As I write this, I’m looking at the beach. People stroll along the shore and occasionally bend to pick up a shell. I think of how I walk thought life much like those tourists, collecting words as I go.
The only trouble is, I tend to pick up words that hurt–the ones with sharp edges and rough places–and carry them with me. I often overlook those that are beautiful and encouraging.
I imagine I’m not the only one.
A few years ago, I felt like God was impressing on my heart to change the kind of words I collected.
So I started an Encouragement Journal. I recorded kind words, blessings, or what God spoke to my heart in love.
At first it felt awkward and silly. Then I reread it at the end of the year and realized I’d forgotten about 90% of it.
I could recall the negative words from the year with crystal clear clarity. But somehow the positive faded from memory. After that, I was hooked.
I change the title of my journal every year. This time it’s a file on my laptop that reads, “God is so good to me!” (I like having it on my computer because I often copy and paste from e-mails or your comments.)
My Encouragement Journal has become a spiritual discipline. I once worried that it would make me prideful. But the opposite is true. Rereading it, I usually end with happy tears and a humbled heart full of gratitude to God and those who have blessed me.
It’s a record of His faithfulness…and my best guard against insecurity.
If you’d like to have an Encouragement Journal too, here’s a simple guide…
1) Decide if you’d like for it to be physical or digital. Find a notebook/journal or start a new file on your computer.
2) Think about how often you’d like to write in it. It can be daily, weekly, or even monthly.
3) Choose the format. I’ve used paragraphs, bullet points, and numbered lists at different times.
4) Set the amount. You can write as much as you want or choose a specific number. This year I’m trying to write down three things a day.
5) Pick a time when you’ll write. I’m a night owl so I like to do this to close out my day. But you can choose whatever works best for you.
6) Review your journal often, especially on tough days.
For more inspiration about recording blessings, visit Ann Voskamp from A Holy Experience and see her Gratitude Community. I especially love this article she wrote for (in)courage called, “The Real Joy Secret.”
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