My journey with creative journaling came out of a place of frustration with myself and my quiet times. I had asked so many people about what a quiet time looked like, but I never felt I could get it quite right… I actually thought that maybe there was just something flawed in me that I couldn’t just sit, pray, and read my Bible like all the ‘good Christians’.
Then, one day, I just started to do something different. Instead of writing about how I felt, I got some magazine pictures and started to cut them up and create my own collage of sorts. Through my creative endeavours, what emerged was a dialogue from my heart to God that appeared in graphic form. The picture that formed in front of me was more than I was able to express with words alone. It was like I tapped into something beyond the range of my vocabulary…and it just made sense.
There is no wrong way – discover what works for you
I know that there are lots of different ideas on what constitutes a creative journal and there are many wonderful examples that will teach you new skills and ways of expressing yourself. My biggest suggestion – find what works for you! The volume of how-to videos on the internet is mind-boggling and honestly, you could get so lost and side-tracked by all of the ‘what to do’ that you never actually ‘get to do’! So, just start. When you can’t find the words to express your heart to God…find something that will say it for you…or will help you unlock that internal dialogue. Remember that you are known by God, so just go for it! Psalm 139:1 ‘You have searched me, Lord, and you know me.’
I have journals that are full of found objects – leaves that have reminded me of one of God’s truths or a feather that has brought to life the truth of Luke 12:24 – Consider the ravens: They do not sow or reap, they have no storeroom or barn; yet God feeds them. And how much more valuable are you than birds! I even remember a friend stuck a broken shoe in her journal as it was symbolic to her of her journey at the time. Honestly, there are no limits! (Though, I must admit…a shoe in your journal can make some interesting filing challenges 🙂
Open a blank page and get started
So here we go…take time…quieten your heart…what do you want to say to the Father? Now take time and find whatever you have in your room, in your house, in your neighbourhood that will help you articulate that. If you can’t draw, don’t let that limit you…find a picture you like the look of. If you aren’t into fancy lettering, don’t sweat it, just use your own handwriting…you are not creating an prize winning masterpiece – you are communing with your Creator…to Him it will be a masterpiece if it comes straight from your heart.
A blank page can be daunting, but remember, your heart isn’t blank…so let it speak!
Before becoming a qualified teacher and before joining Youth With A Mission (YWAM), I always had a heart for the individual. It’s who I am! When I became part of YWAM 25 years ago, I never knew that I would be taking my teaching skills to YWAM classrooms in Australia and overseas teaching on the subject of Identity. Fundamentally, my belief is that in order to figure out who we are, we have to go back to the original designer – God himself! Through that incredible journey of discovery, we not only find more about who God is, but we get to discover more about who we are as well.