I have a dear friend who says, “If the God of the universe says something to you, shouldn’t you write it down?”
For years my journals have been a mod podge of sermon notes, study times, free thought processing, lists and drawings. Prayers, sermon notes from marriage conferences along with sketches and sets of song lyrics fill literally thousands of pages of journals in my home. If someone were to ask me what I was studying through in 2005, I believe it would take me a month to comb through all the lists, poems, songs, drawings and words interwoven through my study of 1 Peter.
So, I suggest that journaling and keeping a notebook on your observations of scripture should be two different things. While they may have overlapping lines of thoughts and ideas, using a journal and a separate notebook is a great way to keep your Bible Study organized and focused.
So, how do we start? Here are some ideas and tips to get you refocused on writing down what God is teaching you.
#1 – Get a notebook
Invest in a notebook that is strictly for your study time. This would not be the same as a journal. Try to go for a loose leaf paper, binder, dividers style of notebook and get your school prep on!
#2 – Write
I am great at getting organized and setting up systems… I love it. But, one thing I am not good at is following through. So, just a bit of encouragement to gals like me: it is ok to get excited about buying a new trapper keeper and discounted file folder dividers from Anthropologie.com, but the point is to actually WRITE in whatever it is you choose to use.
Take time to write down what it is you are meditating on. Document the scriptures you are reading and thinking about. Write down whatever you want from cross-references to the names of sermons you have listened to. Do not be afraid that someone is going to grade your paper, just write down what God is teaching you.
For the online nerd (like me)…check out soapstudy.com! It has really helped me focus on WHAT to write down by the way this site is laid out. Scripture. Observation. Application. Prayer. And it organizes your entries by date. It is one of the best online tools I use now.
Writing down what God says is so important! This week focus on reading and meditating. Then take a few minutes to write down what you are meditating on. Use your notebook to process and reconcile thoughts.
For the unpredictable morning:
If you wake up to late to read, meditate and write, use breakfast or the time in the car to talk with your children (or yourself) about what you are thankful for. Make a few mental notes and write them down later when you have a spare moment. Remember, just because you missed your morning time with the Lord doesn’t mean you have missed spending time with him today! Learn how to absorb the distractions and grow in thanksgiving.