As a teenager I read a book called Disciplines of a Beautiful Woman by Anne Ortlund. What stuck with me from reading it was a chapter about having a notebook to stay organized. Since that time I’ve had dozens of different systems and notebooks to try to stay on top of things. I find even in this digital world, I still need a place to record my to-do list, insights from time in God’s Word, journal, and prayer requests.
So today I’m a little off the beaten path in my blog with just a quick post of what type of organization notebook has helped me with spiritual disciplines the most through trial and error. My calendar used to be a part of my notebook. However, as a family we’ve gone with an online calendar shared by my husband, son, and I so that we can all add events and appointments from computers and phones and see what is going on at all times.
The notebook that I love is called the MR made by Miquelrius. You can buy it at Target, Barnes and Nobles, and other places for around $6. Its spiral and what I love is that it has four colored sections. I used to write in a notebook all of what I’m detailing below from front to back and then was always searching for my to-do list or prayer requests. Now I can flip to the color I need and easily find what I’m looking for.
BLUE – The first section is blue and is where I record my to-do lists. “Make a doctor’s appointment for a child. Write a thank you note to a friend. Finish a writing project.” I also find this is where I put any information – someone’s phone number, email address, the name of something to look up online, names of books I want to read, or notes from a phone call with a doctor or the school.
RED – The second section is where I make notes of what God is teaching me as I study His Word. Today as I was reading in Genesis 18, I noted that the angel asked Abraham, “Is there anything too hard for the Lord?” (14) Hmmm… good question in my life. Sometimes I live like maybe He can’t handle my problems. Also I noticed that Sarah tried to deny that she laughed when she heard the prophecy that she would have a child. The Lord said, “No, you did laugh.” Seems funny to me that she tried to cover something up as if God doesn’t know what she did. Wonder how often I am not honest about my real motives… So it really is just my random thoughts and questions as I interact with a passage. Some days I write one phrase and others a whole page depending on how things strike me.
GREY – The third section is my prayer journal. Its where I write out my prayers, frustrations, and great joys to Jesus. I don’t write everyday or all my prayers, but sometimes I have more clarity when I’m writing. When I finish a journal its always interesting to thumb back through and see what I was dialouging with God about and how He answered or the thing heavy on my heart then isn’t even on my radar now.
GREEN– The last section is my prayer requests. The first page is daily stuff – My husband, each of mychildren, my church. I try to be as specific as I can for each of them. I ask for health, for growth, for self-control, patience, or a good attitude depending on the child. The next page is my plan for each week. Monday – Missionaries. Tuesday – Teachers. Wednesday – Widows and Orphans. Thursday – Those who need Jesus. Friday – Family and Friends. Then the next page are specific things people have asked me to pray for – help with their marriage, a house to sell, a parenting issue, etc. Its fun to cross things off the list as God answers. The following pages are for prayer needs to update every few weeks from the women in my Bible study or small group.
So if you are looking to be more organized with your to-do list, be more interactive with God’s Word, do more journaling, or pray more consistently for others in 2013, you might want to give my system a try. Perhaps you will want to change the headings to better fit with your life. Maybe you need a section for work stuff, school information, or a place to keep track of a new fitness plan. This inexpensive, practical journal might be an idea to help you be more organized in 2013.
Happy notebooking and goal-keeping in the year to come!