Writing and maintaining a diary is, without a doubt, the most difficult of the spiritual disciplines for me to carry out. Good intentions abound but the bookshelves in my study are sprinkled with those “blank books” that look so nice but are useless unless we write something in them.
For years I’ve been encouraged to develop this discipline and for some reason I can’t keep it going. Could it be that I wouldn’t want others to read of my struggles? Perhaps! Several years ago I started recording entries in my computer for security reasons. I chose a password (which I subsequently forgot) so no one else could read of my pilgrimage.
Journals of Jim Elliot, one of my favorite books!
Elisabeth Elliot makes an excellent case for keeping a “Chronicle of the Soul” as she calls a spiritual diary. She’s been journaling since her high school days and writes, “These are chronicles of growth: mental, emotional and spiritual. It is astounding to go back through them and learn things that I had completely forgotten. It is wonderfully faith-strengthening to see that indeed ‘all the way my Savior leads me’, hears my prayers, supplies my needs, teaches me of Himself. My memory is poor. A journal is a record of His faithfulness (and my own faithlessness too).” She encourages us to begin to jot down the following (not necessarily every day):
1. Lessons learned from your reading of Scripture.
2. Ways in which you intend to apply those lessons.
3. Dialogues with the Lord. What you say to Him and what He seems to be saying to you.
4. Quotations from your spiritual reading other than the Bible.
5. Prayers from the words of hymns which you want to make your own.
6. Reasons for thanksgiving.
7. Things you’re praying about and answers to those prayers.
Elisabeth Elliot from “Keep a Quiet Heart”, copyright
1995 by Elisabeth Elliot, published by Servant Publications
Yes, I know the value of keeping these “Chronicles of the Soul”. Even as I write this article I’m determined to do better by His enabling. How about you? Have you discovered how beneficial a journal can be? I’m inviting you to check up on me to see how I’m doing. Let me know also how you’re making out. Together let’s keep a record of God’s faithfulness in the midst of our struggles. It will be faith-building for us all. And, if you need one of those blank books, write me. I’ve got a few extras. - David W. Fisher