One of my prayers and New Year’s resolutions this year was to spend more time in my Bible. I started the year strong, but slacked off after awhile. Luckily, I recently found a “devotional” that gets me excited about worship! It gets the creative juices flowing! And it’s very scripture heavy.
It’s the Bible.
This past April I discovered Bible Journaling, and it has changed how I worship. Now I don’t just read through the Bible. I pore over it. Sometimes I read and reread a passage for hours, and then I go back and look the next day, to reflect and pray and read it again. I look forward to my Bible time, and I love to share it with people, and I wouldn’t go back (I even bought a whole separate Bible for it).
It Puts Our God-Given Creativity to Use
The entire Bible is written. It’s the Word of God, scripted in the hand of men, and includes storytelling, poetry, songs, symbolism, histories, and more. We get to know God through His Word, but we also become acquainted with His authors, the men He chose to tell His story. We learn their passions, their weaknesses and strengths, their tone, and their character. They’re all different, and they all had a gift–a gift for creativity.
Praise God He made us all different! Some people might sing to worship God–to communicate love to Him. Some people might write poems…or blogs. Some people might dance, or stand, or clap. I think God must revel in the differences between each of us, because it’s a celebration of His creation.
It Keeps Us IN the Word
Let me tell you, I am not an artist, but I made a goal when I started this journey that I wouldn’t trace in my Bible. My idea is that if I’m to write or draw in my Bible, it’s going to be my own thoughts, my own heart, my own creativity. So, like most art, it is time consuming. I find this to be a huge perk. When it takes me two hours to journal my passage for the day, I spend two hours where I would usually just read through quickly. I don’t do that anymore, and when I do, I am constantly making notes to go back and journal this section and that. I am not bored in the Word. I am working. I work on giving God back His Words in my own love language, and I think it helps Him to know my heart.
I often use social media to share a message about God. It can be an article, sermon, song, or just a thought. I sometimes receive responses, and sometimes get nothing–nada. I have found that my journaling pages are shareable. It can be a conversation starter. I don’t cover my words (some do, and that is their choice), so when I share a picture of my newest page, people see the whole passage. When I am especially proud of something I pulled out of a passage, you can see it on social media, you can see it in the art, and you can see it in the prayer I often clip to my pages. This is a fantastic conversation starter, and fellowship and worship tool. Women all over the world are meeting weekly for studies, prayer, and Bible journaling. I myself use my journaling as another witness to my kids. My sons ask me about what I’m doing and why, and I tell them, taking care to read passages and explain why I put this image here or that word there. Someday I hope to give them my Journaling Bibles and they can learn more about my Jesus through my own creativity.
You Probably Have All the Tools
When I started Bible Journaling I started with my prayer journal. I use a journal, but you could use a spiral notebook. I don’t think God cares if it’s fancy stationary or notebook paper. I started with a box of 10 Crayola colored pencils and a #2 pencil. In some of the Bible Journaling groups there are people who either don’t want to write/draw/paint in their Bibles or don’t want to buy a new Bible. If this is the case, they buy old hymnals from yardsales that are torn or otherwise damaged and journal in the pages. Other journalers actually print or copy pages from their Bible or from a loved one’s Bible that might have their notes and handwriting. The possibilities are endless because it’s our own creativity and our own worship that dictates it. Now I have a basic ASV Journaling Bible with wide, lined margins, but there are many options for journaling Bibles, and exhaustive lists of art supplies that don’t bleed through the pages. You don’t need them, though. If you feel inclined to write or draw your prayer or devotion, do it! Do it however and wherever you can, with whatever you can, and you’ll be surprised how much it feels like a love letter written right in God’s Word.
You’re Bored or Dissatisfied with the Bible
It’s something that we don’t say. We don’t want our children to know, or our spouses. We especially don’t want our church family to know that we aren’t reading the Bible everyday. According to recent studies, they aren’t reading their Bibles either! In fact, when asked how often they read the Bible (not as part of weekly service) only 19% of “church going” Christians surveyed answered “everyday”. That is nearly the same percentage that answered “rarely/never” (18%). Fourteen percent admit to reading the Bible only once per week, and 22% read it once per month.
I don’t think it’s because they don’t want to worship God, or because they don’t have the time! I think it’s because we have an idea of how we should relate to the Bible. Read it. Memorize it. Underline/highlight, but not too much. Put it on a shelf to protect it. The rules (at least in my case) are ingrained in us from a young age, and I think we’re afraid to write in our Bibles, or draw in them. We’re afraid of offending God, when He’s the One we’re meant to worship!
I found a new way to worship God and it has my faith on fire. You can do it too, and you don’t even have to write or draw in your Bible. The next time you’re writing a prayer, draw what’s on your heart. If you’re adoring your Father in Heaven draw Him a rose. If you’re heart is broken, draw a broken heart. If you just saw the ocean or the mountains or an emu for the first time and are in awe of His creation, draw something He created. Show Him your heart. You can do it with notebook paper or a Bible. You can use pens or paints. God wants to know your heart and mine.