I have been wanting to write a blog post about my Bible journaling for a while. There is, of course, a hesitancy since it is sharing parts of my personal journey with God and it gives opportunity for others to interpret my motivations, but ultimately I believe it’s worth it. I would like to share a little background, how/where/why I started, and I’ll share a few pictures throughout.
(I say “a few”, but I’ve been journaling since March and when I took these pictures a few ago I had 57 or so. This might have to end up being a series. hah)
What is Bible journaling?
Obviously the concept of writing notes or even drawing pictures in a Bible is not new. People have been doing for years and years, I’m sure. Shanna Noel started a movement a little while ago (a few years I think) called Illustrated Faith which has been spreading like wildfire. Her philosophy is that if even just one person is impacted by her sharing her faith in the margins of her Bible, then it is worth it (even if that one person is herself). I love this philosophy. I first heard of Bible journaling through Valerie Wiener’s blog and I was so inspired by her art and her story of God’s work in her life. Before I started journaling in March, I was fairly consistent in my reading of the Bible each day, but it never seemed to impact much of my day or my life. I was doing my Bible readings on my computer which made it much easier to skim and not really dig into the text at all. I have always been a very hands-on learner and so it didn’t really make sense for me to expect to be able to interact with the text in this way.
Once I started reading with an actual Bible in my hands and gave myself permission to underline and highlight and write notes and illustrate what I was learning, I started learning so much more every time I opened my Bible and it stuck with me through the day. This process of Bible journaling has transformed my Bible reading. I still try to read daily, but don’t journal every day, I just try to be open to what God is teaching me through His Word and I create in the spaces in my Bible when I am inspired to do so. I definitely see it as a form of worship and it also enable me to use my creative gifts which helps to “fill” me each day.
What is my motivation?
I have already touched on this a little, but I thought I should clearly state what my motivation is for sharing, especially on social media. I have posted a few pictures of my Bible before on my Instagram with the hashtag #lizjournalsthebible. I never want it to seem like I am sharing these pages to show off or to get likes, in fact, I have had to check my motivations for that and that’s probably why I haven’t shared more before. Those who know me well can probably attest to the fact that I can be fairly affirmation-needy which is something I have worked on all my life and will probably always need to work on. When I draw/journal/create in my Bible it is for the benefit of me, and ultimately for God. However, thinking about how much seeing the faith and Bible pages of others impacted me and helped renew my hunger for God’s Word inspires me to share my scribbles and my personal journey. Because if by sharing I can inspire just one person to read their Bible and interact with it and grow closer to God, than by all means it is so worth it!
Where did I start?
I have been using the SheReadsTruth studies for over a year now and I continue to find them so helpful to have a pre-organized study that is so centralized on the Bible and yet also includes encouraging and challenging thoughts from Christian women that God is using to impact so many. I should add that one of the reasons I was previously reading the Bible on my computer was because that is where I read from each day’s study on SRT and they conveniently have a link to each Bible passage on their site. This was extremely helpful especially back in the days of having a newborn Benji and I could MUCH more easily read a Bible reading on my phone/computer while nursing him as opposed to having to try to balance my Bible and take care of him. There are certainly different stages in our lives that work well with different things (and people’s personalities that work with different things—there are many people that would never dream of painting in their Bible, and that’s okay; I do try to keep all of the Biblical text visible when I am working in my Bible, but some people don’t and that’s okay too! It’s not about a right way or a wrong way to interact with the Bible as long as we are worshipping God and respecting Him and His Word). We are all on a personal journey with God and He meets us where we are and extends grace to each individual person. I never would have had time to do a lot of Bible journaling a year ago with a newborn and a toddler. It is still a challenge to find the time sometimes, but I am grateful whenever I do get the chance. It can be a hard balance between making time to read God’s Word AND take the time to write out thoughts or pictures based on what I’ve learned AND try to balance family time, quality time with Mike, maintaining our household, etc. I try to remind myself that this is a stage and a season (which everybody says is short..lol) and that a lot of my worship and teaching from God comes in the form of daily being changed to be more like Jesus as I go through life.
How did I start?
After looking at professional-grade hand lettering and beautiful pictures painted in Bibles, I was at a bit of a loss of where to start when I received my journaling Bible (ordered it only for a little over $20). I didn’t want to “mess it up”, but I also wanted it to be a reflection of my personal journey with God expressed creatively. I definitely made some “mistakes” and made some pages that aren’t really my favorite, but since it’s about the process and not really about the end result it’s not something I’ve worried about too much. The SRT study when I first started journaling was in Lamentations and these were my first ever journaled pages.
Just like my faith with God is a journey, this illustrating of my faith had been a journey. As I tried different things with different pages, I have discovered that I usually prefer to have colorful journaling with different fonts and lettering as opposed to a drawing only one picture or verse. There are many exceptions to this as I give myself creative freedom, but it has helped to figure out how I am best able to meditate on what I am reading.
Well, since I don’t think I’m going to include 50 more pictures, we’ll call that Part 1. I would LOVE to share more about any of the pages or my personal relationship with Jesus if you’re interested. Comment or send me an email. I would also love to answer any questions anyone might have. In part 2 maybe I’ll talk about some of the tools and methods I use. If you have been considering getting a journaling Bible or even using a notebook to creatively express what God is teaching you, don’t wait any longer! God wants to know and be known. He wants an interactive, intimate relationship with YOU and this might be one way you can deepen (or start!) that relationship.
Thanks for reading.