How to Use the Bullet Journal for Moments of Rest

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“My life today will be lived in time, but it will involve eternal issues. The needs of my body will shout out, but it is for the needs of my soul that I must care the most. My business will be with material things, but let me be aware of spiritual things behind them. Let me always keep in mind that the things that matter are not money or possessions, not houses or property, not bodily comforts or pleasures, but truth and honor and gentleness and helpfulness and a pure love of you.” John Bailie, A Diary of Private Prayer

A few weeks ago a new bullet journal slid quietly through the mail slot in my front door, in a manila envelope from Amazon of course. Using it has made me feel like a full-fledged grown up ever since. Let me explain.

Almost every single time I read from The Diary of Private Prayer it’s as if God is filling in the blank spaces of my wandering thoughts with purpose and meaning. I jot a note in my bullet journal on June 12 to remind me of the quote above.

During the early morning hours, when I am still wearing bed head and pajamas, sipping tea while reading the daily lectionary, a verse or two or three stand out like identifying the back of my son’s head in a crowd. That one is mine!

Documenting those verses in the bullet journal results in a weekly blog post I now call Morning Meditation.

While reading a new book, a well-written sentence inspires a new tangent of thought. I transcribe what I read on a page in that same journal entitled Quotes. This particular page happens to be opposite a collection of new-to-me words that I hope will expand my writing vocabulary.

And sometimes while engulfed in a story, an item I need at the grocery store or an email awaiting reply invades the plot line. I’m sure that never happens to you if you aren’t an ENFP. Alas, I write those pesky invaders down as well.

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The bullet journal provides a home for each one of those random but necessary thoughts in daily logs and unique collections holding page numbers for future reference. Organizing my disjointed but needful mental trails helps me to live into what John Bailie communicates through his beautiful prayer.

We live to the tic-tock of the hands on the clock, pulled toward the relentless needs of the body. And organizing thoughts in one place invites Kairos – God time, real time — to overcome distraction and allow what is most important to stand at the forefront.

Using the bullet journal helps my mind and soul rest well. It provides the scaffolding I need for life’s ever adapting rhythms without compromising the work God is doing on the inside.

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If you’ve never heard of the bullet journal (it’s new to me too!) here are some practical links to get started.

Bullet Journal – the analog system for the digital age. The video tutorial by the creator of the bullet journal is by far the best resource to get started.

How to Bullet Journal: The Absolute Ultimate Guide by The Lazy Genius – so thorough your head might explode with all the new information but don’t worry, you’ll adapt your own rhythms in no time.

Two Words: Bullet Journal by Carrie Willard

Thorough Guide to the Bullet Journal System by Tiny Ray of Sunshine

My Favorite Tips and Tricks after Three Months with the Bullet Journal by Modern Mrs. Darcy

My heart overflows with a pleasing theme; I address my verses to the king; my tongue is like the pen of a ready scribe. Psalm 45:1

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If you use the bullet journal give us your best tips in the comments.

Want to make rest a rhythm of life, not just something you fill in between the cracks of your busyness? Join the Sabbath Society. Follow Sabbath-keepers in community with the hashtag #SabbathSociety and #RhythmsOfRest on Twitter and Instagram and our Pinterest board, Surrendering to Sabbath.

 

Morning Meditation — What the Headlines Don’t Tell You

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For I said, “Steadfast love will be built up forever; in the heavens you will establish your faithfulness.”  You have said, “I have made a covenant with my chosen one; I have sworn to David my servant: ‘I will establish your offspring forever, and build your throne for all generations.’” Selah Psalm 89:2-4

Reading the morning headlines from my warm spot in bed, I pause like the Selah asks of me in the Psalms.

I cling to the truth and yet the actions of others and situations out of my control make me wonder, doubt, and worry about the future, not just for myself but for my children. Deep down in my gut, I knew when they were still being formed in the womb, our children would face a different kind of hardship and persecution.

