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What is Biblical Journaling?

I wrote and published Biblical Journaling for Anxiety during a time when I was suffering from severe migraines.  I spent much of my days in a dark bedroom, in bed, unable to do anything except lie there.  Some days, I would make it to the living room, where I would spend most of the day on the couch, lights out, appreciating the silence in the house with my husband and boys off at work and school. 

During these long, quiet days, I began talking to God about what I was supposed to do now that I wasn’t teaching. Helping others had been a big part of my profession as an educator, and I knew my areas of giftedness were in my communication abilities. My writing and speaking abilities have often been praised by others.  (Have you noticed it usually takes other people pointing out what we’re good at for us to see and realize it?) After several weeks, or more likely, months, I began to learn how to create journals.  Journaling has always been a passion of mine.  Throughout my life, I have found the practice therapeutic in many ways.

God nudged me that I was on the right track, but I needed to do something more to take it further.  I began taking notice of all the people around me, and I could clearly see that anxiety was a problem plaguing people of all ages and all walks of life. I then knew I was to create a journal centered around anxiety.

I was no stranger to anxiety myself; I had dealt with it on and off my whole life. I knew what had always helped me was to concentrate not on what I was fearful of but to focus my mind on God…on His promises to me, on His strength, and His Word. So, I set out to create a guided journal that would help others to do the same thing.

I selected 30 different Bible verses that I believed spoke truth to the emotions of fear, worry, and overwhelm.  Then, I began drawing on my knowledge as an educator when deciding what the reader would do with each verse. As a teacher, I knew that when I wanted my students to really grasp a concept, we had to do multiple tasks, activities, and exercises to drill the concept deep into their understanding. In education, you learn about passive learning and active learning.  For the brain to learn and retain more, it needs to not simply absorb but to actively participate in putting into practice what is being taught. 

This is why I chose not to just write a book about anxiety.  Believe me, I could!  But, I wanted to create a tool that would help others rise above the crushing weight of worry.

The different steps I incorporated are:

1.      Read & Breathe It – Read the scripture and use that scripture in a breath prayer.

2.     Write & Meditate On It – Write the scripture out and then meditate on its words and phrases.

3.     Pray It/Journal It – Apply the scripture to your life.  Talk to God about it.  Write out your thoughts/feelings/emotions.

4.     Create It/Doodle It – If you’re an artsy/craftsy type of person, you will ‘Create’ an image from the scripture.  If you are far from being artsy, you will ‘Doodle’ it.  Anyone can doodle! 

(In the forward of my Biblcal Journaling guided journals, I have written about the benefits of each exercise and how each one helps alleviate anxiety.) 

Imagine my surprise when, almost a year later, I came across the term Lectio Devina. I learned that this was a Latin term dating back to the 6th Century. In short, it is a four-step process (read, meditate, pray, and contemplate) intended to promote communion with God and increase one's knowledge of God’s Word. 

When I first created the Biblical Journaling method, I had NO idea that I was mirroring a monastic practice that had been in place for a couple of thousand years!  It was a revelation, showing me that God's wisdom transcends time and that His methods of healing and communion have been with us for millennia!

My hope and prayer is that through these guided journals, others may find peace and healing and come to know the timeless truth that God's Word is a balm for the anxious soul.

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