when faced with a particular challenge or problem, an impression might come as to what to do about it. Instead of acting on that prompting, many of us second- and third-guess the prompting and begin to doubt that it actually came from the Spirit.
One of our problems is we do not pay attention to the Lord when He whispers to us on seemingly insignificant things. Then when something big comes along and we really want inspiration, we’re out of practice and don’t know how to receive it.
President Harold B. Lee counseled, “All of us should try to . . . give heed to the sudden ideas that come to us, and if we’ll give heed to them and cultivate an ear to hear these promptings we too—each of us—can grow in the spirit of revelation” (Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Harold B. Lee [Melchizedek Priesthood and Relief Society course of study, 2000], 51).” (*source)
Oh, and one thing that makes consistent (and more detailed) journaling soooo much easier for me is that I type my journal entries instead of handwriting them. I looooovvveee a handwritten journal just as much as the next guy. But for that past 7 years I have been typing my journal entries instead and I have really loved it. I used a company called jrnl.com. They are so awesome. I get my journal printed into a book (super easy, no work involved, just order it through their site) every few years or so (or however often I feel like printing it.) I also keep a journal for each of my kids (since they were each born) and I use jrnl.com for their journals as well. And then I just print them every few years. Even though my kids are still young (7,5,3, and 1) they already love reading (or having me read to them) their journal entries that I’ve kept for them over the years.
So that’s my plug – one of many- for keeping a journal. 🙂