Maybe it’s because I’ve launched a journal-based company, but I’ve heard, in some form or fashion, the following sentiment over and over again lately: The two consistent things found in those that God is actively transforming to His Son’s image and using mightily is (1) those people spend rich time in God’s Word and prayer; and (2) they journal

Now, there’s obviously more traits involved in being a godly man or woman, but these seem to be foundational ones.

And as I’ve been saying on repeat, the goal of trait #2 (journal) is really to just make much of trait #1 (time spent in God’s Word). So as I expound upon trait #2, here’s why I will push you, without fail, to start handwriting in a physical journal.

Reason #1: Handwriting Helps You Learn

If you are a journaler and use, even swear by, digital apps such as Day One or Evernote, then keep going. But, the more research I do, the more articles I find like this. Seriously, someday I must post all the links of articles that I have found about handwriting and physical journaling. 

Things dwell deeper, longer, more powerfully when they’re written down.

I haven’t just memorized God’s Word better. I can remember when/how/why that verse is now powerful in my life. I can remember the context of the surrounding verses better. Everything about my Bible reading has changed with handwritten journaling.

Reason #2: Sweat Equity is The Most Valuable Equity

You value what you pay for. You remember what you write. There’s an inherent link between the last three maxims. 

In this analogy, typing is cheap and I can capture as much as I want as quickly as I want. Little sweat, little ventured, grab it all … surely I’ll come back to look at it.

Yet, when I sit down with a journal to take sermon notes, I’ve got to be smart what I start writing down. I want to focus on the stuff that sinks in. I’ve got to be quick and concise. By the end of a good sermon, I’m ready to put my pen down. I’m tired. My hand hurts. My head is a bit tired from converting spoken word to written word. 

But let me tell you, I value that page of notes. I’m more likely to go over it again. I’m more likely to remember it naturally too.

Reason #3: Scarce Resources are the Most Valued Resources

Thanks to iTunes, Spotify, Pandora, Sonos, I can listen to literally a million songs. I have access to whatever I want whenever I want wherever I want. And yet, I have no real attachment to any of them.

As for eBooks, I can highlight large passages and lots of them too, promise that I’ll review them, be thankful that they’re with me at all times, and yet I’ve never read my eBook highlights. I’ve got too many things vying for my attention and so I value none of them – even some of the things I’ve paid for and said are valuable to me.

What I’m Finding to Be True for Me

The books I’ve come to value the most are the ones I’ve marked up on physical paper. The ones that I can’t carry with me at all times. 

The notes I long to read the most are the ones that aren’t highlighted in one huge finger slide anymore. Not because in theory, they’re bad notes. It’s just there’s so much of them, it’s overwhelming.

Songs, television shows, books – everything is at our fingers. Everything. And I’m more and more convinced we’ve stopped valuing what it’s worth. 

In our eyes, content has become cheap (even though it isn’t). Because it’s everywhere. Including our own personal content, photos, notes, highlights, etc.

Trust me, there will be few things as scarce (and precious) as your personal physical journals.

My Confession

Maybe it’s a sign I’m getting old. But I’ve started buying CDs again – because I’m focusing on certain albums, growing deep attachments to a few songs. I’m reading physical books again so I can take hand-written notes because I just don’t end up reviewing my digital highlights. 

And I’m writing in journals because I remember the content that is harder to produce. I remember the stuff that cost me something. 

For some reason, I just don’t think my kids are going to sit around my iPad someday, curious about all my digital highlighting (not that that’s my motive). Yet, I do see them someday reading my physical journals, lingering in my marked-up Bible, and using my hopefully well-worn commentary. 

Maybe I’m hopelessly desirous of days gone by. After all, I did type up this blog post.

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