Jesus Didn't Journal
Really, I have nothing against introverted men. In fact I have been in love with one for more than thirty years. It's just that for the past two thousand years, it seems, someone gave them the pen, and they have done the largest part of writing about spiritual formation. And like all of us, they bring a specific perspective to the topic.
One can hardly blame them. We all primarily see the world through our own lens. The problem is, especially in this area of following Jesus, it can make the rest of us, well, feel pretty inferior.
Two thousand years of introverts elevating contemplation, reflection, solitude, and journaling into the preeminent ways to know God. Now, please don't hear what I'm not saying. Every one of those practices is wonderful. There is a rich history of how people following God have engaged those practices to help them know and experience God in profound ways. I am one of those people. My guess is you are as well.
Those exercises do things for our soul that only they can do. But they are wholly inadequate to developing a rich interior soul that is woven to God.
Teaching Everyone the QT
When I was growing up, what I heard, pretty much exclusively, was that maturing as a Christian was all about the Quiet Time. It had to be 30 minutes "to count" and 45 was better. What wasn't said but we all learned anyway was that sometime later that day, you had to figure out a "humble" way to let everyone know you'd had your Quiet Time. "As I was reading in Amos this morning …"
It needed to be done in the morning (that part always confused me; I'm not sure even God wants to talk to me first thing in the morning).
And then there was an acronym to follow, the most popular being ACTS—Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving, Supplication. I was frequently getting them out of order, and always felt a bit nervous about getting it right. Did it spoil things if I confessed before I adored? And what if I supplicated before the thanks?
Then, I learned, journaling was the next step.
Again, if journaling works for you as a way to connect with God, please journal away. Journal until your fingers bleed. Line your journals up, year by year until you have a journal library (and you can decide if you want them published or burned after you die).
But remember, Jesus never journaled, at least not that the Bible records. Okay, there's that time he drew in the sand, but I'm not sure that counts.
This doesn't mean journaling is unimportant, but it does mean that it's not necessary to know God.
I journal in a crisis. And when I have a new crisis, I want a new journal. I probably have dozens of journals with the first five to thirty pages written on. It's been helpful, but it's not a minimum daily requirement.
Other Ways of Connecting with God
A few years ago, a family in our church invited us to watch the Mavericks Surf Competition with them on their ...