One Reason All of Us Need to be Journaling . . . or Recording . . . or Doing Something

This week’s Time magazine has a sidebar entitled, “Start Journaling Now, for Later.” The headline caught my attention because I’m not generally a journaler. Here’s the point of the short article: we know much of history because of the journals of folks who lived before us, and we have an opportunity to tell some of the COVID-19 history in the future by recording our stories today. This final paragraph led me to write this blog post:

“Now we are part of our own historical moment in time. Our chance to control some of that narrative is in our hands. If we don’t want to be forgotten later, we must start writing down our own experiences now.”[1]

Here’s why those words grabbed me. Many of us attend small group and worship services (even via Zoom or some other digital means right now) with many brothers and sisters in Christ whose Christian stories we don’t know. We’ve never asked, and too few of us are inclined to initiate conversations about God’s grace in our lives.

Further, many of us have children and grandchildren who also don’t know our testimony. They don’t know how God drew us to Himself. They know nothing about our baptism. They’re not aware of any struggles we’ve faced in striving to follow God. They’ve never heard about battles we lost or prayers God miraculously answered. They’ll make some of the same mistakes we made—and one of the reasons for their failure will be our own failure to have shared the lessons we’ve learned.

In these final days of sheltering in place in some states, I encourage you to write your Christian story for the next generations of your family to have. Journal about God’s grace in your life. If you’re comfortable doing so, video-record your story so your family will hear not only your testimony, but also your voice. Give them a memory of seeing the joy on your face as you tell the story.

How you record your history is up to you, but don’t delay doing it. If you want your family and friends to remember it later, start writing down your experiences now.


[1] Katherine Sharp, “Start Journaling Now, for Later,” Time (May 11, 2020): 23.

1 Comment

  • Pastor Al. says:

    As someone who has been keeping a journal for almost thirty years I read your post with some interest (and also the article in Time that you referenced). However, from my personal experience—and from having taught Bible college students how to journal—I would maintain that keeping a journal and writing a testimony or written legacy are two very different things altogether.

    I suggest that a journal is best written without any self-awareness or indeed other-awareness—I write because I write for me, not for you or anyone else. If I am thinking about what I want you to know, or what you might like to know, it interrupts and constrains the flow of thought and feeling through my pen and onto the page.

    A journal, may, however, be used as the basis for a written legacy or testimony. For example, I might reflect on a past experience and re-read my journal from that period of time, and then write the testimony based on my former journal entries.

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