Yesterday we did a bit of an overview of what renewing the mind is and today I would like to share a tool I began using last week. You can call it whatever you like, but I’m calling it my “Faith Journal” and sometimes my “Mind Renewal” journal. I feel that by making this a habit, I’m stepping out in “faith”.
He is the Rock, his work is perfect: for all his ways are judgment: a God of truth and without iniquity, just and right is he. ~ Deuteronomy 32:4 (NIV)
I love paper journals. I always have. The Husband started buying me Moleskine journals a few years ago and I would journal my prayers in them. I also receive journals periodically from my co-op students in all shapes and sizes. I’ve used them for grocery lists, project planning, lesson planning… etc. Well, this past semester, I was given this absolutely gorgeous journal. I wasn’t sure I even wanted to write in it. Yes, it is really pretty. When I opened the gift, I gasped. You see, I had been talking to God about starting a special journal. I wanted to get away from my whiny prayers where I kept begging him to fix me (or fix what was wrong in my life). And here, He provided the perfect journal.
So, yes, now I knew He wanted me to switch gears, but I didn’t know what direction to go. I waited. I’m rather glad the journal was so pretty that I didn’t want to mark in it for fear of messing it up. It’s not one of those that you can just rip out a page you don’t like. It’s bound like a Bible.
When I heard Heidi talk about Truth/Faith Journaling (we’ll talk about Truth journaling later) on the Renew your mind audio, I knew immediately that this was what God wanted me to do with the new journal. It came with a gel pen also. Both in the color purple. It reminds me of royalty for some reason. And, as the Lord would have it, my birthstone is purple. I always loved blue because it made me think of strength and water, but purple now makes me think of my heritage in the Lord.
Anyway, the cover says, “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen” (Hebrews 11:1). I quote this verse a lot. It’s one of my favorites. I think I liked it so much as a kid because it sounded rather mysterious. I know that’s probably a really silly reason to like a verse, but hey, I was a kid.
Back to faith journaling… I decided to carve out time each day (at least once a day) to sit with my new journal, purple pen, Bible, scripture prayer cards (from Praying God’s Word), and any other resources I feel God is calling me to use (I Deserve a Donut is usually there too). I use this time to write God’s truth in my journal with the faith that He will embed these truths into my mind. Some days I write huge passages of scripture. Some days I add quotes from other sources. Most days I include at least one scripture prayer. And, on about half the pages so far, I’ve included in bold letters, “I AM FREE” in the margins.
I try to do this first thing in the morning, but if I don’t get to it then, I pick a time and I disappear into my room where I won’t be disturbed. A lot of the Thin Within ladies use truth cards, and I think that’s great! I started making truth cards in a spiral of index cards, but felt that God was telling me personally to do something else. I already have all those scripture cards I mentioned yesterday, and I felt God saying those were enough. I knew I would do a journal anyway, so I decided that could be my version of truth cards for now.
I only write what is true or what I want to be true in this journal. My focus is on GOD’s Truth, and not my own version of it. If I want to think the thoughts of God, I have to know His voice. That’s why most of what I write in there comes from the Bible. I call it a faith journal because I’m stepping out in faith through the act of doing this practice before I even encounter temptation.
The section of my scripture prayers titled, “Idolatry”, is fantastic at keeping God in a proper perspective in my mind. Most of them talk about who God is, how great He is, and all that He has done. It’s a bit difficult for an earthly idol to hold a candle to those descriptions. So, generally, that’s where I start my “mind renewal” time. I ask God to keep my mind from wandering, but if it does, I want Him to bring my focus back to Him.
I know that at any point in the day, I can carve out a bit of time to renew my mind some more. It is not uncommon for me to do this multiple times a day even, especially if I come across a truth I want added to my journal. I might jot a note on a sticky and put it with my journal for the next day, or I might sit down right then and add it. Usually though, having my “renewal stops” throughout the day works to keep my mind in the right place after journaling in the morning.
We’ll talk about “renewal stops” tomorrow, but I hope this gives you an idea of what Faith Journaling looks like for me. Eventually I hope to add art to my entries. I love the Bible Art journals I’ve seen from Cathy Maher (Thin Within) and others.