My Rabbi asked me to do something I’d never previously been asked to do which is to journal each day, writing down anything pertaining to my Jewish observance. I jumped at this chance because I love to write and because it was something tangible that I could be doing to help our process. I’m quickly discovering that it’s more powerful than that, as journaling often is.
It’s really easy when you’re adding on mitzvah observance to be focused on where you are lacking, what you AREN’T doing that you wish you were or what you’re not doing perfectly. Becoming an observant Jew is a very big lifestyle change and it can quickly become overwhelming when you realize your day has gotten away from you and you missed the time for this prayer or that or you remember too late that you forgot to say a bracha or clipped your fingernails in order. There are just so many details to keep track of!
By journaling what I AM doing, though, I’ve had to shift my focus. I suddenly see all the things that our family does that have simply become…normal. Our days are already full of different observances that we barely notice because they have become natural to us and it’s easy to take that for granted and instead only focus on the negative and feel like we have mountains to climb. Journaling has really shifted my perception and I realize how very far we’ve come in the years we’ve been working on this!
It’s also been a great tool for helping me keep focused on my observance. By needing to write each day what I’ve managed to fit in, it encourages me to be more consistent. It also helps me see small opportunities in our days, little things we could change without much effort to be just a little bit more observant here or there. I can also see how, moving forward, I could look back on my journal entries to help motivate myself, seeing the growth from them.
If you’re becoming more observant, why not give journaling a try? If you have used journaling in your journey becoming more observant or converting, I’d love to hear more about your experiences in the comments.