Last week as I sat in a class at church a girl raised her hand. We had been discussing the concept of facing opposition or difficult things in our lives. Specifically, we talked about how these trials are actually a necessary part of our Heavenly Father’s plan. The girl said that she had recently been going through a really hard time in her life. She said she occasionally wonders when God will intervene and make all of these difficulties make sense but the thing that keeps her going is remembering all the times He has helped her previously and trusting that when the time is right He will help her again.
I have thought a lot about that since our class and about how it is that we are able to remember those times when the Lord has helped us previously. It is by recording those experiences in a journal.
President Spencer W. Kimball, the twelfth president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, spoke frequently about the importance of keeping a journal. He said, “Get a notebook...a journal that will last through all time, and maybe the angels may quote from it for eternity.”
President Kimball didn’t just preach the importance of journal-writing, he was an incredible journaler himself. During his life he kept his journal in black binders. When he was called to be president of the church he had already filled thirty-three of these binders.
A few weeks ago I, myself, was going through kind of a rough time when someone reminded me that the same principles I taught people to live on my mission about how to be happy still applied. Being the hard-headed human that I am I thought ‘I’m still doing those things.’ The next week I got a letter from my sister. In it she said she had been reading in the scriptures and had picked out the keys to being happy from a chapter she read. As I read the different things she had pulled from the chapter I thought ‘I’m doing all of those things, why am I not happy?’ but then I read the last key: keep a journal.
On my mission I had written in my journal every single day but I realized when I read her email that I had no written in my journal since July. I have since resumed writing in my journal. I still don’t write every day like I did on my mission but I have made an effort to record the important things that are happening in my life as well as the feelings of my heart. For the first time in a while I have felt really truly happy.
Why is it that journaling makes us happier people and why is it so important that President Kimball once called it a commandment?
“Those who keep a book of remembrance are more likely to keep the Lord in remembrance in their daily lives,” President Kimball said. “Journals are a way of counting our blessings and of leaving an inventory of these blessings for our posterity.”
I’m so grateful for a mother who instilled in me that importance of journal writing. When I was young, my mom not only kept a journal for herself but she also kept a journal for us until we were old enough to be able to keep one ourselves. This taught me by example how important keeping a journal is.
President Kimball gives a few suggestions in journal writing that I think are a useful reminder for anyone:
Sources: 1. The Angels May Quote From It, https://www.lds.org/new-era/2003/02/the-angels-may-quote-from-it?lang=eng
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