I have received an appreciation certificate to purchase products for the purpose of this post in my participation in the Family Christian blogger program. All thoughts and opinions are completely my own.
There are many reasons to keep a journal.
As a record for a trip. To document a pregnancy, to record personal growth, spiritual growth, or as a record of your day to day life.
I’ve kept a journal off and on at many times in my life for varied reasons. I’ve written down my thoughts and feelings for a school project. I’ve drawn pictures and recorded information for a nature journal. I’ve kept a prayer diary. I kept a weight loss log (which didn’t really get off the ground). And I’ve kept journals countless other times. My house is full of spiral bound notebooks with doodles, sentences, words and scribbles.
As much as I enjoy looking back on those pages, I’m not really good at recording day to day events, thoughts and dreams. This year, I hope to change that.
Last week, I was reading a journal entry that I wrote when my family was serving on a mission trip in Honduras. I was writing about things that I felt the Lord was teaching me and these few sentences have really stuck with me.
It’s not about me.
As a Christian, I need to realize that life is not about me. It’s about serving Christ. It’s about loving others and pointing them to Him.
Don’t take yourself too seriously.
This is hard for me. I’m a pretty serious person. I’m always worried that I will say the wrong things or do the wrong thing. I need to get over it. To serve more, to grow, I need to get over myself and allow the Lord to lead me.
Don’t be afraid to get dirty.
In Honduras, I got filthy. Seriously dirty. I didn’t wash my hair or shower the entire time we were in the mountains (I probably shouldn’t admit that). And I didn’t even pack make-up. All of us on the trip were gross and stinky.
Obviously, I don’t go days without showering at home. But life is messy. Sometimes we need to jump in and get dirty in order to serve others.
Reach out to others with kindness.
Have you ever gone to the grocery store in a bad mood only to have a stranger smile at you? Does it lift your spirits? Make you feel a tiny bit better?
This year I vow to smile more, give someone who’s hurting a hug, send that Facebook message, send that post card, make that phone call and write that letter when the Lord lays people on my heart.
You know, I’ve never regretted serving others. There have been times I didn’t want to serve others. Times I didn’t want to take time from what I was doing to do something for someone else. But I’ve never regretted those moments or hours or days that I’ve set aside my plans to serve someone else.
As I began to think about the New Year, and pondered the words I had written, I couldn’t stop thinking that I need to make an effort to be intentional, purposeful and deliberate in the days ahead.
As I move forward in 2015, I vow to be intentional. With my life. In my job. In my travels. In my relationships. And in my faith. I don’t want to do anything without a clear purpose.
I vow to get over myself. To serve more. To think of others. To consider what I can do for those that are hungry, hurting or in need of encouragement. And I plan to journal my year, so when I look back on my life next year, I can see how I’ve grown as a wife, mother, daughter, sister, friend and believer.
My Action Plan to be Intentional
At home and when I travel, I will pack and read my Bible following my current reading plan. I will listen to my worship music and read my devotional which will hopefully challenge me and help me to grow in my faith. I will pray more. I will seek ways to serve Him.
My current devotional is Live Second 365 Ways to Make Jesus First by Doug Bender. The devotions are broken down by week and by day. Each week starts with a short video that you can watch online. Famous people and everyday people like you and me, share the struggles they’ve faced, how they’ve hit rock bottom and walked away with a relationship or stronger relationship with Christ. I love this because it shows that as people (even Christians), we all make mistakes but God has extended us grace and offers forgiveness.
The devotional continues with a scripture passage to read followed by questions to answer. The reader is encouraged with action steps- to apply what they’ve learned through the scriptures. To live it and to tell it to others.
I also ordered The Road We Must Travel a Personal Guide for Your Journey, written by thirteen well known authors and pastors including Francis Chan and Bill Hybels to challenge me and encourage me in my faith.
While I’m devoting time to my daily bible reading, I’m going to begin journaling again. I ordered the ESV Journaling Bible from Family Christian Bookstores and I can’t wait until it comes in. I was going to create my own journal, but I just couldn’t get this one out of my mind. This leather bound bible comes with a two-inch margin where I can journal and record my thoughts.
I chose this bible, because I’m sure that one day it will be a treasured keepsake for my children and there are some amazing Bible Journaling Ideas on Pinterest. I’ll share more about my Journaling Bible once it arrives. In the meantime, I picked up a couple little journals to keep me busy.
I love this leather bound journal that my daughter is taking to the Passion conference in Atlanta this weekend. Each page has a scripture that can be used as a writing prompt or as encouragement and I like the elastic band that keeps the journal closed. My daughter will use it for conference notes and to record what she’s learning at the conference. If it’s not full when she gets home, she’ll probably use it to record Sermon notes during church since we both learn and retain what we hear better that way.
If you want a simple journal, you can use a composition book or art book. My art book is a small hardcover book that is 5 x 7 that I use. It’s small enough that I can slip it into my purse or carryon but the pages are thick and sturdy so my fine point Sharpies don’t bleed through.
I also have a set of Prismacolor pencils that I use with mine. I love the bold rich colors that they give me. You can start with a 12-piece set, but I really like the added colors and options with the 48-piece set. Prismacolor pencils aren’t inexpensive, but they will last you for years. I’ve had my personal set for about six years and love them so much, that I also purchased the watercolor pencil set. It comes in a nice tin which is easily portable and they can be used wet or dry.
I thought these Encouragement Notes would be a perfect addition to my journals and they only cost $4.99 for 60!
In addition to my bible journaling, I’ll keep another journal this year showing all the ways that I will be intentional.
What will you do for yourself this year?
© 2015 – 2016, Tonya Prater. All rights reserved.