Resource of the Month–May

Journaling As A Spiritual Practice: Encountering God Through Attentive Writing by Helen Cepero

I have written in a journal for nearly as long as I can remember. I have gone through several iterations of what that writing has meant to me. At times, I’m simply ranting and, at others, I’m processing important discoveries. I have also used journaling as a spiritual discipline and, like all disciplines, I benefit from fresh direction from time to time. Cepero’s book does just this. She writes to serious believers and offers dozens of ideas about how to use journaling as a tool for spiritual growth.

Cepero brings anecdotes and personal examples to her book and she writes them well, so the book is very accessible. Her ideas for using a journal range from active imagination exercises, to drawing pictures, and even her version of a bucket list. She offers exercises that build self-compassion and exercises that encourage self-examination. Some of her practices utilize Christian imagery in a clear and accessible way.

One of the gems of the book I found in the last chapter. She offers a list of questions to help the reader take a deeper step into contemplation. Here are the questions that Cepero fills out in greater detail in the book.

  • Is this a distraction or the heart of the matter?
  • Is this a critic, or a mentor?
  • Is this being rooted or being stuck?
  • Is the foolish, or is this faith’s risk?
  • Is this a block to my growth or a challenge to grow further?
  • Is this a detour or the way home? 

Good questions, are they not?

I think this book is well worth the investment for anyone who either already does journal or who wants to begin journaling. I have encouraged journaling practices for counseling clients and spiritual directees because I so firmly believe in the power of intentional reflection. God delights as we press to know ourselves more honestly. And, after all, wasn’t Jesus himself journaling when he wrote in the ground that time?

We all need a jump start in our spiritual practices every once in a while and Cepero gives us a great gift in putting together so many ideas for those of us who are eager to learn.

CLICK HERE to purchase a copy from IVP.

To read my blog about the great questions from this book, click here.

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