Anybody who truly knows me knows that I am completely obsessed with writing. I have a total of 5 journals, 2 of which I write in every day. 1st journal: My daily thought journal. 2nd journal: My scripture/spiritual thoughts/pondering journal. 3rd journal: Online journal (ldsjournal.org) This is my main journal about the details of my life. And 4th journal: My future husband journal (Yes, I write to my future hub). 5th journal: This blog. So I probably seem crazy but I totes promise I’m not. Writing is just an outlet to me. I’ve discovered that I never truly understand what I think about something, someone, or a situation until I write it out. It’s just therapeutic to me. I’m not one to talk to people much about my deep emotions and feelings to people’s faces, so that’s why I turn to my journals; and yes, all 5 of them.
The other day as I was writing in my Book of Mormon class, I thought to myself, “Dude, Shelby. Why do you record everything?” As I was pondering this question, my teacher started discussing the importance of writing things down. “Perfect.” I thought. As I listened, he said something that I thought was beautiful. He said, “Recording sacred experiences shows our Heavenly Father that what happened to us was important to us.” BOOM. Everything made sense in that moment. There have been countless spiritual experiences that I’ve recorded that I am so thankful I did indeed record. It’s so wonderful to go read back through my journals and see how far I’ve come in my life. Moments like the first time I felt the Spirit, or my experiences at girls camp, or special experiences at the temple, or (the list can really go on forever). There have been so many times where I’ll read back through entries and think, “I don’t even remember this happening!” But then that’s when my heart swells with gratitude! I am so thankful that I took the time to record those spiritual experiences so that me and my posterity can treasure them forever.
Writing also allows me to track my growth. I’ll read entries from back when I was a confused 15 year old and think, “Oh what was I thinking!” But it’s wonderful at the same time because I can see that I have indeed changed and have become a stronger, better person. Something that is the “cherry-on-top” of all my journaling is the pictures. They say so much. Again, if you truly know me, you know that I take pictures of basically everything. I’ve never taken a picture and regretted it! I only regret the pictures I did not take. They record memories so beautifully, especially when you’ve been blessed with such beautiful and wonderful experiences, friends, and people in your life as I have.
It’s also super important to me to record spiritual impressions. When you are listening to a beautiful song or to a beautiful talk or a beautiful person, just simply write what impressions come to your mind and heart. There are so many “the church is true” statements throughout my journals, I just can’t help it! When I hear the beautiful words of a hymn, I can’t help but think, actually, I can’t help but know, that I belong to the Savior’s true church that has been restored in these latter days. To me, that is so wondrously beautiful and should be something we never neglect to write down.
One last thing that I’ve found very special about writing is that it allows the Spirit to open up your mind and heart. For me, reading the scriptures is great! You know what they say, “One chapter a day keeps the devil away!” But I’ve found that sometimes reading isn’t enough. When I just simply have my journal lying out beside my scriptures open and ready to be written in, I find that that’s when the Spirit speaks to me the most. As I write down those impressions, thoughts, questions, feelings, and answers, I find my own spirit growing and swelling with happiness. We learn as we write things down. The spirit enlightens our understanding as we jot down those sacred thoughts and words of truth. I’ve found that I am able to receive answers and guidance more easily when I have my journal with me. I remember one time I was sitting with Brittany at the General Young Women’s meeting and my stake president came up to us. He grabbed me on the shoulder and said, “I promise that if you write down questions and pray about them before the meeting starts, Heavenly Father will answer them.” I had absolute faith that the words he spoke were true; and they were! Each question was answered beautifully and all in their unique way. Writing questions and sacred impressions down truly does invite the spirit of the Lord to be with us and open up our minds and hearts.
The gospel is true my friends. Never forget that. Never forget to record those sacred moments in experiences in your life that can help you later down the road. So many past entries have given me hope during times of struggle. Study the words of Christ and you will be blessed, of that I promise.