“If the . . . verb is strong, you almost never need an adjective.” —J. Anthony Lukas
“In Him we live and move and have our being. . . .” —Acts 17:28
Last time we completed the sentence, “A journal is . . .” I gave you a number of metaphors that could represent the importance of a journal in your life. All of them were nouns. What if you consider “journal” to be a verb? Ah, that casts a whole new light upon our wonderful world of journaling! Interestingly, I don’t find the word journal listed as a verb in the dictionary. But what do they know?! We are the ones who journal in our journals, and as a result, our lives are being transformed.
However, I remember the first time I saw the word journal used as a verb. “Ridiculous!” I spouted. Being a punctilious perfectionist, it bothered me that some avant-guarde grammarian had contorted a noun into a verb with no apparent apology. I reasoned that everybody knows that a journal is a blank book, like a diary, in which one records facts about one’s life, much like a ship’s captain details navigational information in a logbook. But that was before I began writing in a journal. It’s a lot more exciting than that!
Granted, I still call these blank books journals, but their very “blankness,” for some people, makes them intimidating, and they don’t ever open them. “What on earth would I write in there?!” they ponder. To the opposite extreme, who wants to use his journal for making a log, a bullet-point skeleton of life’s face-value facts. BO-RING!
But if journal is also a verb, it assumes an air of vim, vigor, and vivacity as one moves purposely through life, while simultaneously reacting to it. When you journal in your journal, you take life by the horns and grab all its gusto. You live life to the fullest and record all its nerve-tingling nuances: I cried. I laughed. I hated. I loved. I listened. I advised. I whispered. I shouted. I moved forward. I slid backward. I spun in circles. I spiraled upward. I crescendoed. I crashed. I sinned. I succeeded.
When you journal (verb) in your journal (noun), you emote and equivocate, elaborate and evaluate. You debate and deliberate, dedicate and denunciate. You actively live, as opposed to letting life live you. And when you journal before the Lord, you live actively and move purposely in His presence. You live and move and have your being in Him. When you journal as unto the Lord, you invite His power and presence into your life. When the holy, mighty present-tense “Verb” I AM takes up residence in your heart, your life changes, because God changes you from the inside-out. When you habitually live according to His Word, obeying His active, present-tense voice, your journals will be filled with forcible (powerful) writing. The Lord is, and the Lord is strong. The Lord Himself will live powerfully through you. And when He is strong in your life, you won’t need anything else.
Your Invitation . . . Write Acts 17:28 in your journal in the first person, like this: “In Him I live and move and have my being. . . .” Underline the verbs: live, move, and have. Prayerfully answer these questions in writing. What does it mean to you to live in the Lord? Are there any areas where you are dead to Him, where you are not heeding His commands? —not growing? —not changing? In what direction is God asking you to move at this time in your life? Are you continuously moving forward in Him and with Him? What does it mean that you have your being in the Lord? He’s your Creator, and He created you for a purpose. What is it?
Go back though previous journal entries, and explore some of the verbs that you have used. Are they self-pitying verbs of complaint, or God-glorifying ones of gratitude? Are they passive-voice verbs where you have assumed the pose of a victim, or have you taken an active stand in following the Lord? How many times have you used the verb obeyed? Ok, go get your journal and pen, and live, and move, and be your all in Him and for Him!
© Lynn D. Morrissey. Permission to reprint any or all of this material is required