Why and How to Start a Truth Journal

I have a special treat for you today! I asked my friend Barb if she would share her Truth Journaling story and she said yes!

Barb’s method of Truth Journaling is a practical way for us to actually implement Philippians 4:8. Barb has used this method to better her marriage, lose weight, and more. I’m pumped to have her here today because imagine what could happen if we all actually did this when we found ourselves being bombarded with negativity, discouragement, addiction, or lies?

This post is chock full of practical instruction and I know you’ll enjoy it …

 

My husband and I were doing a marriage Bible study with another couple years ago and we came up with an idea. We’d each pick one fault to work on— something that hurt our marriage—and we’d report back to the group each week to share how we were doing.

I chose to work on my critical spirit. My plan was to buy a journal and every time I had a negative thought about my husband, I’d go to my little journal, write it down, and replace it with a positive thought.

How true is your thinking? And are you sure you can rely on your internal dialogue? Here

It wasn’t long before I discovered that many of my negative thoughts were lies. I began replacing lies with truth and called it truth journaling. I’ve been truth journaling for 16 years now and God has used this habit to change my life in countless ways: to improve my marriage, to have consistent quiet times, become more productive, get excited about His Word, lose weight, and work through those negative emotions that come visiting each day.

Truth journaling is a practical application of 2 Corinthians 10:3-5 where we bring each thought captive to the truth. Here’s an example to show how it works.

Why and How to Start a Truth Journal

Let’s say you’re mad at your husband—but this isn’t just a one day thing. Truth be told you’ve been harboring resentment for a long time now.

Let’s say one of his faults is that he doesn’t communicate as much as you’d like him to. You’re on a date one night and he’s same old, same old. Not communicating. So you come home and truth journal.

The first step is to just spill out your thoughts.

Here’s what you might write:

Larry is such a jerk. He never talks to me. Why did I ever marry him?
He’ll never change, and I’ll be miserable for the rest of my life.

There. It’s out. The thoughts aren’t very pretty, but those are the thoughts that are roaming around inside of your head, so those are the thoughts we want to examine and bring captive to the truth.

We might look at that paragraph and nod our heads and think, Yes! This is all true! We’ll think that because there have been years of built-up resentment and we’re seeing Larry through those eyes. Let’s see how he looks through biblical eyes.

Our next step is to number each sentence, and bring it captive to the truth.

Here’s what that might look like:

1. Larry is such a jerk.

Truth: Larry is a beloved child of God who has a communication problem that spills out and hurts me. He has other qualities, though, that are wonderful. He’s hard-working, loyal, kind, and accepting. So often I focus on the negative when he has many positive qualities.

How true is your thinking? And are you sure you can rely on your internal dialogue? Here

2. He never talks to me.

Truth: He does talk to me, just not as much as I’d like!

3. Why did I ever marry him?

Truth: Because I loved him. And the truth is, there was no “marry a perfect man” option. Anyone I would have married would have had faults. Larry has a communication fault but I can think of faults that are a lot worse than that. I also have faults (a critical and condemning spirit for one) and God can use Larry’s faults to help me with my faults.

4. He’ll never change.

Truth: Only God knows this, and God won’t force him to change. But God can help me to be content with him in his as-is condition. If life is about having a soulmate relationship, this is a terrible situation. But if life is about loving God and others, this isn’t terrible because God can use Larry’s fault to help me become more loving and accepting of others. Yay God!!

5. And I’ll be miserable for the rest of my life. 

Truth: I will NOT be miserable for the rest of my life! God can help me to become content in all situations. Joy is a fruit of the Spirit and it comes from walking with God, not through creating the perfect life on earth. I am blessed, because God delights in me. He can meet all of my emotional needs, and I don’t need Larry to do that. God will use this situation for my good.

 

Do you see how much more hopeful I’d be feeling by the end of this truth journal entry? When we see life from a biblical perspective, it’s always good. When we see life from a cultural perspective, it’s often bad.

