It’s not about the artwork. That is how I open almost every Bible journaling class I teach. It’s just not about the artwork. But, if it isn’t about the look of the page, why do we scroll Pinterest and Instagram “liking” different pages? Why do those of us that post frequently on social media spend time staging our journaling pictures and adjusting lighting set-up and filters to get just the right look? We do it because there is something about a visually appealing image that draws you in. And, if you are drawn in, maybe you’ll take a second look at a scripture or a quote. And maybe, just maybe, that will light a little spark in your heart, giving God the opportunity to do a little work. I started Bible journaling nearly three years ago because the visual appeal of the pages I saw drew me in. But, it wasn’t until I began diving into the Word and creating my own art while spending time in God’s presence that I really started to get it.
It absolutely is NOT about the artwork. It’s about the time spent and the lessons learned. Some lessons were big, some were small, but all have shaped my path. Some pages turned out beautifully. They are stunning “Pinterest-worthy” creations that I am so proud to share. But, the truth is, that I am just as proud of the pages that didn’t turn out. I am proud of them because I know they have transformed me from a young mom who barely spent time thinking about God outside of Sunday morning to a woman that truly believes that I am the daughter of the King. I spend more time in the Word than ever before, and whether the pages are lovely or atrocious, they are helping me move closer to becoming the woman God designed me to be.
And, isn’t that how life is? Don’t we often learn more from the messy moments than the perfect ones? When we are stuck in the muck of our mistakes, that is when we have the biggest opportunity to experience God’s grace. Most of life’s events can not be wrapped up in a pretty bow. We are often deceived by social media, seeing gorgeous images of people living amazing lives without taking into account the mess that might be on the other side of the camera.
My Bible journals are often conversations with God. And in the midst of a trial, those conversations are hard and dark. They are not filled with cute critters and flowers. They are black, grey, harsh, and rough. But, they are meaningful.
I’ve had friends that are nervous to start Bible journaling because they are so scared to “mess it up”. The truth is that we all “mess it up” all the time. We make a million mistakes every day, but get up the next day and try again. Plus, the Bible is full of the mistakes of people and the lesson that God uses those mistakes to redeem. God will use my time spent Bible journaling to shape my heart and my mind whether the page I am working on turns out as planned or not. If I am really Bible journaling with the right mindset, it just shouldn’t matter what the ending product looks like.
Now, we are all human, and we are all artists. We have visions of what we are hoping to create, and sometimes it doesn’t turn out. I am not saying that you need to be in love with every page you create. But, I do hope that you will start creating without fear of the end product. Sometimes, you just have to dive in, embrace the time with God, and start creating. God will take care of the hard “heart work”. While the artwork you create may not match the “heart work” that God did, I promise you that He is still delighting in the time spent!
I’m challenging you to take some time to look back at your Bible journal. Linger on the page or two that did not turn out like you had hoped. Take the time to thank God for meeting you on that page. And, consider sharing that page either on social media or with someone you know. Embrace your “worst page” by re-labeling “Heart Work Over Art Work”. And, if you do decide to share on social media tag me and add the hashtag #heartworkoverartwork
Keep it Creative,
-The Scrappy Wife