The Philippians 4 Journal is designed to help people who are working on their recovery from trauma.
Different from other journals out there on the market today, The Philippians 4 Journal seeks to help the user create healthy thought patterns through scripture, meditation, and writing. The journal helps people become more aware when their trauma-related symptoms are present, and write down how they want to address them.
Also different from other journals out there on the market today, this one is currently available free of charge. All someone has to lose is about 15 minutes per day to give it a try.
The next few sections shows exactly what the journal looks like, and what someone would do in each section. Stay tuned to read the journal author’s testimony. You won’t want to miss it!
The whole journal page
Here’s how the whole page looks. Keep scrolling down to see how to use each section.
Section One: Meditation
Here’s some some basic instructions for the first section:
“My Goal” is a paraphrase from Philippians 4:7 MSG, to help the journal participant (going forward referred to as “journalist”), mindfully and prayerfully invite God into their situation. It can be read aloud as a prayer.
The word list for this section is taken from Philippians 4:8 MSG. The journalist chooses one word each day for brief meditation. After thinking about “today’s word” for a few minutes, the journalist chooses two or three thoughts to write down.
Here’s a few meditation ideas…
- The word’s meaning and synonyms
- Recall ways this word is being positively reflected in the journalist’s life, or in the lives of the people around them
- Meditate on Biblical examples that come to mind about God’s character or people in the Bible that are related to “today’s word”
Section Two: Give our Troubles to God
Here’s some basic instructions for the second section:
The journalist practices a daily habit of quickly turning over their troubles and concerns to God. The journalist writes them out in the form of one-word labels. For example, if the journalist is not getting enough sleep, they would write “sleep”.
This isn’t the time to think about how the journalist would prefer God resolve their issues. The journalist works to build a daily habit of turning over their “stuff” to God.
Section Three: Planning
The Philippians 4 Journal is not medical advice. It is not a substitution for medical treatment one would receive from a counselor, therapist, psychologist, psychiatrist, or other trained medical professional. The Philippians 4 Journal should not eliminate all the important work one does with their care team.
Here’s some basic instructions for the third section:
The journalist considers trauma responses they want to address with a plan. The journalist writes down a list of behaviors to try when they recognize a trauma response is manifesting itself.
Example list for sudden anxiety:
- “Get up and take a 5-minute brisk walk
- Mindfulness breathing exercise for 3 minutes to slow down my breathing and heart rate
- Close my eyes and pray, quote my favorite Bible verse”
The words in the blue box in this section are taken from throughout chapter 4 in Philippians (MSG). The journalist can consider how they have been doing implementing their plan. Compare the blue box phrases to a train trying to leave the station:
- Practice: I’m using my plan to get this train moving. Slow going. Some lurches.
- Stay on Track: Ok the train has left the station. Chug. Chug. Chug. Up the hill.
- Steady in God: Now I’m noticing the mind/body disruptions before they are full blown; I’m gaining success tackling them!
- Christ at the Center: I’ve had a few days of success in a row using my plan, building up a nice smooth cadence of noticing and addressing mind/body disruptions, enjoying the scenery as it goes by!
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“I’m so thankful to God for all the trauma recovery work he has done in me over the past year. A friend I haven’t seen for a long time said she’s never seen me look so radiant. She said I used to look like I was carrying a heavy burden, and that now I look like the burden has been lifted.
I used to carry heavy burdens. It felt like the weight of the world was on my shoulders. I was losing hope that I would ever be able to have a joyful life. I battled trauma-related intrusive thoughts that bombarded me all day long. Using this journal process brought God into the picture in a new way. His promises are true! Before I knew it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, in fact did come and settle me down! Today I’m completely set free from intrusive thoughts. I still have much recovery work left to go, but I have peace. I know that God is doing this work in me. My part is easy. Keep practicing and doing my best to work my plan, not striving for perfection, but striving for connection with the God who’s at work in me.”