How to Truth Journal

The following is an excerpt from one of the daily studies in Taste for Truth: A 30 Day Weight Loss Bible Study

Truth JournalingOften people advocate the use of journaling as a way to clear the air. To get all those bad thoughts out of our system so they don’t poison us.

Truth journaling is different.

You’re still spilling your thoughts out, but for the purpose of examining them and bringing them captive to the truth.

It’s a practical application of 2 Corinthians 10:3-5: For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh, for the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses. We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ.

The best way to learn how to truth journal is to just jump in and give it a try. Picture yourself in this situation: Your house is a mess, you have a million things to do, and the day ahead looks dreary. You should be working on your to-do list, but what you really want to do is break your boundaries and have a bowl of ice cream. Let’s try truth journaling.

Step One: Spill Out Your Thoughts

Begin by spilling your thoughts out onto the pages of your journal. This usually takes me less than a minute. I end up with maybe six or seven sentences.

These aren’t “Let’s see, what am I thinking?” sorts of thoughts. They’re gut level thoughts. In fact, you may even know they’re untrue as you write them. Here’s what I would write in my journal for the above example:

My life is a wreck. I’ll never be able to get anything done. I’m such a loser. I can’t believe I put everything off for so long. I think I’ll have some ice cream. That will make me feel better.

Can you see what a jumble my thoughts are? I’m not organizing them first. I’m just spilling them out onto the paper. It took me about 30 seconds.

Step Two: Number your thoughts.

How to Truth JournalThe next thing you do is number each sentence. This will force you to look at each thought, rather than the whole overwhelming situation. This isn’t natural. Our tendency is to focus on the big picture.

We come up with a conclusion—my life is a wreck, for example—and then we think of all the dumb things we’ve ever done that prove that our life is a wreck. This just solidifies our conclusion that things really are bad.

Satan loves that. He wants us to think of life and people—and ourselves—in terms of black and white. Either we’re wonderful—or we’re terrible. And of course he would prefer terrible since he’s the condemner of the saints (Revelations 12:10).

Paul tells us in 2 Corinthians 10:3-5 how to fight Satan’s attacks: take each thought captive. Let’s do that. Think of each sentence as a thought. If it’s a long sentence, you may want to break it up into a couple of thoughts. We’ll begin by numbering our sentences:

1. My life is a wreck. 2. I’ll never be able to get anything done. 3. I’m such a loser. 4. I can’t believe I put everything off for so long. 5. I think I’ll have some ice cream. 6. That will make me feel better.

Next, we’ll look at each sentence—one at a time—to see if it’s true or false. If it’s true, we’ll write true. If it’s false—or only half-true—we’ll rewrite it so it’s all the way true. Satan is the master of the partial truth so we’ll often find thoughts that are somewhat true, but not all the way true. Keep your eye out for those thoughts.

Step Three: Write the Truth for Each Lie

The next step is one that will take a little practice: write the truth for each lie. This is difficult for a couple of reasons. First, we don’t always recognize lies when we see them. And second, it may take some thinking to figure out the truth.

Sometimes we’ve been believing lies for so long that it’s hard to recognize them. That’s why it’s so important to look at your sentences one at a time. It’s easier to see the lie in one sentence than it is to see a lie in a whole paragraph. So close your mind to the rest of the paragraph and just focus on that one particular sentence.

For example, if I’m looking at the sentence “My life is a wreck,” in light of the rest of the paragraph, I would say, “Yes, my life is a wreck. Look at how inept I am.” But if I look at that sentence all by itself, I can see the truth, “My life isn’t a wreck at all. In fact, it’s a pretty good life, overall.”

If you have a hard time knowing if a sentence is true, picture Jesus standing in front of you. Would he say, “Barb, your life is a wreck”? No, He wouldn’t. He would say, “Barb, your life is a gift. You have so many things to be thankful for.” And then He might point out a few things.

Let me show you how I would truth journal the example we just looked at. To make it easier to follow, I’ll record the truth after each sentence. Here goes:

Truth Journaling

1. My life is a wreck.

Truth: My life is not a wreck. Yes, it’s not perfect. But it’s not a wreck either. I have a wonderful God, a wonderful family, a wonderful ministry, and I live in a wonderful place. I am blessed.

2. I’ll never be able to get anything done.

Truth: God is changing me, and I can do all things through Him who strengthens me. He’ll help me get things done when they need to get done. I don’t need to worry. His grace is sufficient for me.

3. I’m such a loser.

Truth: I’m not a loser. I’m a delightful child of God. His beloved. His bride. His workmanship. He exults over me with love. He loves me as I am. He doesn’t require me to be perfect in order for Him to love me. (See Insecurity Bible verses.)

