Spiritual Practice

My Journal, My Friend

Ciona Rouse

“Your friend, Ciona” was the closing of my first journal entry. I was nine years old. Many moons and more than twenty-five journals later, I’ve come to realize what a perfect closing it was.

Ciona's Journals IMG_4327


The bound pages of my journals have been special friends. I’ve prayed with them, laughed with them, and giggled about my first kiss with them. I’ve learned to dance with them, written poems with them, and asked “Why, God?” through them. I’ve talked to them about love and family and about which college to attend. On these pages, I’ve wrestled with scripture passages, untimely deaths, body image, and the meaning of my life.

As true friends, my journals have received my honesty without an ounce of judgment, even when I wasted pages judging myself. They are silent listeners that let me talk about my life without interruption.



I own journals of all shapes and sizes, and I write in them for many reasons. I have an activity journal that I take to dance class or yoga to record how I feel before and after class or to write about a new technique I learned. I have poetry writing journals, an art journal (even though I’m not much of an artist), and devotional journals. I started my first devotional journal at the age of seventeen, when I began reading devozine. I find that writing in a devotional journal is still a helpful way for me to think about my spiritual journey.



Ciona review journal IMG_4228ddWe are all people of the story. God is writing an amazing story in the world, and each of us has a role in it. Each of our stories is important to the whole. When I write about my life, telling my story, I work through how I fit in to God’s greater story. I engage in an act of honest storytelling, as the psalmist does in the Bible. Read Psalm 42 or Psalm 43. In these songs of lament, the psalmist tells a story with honest details, as if he were writing in a journal. God wants us to unveil our lives and ourselves before the Creator; a journal is a good place to do this.

When I look through my past journals, I see how God has been present throughout the story of my life. I see how God worked through what seemed to be small decisions, bringing me to where I am now. My journals—even the pages on which God’s name is never mentioned—are written testaments of God’s glory.



There is no set way to write in a journal. Reasons for writing in a journal vary. Sometimes I write in the evening and reflect on my day. Other times I write in the morning before my head becomes too full of the day’s events. I go through periods of time when I write every day. At other times, I neglect my journals for months. But when I write, I always feel more connected to my story and to God’s story.

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Find a journal you like. Make a commitment to write for two or three days this week.

Begin to record the story of your spiritual life. When you sit down to write, think about what scriptures speak to you. What are your thoughts about God? about your life?

Don’t worry about how to use a journal. Just start writing!


Be sure to check out Ciona’s article about devotional journaling.

Ciona Rouse writes and journals in Nashville, Tennessee.

—from devozine (March/April 2005). Copyright © 2005 by The Upper Room®. All rights reserved.

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