Your Year in Review
As unbelievable as it may seem, we are fast approaching the end of another year. Social media is all about your year in review, throwing up collages and slide shows featuring all of your most liked posts, new friends, and photos. But taking a moment each December to think over the past twelve months isn’t new, and it certainly was not Facebook’s idea. As each year passes, we all think about the things that happened, the people we spent time with, and the ways that life has changed. But there is more to a retrospective than changing circumstances and relationships. There is a changing heart inside each one of us, and I think it’s important that we take the time to think about how our hearts have changed over the course of 2017.
Introducing the Heart Journal
One way to do this is to keep a heart journal. Now I know that journaling is not a new practice, but I also know that it is one that is fading as life gets busier and more demanding. Taking the time to sit down and read a printed Bible, then write down thoughts and impressions of how the Scriptures apply to our struggles, fears, and triumphs is not practiced as it was in generations past. Now, we have snippets of Scripture that pop up on our smartphones. We can swipe for a brief devotional if we have time—maybe while waiting in line at the store or sitting in the doctor’s waiting room. These fly-by encounters with the Holy Word of God do not give it the reverent attention it deserves. We have become passive about our Bible reading, and meditation is all but extinct. My sisters, this should not be.
Journal Your Struggles
With a new year just a few weeks away, I wanted to take a moment today to encourage you to document your journey with the Lord. As you know, the years race by, and so much happens. Wouldn’t it be good, at the end of each year, to be able to sit down and look at how you have grown—how your heart has changed—in the course of it? Just looking through this year’s journal, I see entries where I struggled with fear, unrelenting pain, self-pity, limited mobility, self-sufficiency, pride, and anger. My pleas to the Lord for true repentance and healing are embedded within scores of Scripture verses that I copied down as I was comforted by the Word.
Journal Your Victories
Likewise, I recorded many instances of great joy, satisfaction, and contentment as the Lord clearly answered, guided, comforted, and sustained me. Again, my journal records words of praise from my heart, surrounded by Scriptures that proclaim the goodness of God and His faithfulness to me. This is more than a diary. This is documentation of a 365-day journey on which my dear Father walked ahead, behind, and beside me through every step.
Journal a Life Lived in Faith
I am so glad I have maintained the habit of journaling. It makes so clear the areas of growth that I’ve enjoyed this year, and it also brings happy anticipation of more of the same in the year to come. I don’t know what the Lord has in store for me over the next year. I’m sure there will be moments of great joy and dark places, too. I plan to document each one, as the Lord leads. I do this purely for my own edification, but also in the back of my mind, there is the potential that someone else will read this one day. Perhaps a family member, or maybe a stranger. Regardless, I want my journal to reflect a life lived in faith, unashamed of the failures and grateful for the triumphs.
So thank you, Facebook, for the funny pictures and reminders of people and things that make me smile. But thank you, thank you, Jesus, for the precious record of your faithful work in my life, your intimate knowledge of my heart, and your wonderful love for me. Hallelujah! What a Savior! What a year!