Do you ever feel like you're not getting enough out of your scripture study? A couple of months ago, I felt like I wasn't getting anything. Don't get me wrong-- I read every day, but the next morning, I could hardly remember what I had read, let alone how I needed to apply it to my life.
We hear in General Conference all the time that we should keep a journal. Honestly, that counsel always overwhelms me. It's hard to find time to write and sometimes even harder to know what to say. [I mean, are my future grandchildren seriously going to want to read about what I ate or how many rooms I cleaned yesterday? :D]
Nevertheless, for the last couple of months, I've been incorporating a scripture journal into my nightly routine. It take less than five minutes, but it's made a tremendous difference in my life. I find that when I journal, I have more meaningful study because I'm constantly looking for how the scriptures apply to me. I am also able to quickly review what I have learned.
Here's what a typical entry looks like for me. [Let's just way my handwriting isn't the best, so I typed my entry instead of scanning my journal page so you'll be able to read it. You're welcome.]
As you can see, my journal is super brief. Maybe someday I'll write more, but for now I feel this is sufficient. I just write the scripture reference that stood out to me that day and a sentence or two about what it meant to me. Then I write about tender mercies. [I know...it sounds weird. Let me explain.]
It was inspired by the following quote in a talk by Pres. Henry B. Eyring called O Remember, Remember.
"I wrote down a few lines every day for years. I never missed a day no matter how tired I was or how early I would have to start the next day. Before I would write, I would ponder this question: “Have I seen the hand of God reaching out to touch us or our children or our family today?”
"As I kept at it, something began to happen. As I would cast my mind over the day, I would see evidence of what God had done for one of us that I had not recognized in the busy moments of the day. As that happened, and it happened often, I realized that trying to remember had allowed God to show me what He had done.
More than gratitude began to grow in my heart. Testimony grew. I became ever more certain that our Heavenly Father hears and answers prayers. I felt more gratitude for the softening and refining that come because of the Atonement of the Savior Jesus Christ. And I grew more confident that the Holy Ghost can bring all things to our remembrance—even things we did not notice or pay attention to when they happened."
Each night, I try to think of specific ways I've seen God's hand in my life that day. I write this list in my scripture journal. Just like Pres. Eyring promised, I am able to recognize Heavenly Father's influence in my day to day activities like never before. I feel so much happier and my faith has increased. I've noticed I'm a lot happier and have a much more positive attitude. For me, that's worth anything-- Honestly, I can't believe all it's taken is five extra minutes a day.
Journals are super personal. I don't think there's a set right or wrong way to do them. This is just a way that is working for me. I encourage you to find what works for you--whatever that may be. What I can promise you is this-- taking the time to write a little each day has really blessed my life. I know it can bless yours, too.