4. I can’t believe I put everything off for so long.

Truth: I don’t know why I can’t believe it since I often put things off for this long!

5. I think I’ll have some ice cream.

Truth: I think not! That would be crazy. If I eat ice cream this early in the morning, I’ll be eating all day. It would be far better to wait and have a bowl this evening.

6. That will make me feel better.

Truth: For about FIVE MINUTES!!!! I will be much better off if I just GET TO WORK and start getting things done. Think how good I would feel! I think I’ll start right now.

Do you see how truth journaling would make me actually want to say no to the ice cream and get started on my to-do list? Truth journaling is a practical way to bring our thoughts captive to the truth. I hope you’ll give it a try!

See also: Truth Journaling: The List Method, Video on how to truth journal

P.S. I have been putting all of my writing efforts into getting Freedom from Emotional Eating back into print again – hope to order a proof this week and have it back out by the end of the month or sooner!


  1. says

    Man alive, I can’t believe how organized and concise you are! “Your life is a gift.” That really resonates with me. That’s where it all begins. We are special and we are called, not perfect, but forgiven and loved…. hard to fathom, but Lord I feel it! Thanks for the encouragement, Barb.

  2. says

    What a great way to take thoughts captive. You’re right, we tend to lump our thoughts together and if they are self-defeating . . . well, they’re just that – defeating. But taking them one at a time and shining the light of God’s truth on them defeats them, not us. I love this Barb. Definitely going to give it a try.

    • says

      I think you’ll like it, Deb! It’s a great time of fellowship with God plus it really works to let go of negative emotions and see life from a biblical perspective.

  3. says

    What a great method! Writing down what we think and lining them up with what the Words of God says can break a lot of our bad thinking while reinforce our good thinking.

  4. says

    I’ve always journaled but your way of doing it has really brought enlightenment and power because I’m learning to take my thoughts and emotions to God’s Holy Word.
    Thank you for teaching people this life changing technique. It’s simple yet profound.

    • says

      That’s so great, TC. One of the things I love about truth journaling is knowing that I can always be set free from the negative emotions that used to grip me. God’s truth really is alike a sword – it’s powerful.

  5. Celine says

    I just did some truth journaling and it does help! I may keep my notebook handy and journal many times in the day to clear out the lies I believe.

    • says

      That’s so great, Celine! When I first started truth journaling, I also did it several times a day, often in the middle of the night when I woke up and couldn’t get back to sleep again. It’s definitely life changing!

  6. nanette says

    I have recently found myself being out of control with food AGAIN!! I am so tired of being a yo-yo. I have just ordered: I Deserve a Donut and A Taste for Truth. When they arrive, I am going to incorporate truth journaling as well. I have read through some of your website and I am so thankful for your insight. I’m heading in the right direction this time and am looking for strength. Thank you!

  7. Betty says

    Would you ever consider doing a webinar on truth journaling? I seem to have a lot of “true – but” statements. I need help! Lol

    • says

      Hi Betty, I would definitely consider that but I have no idea how to do a webinar. Do you know how easy that is to do? I think I’ve heard of something you can do in google too with meet-ups. One of these days I will get a little more tech savvy!

      • Betty says

        I haven’t held one myself but I attended a coaching program and the entire thing was done via AnyMeeting. It seems rather easy. I’ll be practicing tomorrow, so I’ll let you know. :)

  8. Eileen says

    Barb, I would like to thank you for reminding me to tell myself the truth. To renew my mind with God’s word. I have spent to much time in my life just responding to situations and relationships. The truth sets me from living an emotional life focused on me. You are a blessing!

    • says

      Thanks, Eileen. I have also spent too much time in my life just responding to situations and relationships, and I’m with you – I love the way God’s truth sets me free from living that emotional life focused on me. I’m much happier when I’m looking at life from God’s perspective. :) Thanks for sharing!

  9. Laura says

    I decided to see a counsellor through my local mental health department and while she helped me a lot I couldn’t get past the idea of ungodly counsel and unbiblical ideas…. She was helping me thought distortion and I knew she was on to something but I couldn’t find the biblical approach…. Truth journaling is exactly what I’ve been looking for! Thank you thank you! Great post! And as I read it I remembered I already bought your book in the past! :)) I need to actually follow through with reading!

  10. says

    This is seriously awesome! Very encouraging — especially since we ALL tend to have these thoughts. Ii’ve never heard of truth journaling but i am going to give it a try! Usually when i have a very stressful day i will sit down with my journal but can’t think of anything to say! This is perfect!! Thank you :)

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