Write for healing. Your journal is a safe place to identify and describe the ways you’ve been wounded and reflect on how you feel about what happened. For each wound you write about, notice its effect on your life and the places where you’ve experienced some healing, as well as the places where you feel stuck. Write about ways you can pursue the healing that God offers. Consider the various names for God, and write about how some of them are particularly meaningful for you in your relationship with Him. Bend over physically to pray about an outworn behavior, false belief, or mistaken attitude that no longer fits your reality. Reflect in your journal on how you can grow behind that behavior, belief, or attitude that has been weighing you down. Use your journal to move through your pain toward healing.

Notice the holy in the ordinary. Take a second look at a person who is close to you by carefully observing him or her and interviewing others about him or her. Then record what you learned in your journal, and notice how your perspective on that person may have changed. Walk through your neighborhood, praying for a particular concern or question. Afterward, write down any new insights you’ve received in your journal. Reread your past journal entries and notice what surprises you about what you’ve written. Pay attention to unexpected ways you discover evidence of God at work in your everyday life. Write a prayer to God, thanking Him for His work in your life.

Consider sharing parts of your journal. While your journal is a private record, there are times when it may be helpful to share parts of it with others. If you’d like to do so, share what’s appropriate with someone you trust as a gift to that person. Don’t judge, criticize, or apologize for your writing or your writing experience. Remember that your journal is an important place of discovery for you and any others with whom you choose to share it.

Adapted from Journaling as a Spiritual Practice: Encountering God through Attentive Writing, copyright 2008 by Helen Cepero. Published by InterVarsity Press, Downers Grove, Ill., www.ivpress.com
Helen Cepero (M.Div., North Park University) is director of spiritual formation at North Park Theological Seminary. She is also a retreat leader and spiritual director. She has published a number of articles and an essay in the book In Spirit and in Truth.