I probably like a good journal and pen a bit too much. I get excited about stationery and fine paper. And when my friends want to walk around a massive mall and take in the sights, my first stop is the store with the really expensive writing utensils. Call me crazy, but there’s something about the feel of a good pen on fine paper that stirs my affections for the Lord.
When I write, I can think through things more coherently. I can put my thoughts and feelings down and then read through them, considering them with a bit more perspective than before. Writing helps me talk to God, giving me an outlet through which I can pour out my heart before my Father. Writing, in some ways, is more than just a hobby: writing is part of what makes me me.
Because of this, I write often. Blog, book review, margin note, research paper, journal entry, sermon point, reminder on the back of my hand – the expressions are many. As I put my thoughts down on paper (or on whatever I can find nearby), I sometimes wonder if my writing will ever make an impact. I read the journals of great men of faith, wondering if I’ll ever join their ranks. I peruse the shelves of bookstores, enthralled by the volume of work some authors have contributed, and imagine what I might contribute some day. I confess, I want to be remembered for some profound saying, some groundbreaking study, some exceptional book. I want to be asked to write papers for conferences, to be heralded as an expert in the field of theology. Yet the more I consider these desires, the more I see the danger. Simply put, my name is not great, and that’s okay. My purpose here isn’t to make a name for myself. I’ve written about this very thing before. But I recently noticed a second focus.
I was able to get a new journal just before the start of the year. I’d been eyeing it for a while, and, with the help of some gift cards, decided to make the purchase. I’m really excited about it, but I’m more excited about the purpose for it: I want to use this journal to chart my walk with the Lord for the year, to “know him and to make him known” as I’ve heard it said so well. I want to record prayer requests along with God’s answers to those prayers, and I want to take notes as I study through God’s Word each day. Through every entry, I want to know God better. I want to follow Paul in desiring simply to know Christ (Philippians 3:10-11). I want to walk as Jesus walked (1 John 2:6), tracing my journey each day in the pages of this book. I want to continue to write and to meditate and to “work out [my] own salvation with fear and trembling” (Philippians 2:12). I don’t know what this year will bring, but I’m excited to begin the journey, writing along the way for my good and for his glory. And I pray for the right perspective each day to write for the purpose of knowing God, not to make myself known. And, when I do write for others to read, I want to write not so that the world may know me better but so that the world may know him better. May Jesus be glorified above all other names. Amen and amen.