January 20, 2016

Give Me Jesus Journal {How’s that Quiet Time going?}

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Towards the end of last year, I bought the Give Me Jesus journal from Life Lived Beautifully to use in my daily Bible Study. Prior to this, it was just me and my Bible when I could work it into the day. I’d tried doing formal study workbooks, and I like them, but I have a hard time keeping up with those without some kind of group accountability.

I’ve followed lifelivedbeautifully on Instagram for a while (that’s the link to her profile), because of her pretty pictures and thoughtful posts. Gretchen runs a store with resources for Christian women who want to nurture their faith, and the one product that always grabbed my attention in her posts was the Give Me Jesus journal.

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It’s actually perfect for my method, which currently is a chapter-by-chapter reading of the Psalms. It’s basically just white space with a few prompts. Every day there’s a section to dissect and analyze what you have read, and a section to reflect on a personal application of what you have read, and a space to distill one or two highlighted takeaways for that section, and then a page to write out a daily prayer. I got the 40 day version, but there’s also a 90-day version that’s compiled a little differently. One thing I love about all the blank pages is they give me enough space to do the actual study part, and also to practice my fancy writing by highlighting a portion or two from each day. If you follow me on instagram, that’s what you’ve seen.

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At the beginning of the journal are some exercises to help you think intentionally about your focus for your study time. There’s also a place for you to assign a specific prayer focus for each day of the week, which I have loved. I prefer to pray through writing, at least as an individual, because it makes me more focused and deliberate.

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I’ve really enjoyed using this journal. I’m already on my second one. I especially love it for studying the Psalms. I’ve read through the Bible several times over the years, but I’ve never spent much time intentionally studying the Psalms. Poetry is not my forte, to put it mildly. I was required to take a couple of poetry courses in college, and it was misery. For me and my professors. Proverbs. Those are nice and simple, to the point. Poetic language can trip up my more literal mind.

This journal has been perfect. I can really break down each Psalm, and I can get online and peruse commentaries to help me understand the historical contexts and cross-references. (My go-to has been Charles Spurgeon’s work on this.) Usually, I break each one down into bullet points: what this psalm says about Yahweh, what this psalm says about man (or the psalmist), how does the psalm begin, how does it end. (See what I mean? Poetry. I need a flowchart.)

Being able to work chapter by chapter, line by line, word by word - on paper – has been revolutionary for me. It’s when I first noticed how much the Psalms speak of the joy and happiness and worship found in Yahweh God. Even the laments teach us how to grieve with praise. I’m just entering the second book of Psalms (did you know there were multiple books? Yeah, I forgot that, too) and every day I look forward to sitting down again and finding a treasure of truth to cling to that day.

I’ve talked about this before, but as much as bubble baths and coloring books and alone time are important to my introvert wellbeing, my psychological and emotional health are as dependent on my daily Bible Study as is my spiritual health. Not because it makes the day perfect, but – for lack of a better phrase – it gets my head on straight from the get-go.

Sometimes I can’t get to it until Baby G’s afternoon nap, and that’s fine. Weekends are pretty much non-exsistent because I have basically zero time to myself. That’s okay, too. My salvation and my standing in God’s eyes aren’t dependent on how often I keep up my daily Bible Study, or how long I sit here, or what tools I use.

This is about me knowing more about God and who He is. Everything else in life flows from that.

(Bee-tee-dubs: I don’t get anything out of sharing this with you. Like, I don’t get a referral credit for her store or anything. I bought these journals out of my own pocket and will continue to do so for as long as they serve the purpose. I just like sharing things I think you’d benefit from. I think you’d benefit from this.)

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