Truth journaling is a life changing habit that can draw you closer to God, help you mature, encourage conversations with God as you visit with Him about the truths you’re discovering, and last but not least, help you grow in the fruit of the Spirit. I hope you’ll give it a try!

If you’d like to know more about truth journaling and how I’ve used it to grow in Christ, I’ve written about it at my blog and also in the following books:

Freedom from Emotional Eating

Taste for Truth: A 30 Day Weight Loss Bible Study

The Renewing of the Mind Project

 

From AJ: Recently, I was able to join Barb on her podcast to share about the PROSPER Bible Study Method. Please feel free to click over and join us for this special opportunity! Click here for the podcast!

Additional Resources:
If you are looking for support in your marriage, be sure to check out our series on Christian sex and intimacy in marriage.

 

barb raveling

Barb Raveling is a writer, podcaster, and blogger at barbraveling.com. She and her husband homeschooled their four children and now enjoy the empty nester life: hiking, camping, backpacking, reading, working, and visiting with friends. 

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11 Comments

  1. I’m sitting here today my husband in one room me in another.. no “major”issues but small issues that little by little cause me to feel a wall of resentment being built higher and higher ! Thank you both so much for this .. I have great hope and a plan to break the wall down by holding my thoughts captive and not letting them breed resentment!

  2. “Truth journaling works!” ;)
    I just wanted to share a small-ish victory won with the help of truth journaling…
    We moved to the Middle East by God’s mighty hand, with the purpose of shining a light in the darkness. In this country, those who try to “make converts” get kicked out, but we have been able to make many friends and acquaintances who are happy to invite us in, sit with us in the park or even come to our house and chat. We use the opportunities that God grants us to steer conversations and hearts toward the Messiah. However, the only way we can be in this country is by having a full-time job. My husband works and I stay home with our 8 children and our live-in domestic helper. Spending time ministering above and beyond the weekly work schedule can be difficult.
    But we KNOW that God is our provider and is fully capable of providing ALL our needs and has called us to be His ambassadors here! So, recently, when we had planned to go to the park with fellow believers in the hopes of meeting a “person of peace” – someone willing to talk about spiritual things and eventually get their own network of friends and family involved… and I really wasn’t feeling it… but I knew it was the right thing to do… I decided to try truth journaling.
    I didn’t “want” to go. I wanted to watch TV and relax. The TRUTH is that even though I may not really have wanted to go that night… overall?… long term?… I did want to go! I want to see God move in this place – and I want to be a part of it! I remembered that I would have a chance to watch TV later that night or another night, and that was nothing compared to the opportunity to see lives changed. And anyway- watching TV isn’t actually all that relaxing. So I went to the park. And just GOING was a victory for me. I don’t require seeing a miracle to legitimize my obedience.
    Taking the time to recognize the enemies of my ambition and call them what they are – lies – enabled me to walk in joyful obedience. Praise God!

  3. Thank you for this post. I often feel this way and have not found a very good alternative to deal with my feelings and what I am thinking. I know half the time my husband, co-workers and family haven’t did a darn thing to me but I often project my anger towards others , knowing they don’t deserve it. I believe truth journaling will help me with patience, mood swings and negative attitude.

  4. This is brilliant- and I’m starting one! I journal a lot and I write my prayers out for things I’m believing God for, which has helped me throughout the years… but I love, love, love this technique of replacing lies with truth! It makes so much sense to do this, thank you for sharing!

  5. The past month I’ve been wanting to journal differently. I started Journaling to God but something just wasn’t clicking….my thoughts were still towards negative and venting to God. I even felt bad cuz it just seemed like I was complaining to Him. I can’t wait to start doing this! Thank you so much!

  6. This is exactly what I have needed to help me get control of my thoughts and emotions. I’m really just learning my way here recently in how to be a Godly wife and not a worldly wife and I have to say it’s actually encouraging to see that wives who are more knowledgeable about the Bible struggle with what I struggle with, too. Thank you for your honesty and thank you for your leadership. I’m so happy I stumbled across your blog, a blessing.

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