Years ago, I remember people telling me – “You should start journaling.” “Journaling is a spiritual exercise.” “Journaling helps you grow closer to God. ” Yet, I was always way too busy to write down a bunch of random ideas to myself in a notebook that would probably never be read by anyone. It didn’t make sense and I considered it a waste of time. Then, I tried it. I started by writing prayers and expressing my frustrations and concerns to God. For example, there was a time when I had a significant financial need and a lack of means to take care of it. I was overwhelmed. I began to write about my need and turned it into a prayer. In time, the pressing need felt less pressing because I was regularly connecting about it with God. Eventually, the need was resolved and I had a recorded history of how God got me through the need.

Over time, reflecting has become a regular habit in my connection with God. Journaling seemed to be a tangible way for me to reflect on what was happening in my life. More importantly, it also created a space for God to talk with me about the deeper meaning behind my patterns and choices. Now, 10 year later, I can look back at my reflections and see written out before me the truth of God’s constant interaction with my life and consistent love, in the best and worst of times.

To reflect is to give serious consideration to something. Journaling is one way in which reflection becomes a regular part of our life. Christmas time is a really good time to reflect on our life with God. Think about it, every year we reflect on the Christmas story, sing similar songs and meditate on the birth of the Savior. What if this year, we reflected on more than the Christmas story? What if the Christmas story became that constant event in our life where we look back over our year and reflect on what God is doing in our life? It might be helpful to begin reflecting with writing. Start small. You might consider grabbing a notebook and writing out 2 to 3 things that are currently weighing you down or stressing you out. Then write down 2 to 3 things that you’re excited about. Then ask God to show up for you in both of these situations. Perhaps you’ll begin to notice ways in which God is working in your life. Practicing reflection is one small way in which we can build up our confidence in God!

— Erik Dees, Campus Ministries Pastor