It's hard to express how my Disciple of Christ study journal has changed my life, but it’s not an exaggeration to say that because of it, my life has completely changed. I’ve changed careers, moved my family across the country and have started to feel purpose and connection with heaven that I’ve never felt before. I’ve navigated heart-wrenching challenges with peace and direction. The pattern of study that’s incorporated into the study journal has opened the doors of heaven in a way that nothing else has for me.
It’s not that I wasn’t studying before. I just wasn’t studying this way. I was reading, and I was highlighting. I just don’t think I was using the time as powerfully as I could. This pattern of study has changed that. Now, don’t get the wrong idea. I’m not perfect at this, any more than I’m perfect at not eating chocolate for breakfast. But I do really try not to miss days because it makes my days better… my life better.
Most mornings I get up early for my study… ideally before my kids, although I have a little 5-year-old who sometimes crashes my study party. The time I spend really depends on the day. Some mornings it’s 10 minutes. Sometimes it’s longer. I think it’s important to note that this pattern is flexible. It could even be something to come back to several times during the course of the day. The best way will be the way that works for you! Here are the parts of the daily study I love so much:
Start with Gratitude
This doesn’t take long, but I love starting with a few minutes spent on thinking about what I’m thankful for and then writing it down. It doesn’t have to be anything big. Sometimes it’s the peonies blooming in my yard. Sometimes it’s a friend. Sometimes it’s direction or an answer to a prayer. No matter what it is, it’s a great reminder to me at the start of my study that the Lord is mindful of me and is constantly raining blessings down. It puts my heart in the right place to meet Him.
How many times are we told in the scriptures “Ask and ye shall receive…” or some version of that? So many. I didn’t really take this challenge/promise to heart for a long time. Now, as part of my daily study with the Disciple of Christ study journal, I write down my questions. Whatever I’m struggling with… a child, a relationship, a business challenge, a decision. Putting my questions down on paper helps me articulate what I am seeking help with and has helped me really focus on inspiration related to whatever my questions are.
Learn - from whatever I’m studying that day
I like flexibility… this journal works with any scripture or address I may feel inspired to read. I like to take notes while I read, but I know not everyone does. This section of the journal has enough space for the more prolific writers, but isn’t meant to be overwhelming to those who don’t write as much. As I record the things I learn, I find I remember them more clearly - which is a huge blessing since sometimes I have a hard time remembering what I did yesterday! They become part of my record of faith and they are there for me to go back to. Here I make connections between what I’m learning and my questions or the inspiration I’m seeking.
I love this quote from Elder Dallin H. Oaks, a leader of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He said, “Revelation comes when the children of God are on the move.” Usually I’m inspired to do something as I study each day. It’s usually not a huge thing, but is something that helps me move forward or share light with someone else. One morning, a specific meditation came to mind. Another morning I was inspired to text a friend. Sometimes it’s a more specific action that goes along with a question I’ve asked.
A weekly review can be really helpful. As I review my study pages, I notice connections and themes the Lord is trying to teach me and it’s a good reminder to act on any promptings that I haven’t acted on yet!
This pattern has given me an amazing framework for my morning study. It has taught me to focus on gratitude, to ask questions and to trust that the Lord will teach me and inspire me to act. I think it’s helping me do the things I want to do and that the Lord wants me to do.
I hope it blesses you as well!