This post was originally published on October 2, 2014.
Are all journals created equal? Hell, no. There’s at least one out there specifically designed for sober peeps (full disclosure: there are others but this is our favorite).
Don’t Judge a Book by Its Cover
Sure the title’s a bit of a turn off and yes the seemingly homemade, laminated, pixilated, inkjet-printed cover of My Journey with God could definitely make you turn away. But if you open the spiral bound book, you will see that it’s not just the standard free-form journal with blank pages for you to fill with how much you hate your boss—My Journey with God invites you to think about what you want in life and jot down any short-term goals you may have.
How It Works
Goals are broken down into four parts: “Things I want to see,” “Things I want to do,” “Things I want to learn” and “Things I want to have” (the last one makes me salivate for my Amazon Wish List). Ever since I did Tony Robbins’ Personal Power Goal Setting Workshop, I’ve been a big fan of compartmentalizing things I want to do and achieve and getting them down on paper. This helps with visualization, focus and accountability. It works a lot like a personal To Do List—reminding you of who you are and what you want. Though I will say, while My Journey with God’s heart is in the right place, the categories were somewhat confusing and too similar for me. For instance, under the section “Things I want to see,” I listed actions I wanted to see in myself, traits I wanted to see shifted, even weight I wanted to see lost. As someone who isn’t in the least bit adventurous, it never occurred to me to that what this section was really asking was what I wanted to visually see—like the San Diego Zoo, my brother’s new baby, the Taj Mahal. So my suggestion is to look and think about all four categories before putting anything down here.
Much like the lonely cyclist on the cover making his or her (gender is unclear due to the poor quality of the photo) way down the long, open and mountainous road, people who decide to begin their journey with God will benefit from a path to adhere to. And that is why MJWG guides its owner with six sections to be filled out daily: “Thought for the day,” “I’m praying for,” “Answered prayers,” “I’m learning more about,” “I’m thankful for” and “Special moments.” These specific topics prompt users to think about the positive aspects of their lives and to organize them in a way that can be easily reflected on.
It Forces You to Focus on the Positive
Most people who are attracted to journals—especially ones with God in the name—are likely in need of a place to vent and untangle their messy emotions. When I look back on my journals, they are mostly filled with anger, fear and resentment and rarely with gratitude (although my sponsor did have me start doing a gratitude list after my three pages of bitching and it really helped). These kind of journals are necessary and very important for personal growth and recovery of any kind, not only to make the circus in your head shut down by getting it down on paper but also to start seeing your own negative patterns. But MJWG is not the journal for this kind of confessional writing—it’s more of a supplemental tool to keep it simple and positive and to counteract the negativity you may be spewing out in your daily pages.
MJWG is also a great stand-alone journal if you have taken a break from long-form stream of consciousness. It’s like a quick check-in on how you are progressing and how God is working in your life. In fact, if you aren’t a Higher Power person but would like to be, MJWG could be a great tool to start seeing how you are being helped along your journey towards a better and more peaceful you.
Cheap production quality aside, MJWG is a lovely gift for yourself or a friend. While I don’t think the category topics quite make the mark—as I would have liked to see “Kind things I did for myself,” “Kind things I did for others,” “What I would like to do better tomorrow” as sections—I still think that as an overall product, it’s a great guide to looking at the positive in life and at your own progress as well as to see the way the universe may well be aligning to make your dreams come true.