I want to share something that has totally turned my life around–and it’s called “Two-Way Journaling.”
Now, for there to be something like two-way journaling, there has to be something like one-way journaling. One-way journaling is the way that most people journal; basically, they write to themselves in order to vent or gossip or talk about their feelings, and they stop when they’ve had enough (think: Mean Girls’ Burn Book).
Two-way journaling, on the other hand, is totally different. It’s a journal conversation that you have with God.
There are five steps to this process, all of which are simple and easy, only requiring a pinch of time, two scoops of attention, and five drops of imagination.
1. See yourself in your favorite place. Whether its the closet in your childhood bedroom, the Santa Monica beach or the patch of grass behind your grandma’s house, the place that you imagine should be somewhere that you feel utterly at home and safe. When I personally do this exercise, I see myself reclining in an orange hammock that overlooks a field filled with short grass and fireflies. I’m in a clearing surrounded by tall pine trees, and it’s night time, so all of the stars are out and the sky is indigo. The landscape is so peaceful that even describing it feels like taking a fresh breath of air.
2. Visualize Jesus there, with you. In my mind’s eye, He’s in His late twenties, wearing a teal v-neck shirt and dark wash, boot cut jeans. His hands are behind His head, so that His elbows are pointed to the sky, and He’s extremely tranquil. For some people who two-way journal, they never see anyone, but strongly feel the presence of God. For others, He’s standing in front of them, wearing flowing robes. Regardless of what your Jesus looks like, just remember that it’s not about who you visualize, but the relationship that you visualize.
3. Imagine what you guys are doing together. When I do this exercise, and Jesus and I are lying in the hammock, whispering and giggling; we’re in cahoots. A few of the girls in my Bible study have said that they’re playing games or laughing hysterically with God. Others have reported that their tone is more serious, or that they spend their time just staring into Jesus’ eyes. Whatever activity that you chose, make sure that it’s one that brings you joy.
4. Ask Him a question*. Now that you can clearly see who you’re talking to, where you are, and how you interact with Him (or Her) begin a conversation. Ask anything from “What is your favorite thing about me,” to “What was I created to do on this earth,” to “Why didn’t you answer my prayer last year,” to “How much do you love me?” The loving environment that you have spent time creating in steps 1, 2, and 3 have created the perfect place to meet God one-on-one.
*This is where the journaling portion of “two-way journaling” occurs. Be sure to write down your question, and immediately write down the response that you hear whispered in your ear. Do your best not to edit or question what you’ve written down until you are totally done with step 4 and onto step 5.
5. Check your work. This is the most important step in the process–to read what you wrote down after your done with step 4, and see if it lines up with scripture. Check the Word of God, which explains His character, and see if what’s on your paper lines up with who He is in the bible. If you’re unsure, ask someone that has a strong connection with God to read your journal, and ask what they think.
Oftentimes, I have been shocked by God’s response to my questions. Either he didn’t answer it the way I thought He would (the way I wanted Him to), or He pointed something out to me in my life that I was totally oblivious to!
Also, beware! Not only is this Being that you’re about to encounter in utter love with you, but He also has been waiting for this moment–one where you are fully open and listening to Him–for your entire life. He probably wont say what you think He will, or go in the direction that you want Him too–but that’s what makes this process so beautiful!