Journaling is an important part of my spiritual growth because of a simple axiom:
We do not grow from life’s experiences; we grow from reflection on life’s experiences.
There’s a subtle difference in that axiom, but it has large implications. You have probably heard it being said that experience is a good teacher. I disagree. I do not believe that experiences help us to grow much. It is reflection on experiences which help us grow.
It is when we cognitively think about what happened in life’s situations and process them that we grow. It is because reflection forms a context in which we can ask questions that no experience in itself can ask such as: What went wrong? What went right? How did I feel? Why did I respond the way, or others did? What did I learn from this experience? How did I grow? And on and on.
This simple distinction is the difference between people who learn from life’s experiences or people who repetitively fall prey to the same mistakes. And to bring it all back, this is why I journal.
It’s because I don’t want to make the same mistakes. I don’t want to miss out on divinely orchestrated experiences and forget what I learned from them. I write down and wrestle with life’s experiences as they go by. And the result of this? Wisdom.
So, I just want to encourage anyone who does not make journaling a regular part of their spiritual life to consider doing so. There are a few other reasons which compel me to do so, but I hope this one will make you think about it.