Was I being selfish bringing life into a world wrestling through a pervasive darkness? Will they grasp onto the cord that draws them toward the Light? Or walk past it for empty promises of sparkly hope in a box, pay check, bottle, or jar?

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Your steadfast love, O Lord, extends to the heavens, your faithfulness to the clouds. Psalm 36:5

There isn’t a retractable measuring tape long enough to assign limits to His love and faithfulness. No time limitations on the covenant He makes with us from the time we utter a vulnerable yes to following Him. No circumstance can change His mind or erase the promises he makes with us.

There is no darkness so deep He cannot conquer it; no situation in the world or within the walls of your house He is not able to overcome.

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When your days are fulfilled and you lie down with your fathers, I will raise up your offspring after you, who shall come from your body, and I will establish his kingdom. He shall build a house for my name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever. 2 Samuel 7:12-17

A forever kingdom does not exist because we have everything figured out or because we make all the right choices. A forever kingdom exists because He sits on the throne. And that is good news for us, for our children and for those who will come after them.

As you wake up and read today’s headlines that ask you to make choices holding ramifications, not just for you, but future generations, remember God is sovereign, His ways are mysterious, and of the increase of his government and of peace there will be no end (Isaiah 9:7). May we not acquiesce but move forward in zeal. His forever kingdom is established in justice and upheld in righteousness through each of us, his children.

Let’s have eyes to read past today and into eternity. Our future is secure because our Father is the King of Kings. Know your work today is significant because it is also about the Father’s business. He holds everything together in His capable hands.

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He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. And the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end. Luke 1:32

Morning Meditation — Selah

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Before making grocery lists, showering, and comparing agendas with my husband, I sit in the early morning hours reading the daily lectionary. And usually God highlights a word, a phrase, a sentence like holding a firm grip on my chin and pulling it toward his divine magnifying glass. It’s as if he is saying, “This is my heart for you today, pay attention to the details.”

I used to ponder and peruse the text then pass over it and carry on. Sometimes I share what God is giving me with my followers on Instagram. But it was happening so often, I started meditating with focus and writing down what I was learning in a journal. Once a week, I plan to share a meditation with you here on the blog.

Has God forgotten to be gracious? Has he in anger shut up his compassion?” Selah Psalm 77:9

Selah. It’s a curious word mentioned 74 times in the Bible yet scholars aren’t unified about the definition.  Most agree that Selah means “pause and think about that.”

I am learning to train myself to pause and not only hear, but listen.

“Listening is the practice of focused attention. Hearing is an act of the senses, but listening is an act of the will. In listening you center not only your ears but also your mind, heart and posture on someone or something other than yourself. It is a chosen obedience, like soldiers falling into line the moment their commanding officer calls them to attention.” ~Adam McHugh, The Listening Life

Now whenever I come across Selah it’s like tripping over something on the ground. It slows me down and makes me look back. I want to understand what it really means before I travel onward.

I think of how often I am drowning in a sea of circumstance, crying out for rescue like the Psalmist and wondering if God has forgotten me in the silence. Rationally, I know that isn’t true and yet, doubt can convince me otherwise.

Maybe you are wondering if God has forgotten to be gracious to you too. You wonder if perhaps his face has turned toward something more important. You have translated silence from the heavenlies as anger suffocating His great compassion.

But this little verse in the Psalms is linked with this one from Isaiah.

“Can a woman forget her nursing child, that she should have no compassion on the son of her womb? Even these may forget, yet I will not forget you.” (v.15)

If you are a mother, you don’t have to have Selah in the text to pause and think about the answer.

It is impossible for God to forget you.

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As we begin a new week, may we inhale all the cares of life knowing that God’s love is the exhale. He knows what you think before you think it; he breathes life and purpose over every single messy detail you have dotted in your journal.

When anxiety threatens to swirl into your second cup of coffee, may you remember that God knows about what makes your hands shaky and  what causes your stomach to churn with anxiety. He will be hands on your shoulders, steering you in the right direction. He cares about what you care about.  It is impossible for Him to forget  about you.