Friday, September 22, 2017

How to Start Bible Journaling

I wrote a blog post a while back about why I bible journal. We all have our own different reasons why it's something we might want to do. 

When you think you’re ready, it’s time to find inspiration on what to journal. Inspiration can be found in so many places!
  • - Devotionals 
  • - Sermon notes
  • - Worship songs
  • - Your feelings for the day or season in your life.
I don’t know about you, but I can't quote scripture off the top of my head, so Google is my trusty sidekick.

When I’m looking for a verse about something specific, I turn to the internet! 

For example, if you’re feeling like you’re in a season of wait, go to Google and search, “Bible verses about waiting on God”.

If you’re listening to a worship song and it mentions being God being faithful, you could search for “Bible verses about God’s faithfulness”. 

It's amazing how many resources we have at our fingertips.

So now I want to give you glimpse into my process.

Please keep in mind that everyone’s processes are different. What's important is that you find what works best for you.

1. Pray

Like I mentioned in my last post, I think the best place to start is with prayer. Here are a few ideas of things to pray for:
  • - Strength (Philippians 3:14, Isaiah 40:31, Psalm 119:28) to do something new and to lean on God completely.
  • - Guidance (Psalm 25:4-5, James 1:5, Psalm 119:105) so God leads you right to what you need to hear.
  • - Clarity (Psalm 119:18, Ephesians 1:17-18) so your heart will clearly hear to what He’s trying to teach you.
  • - Trust (Psalm 62:8, Proverbs 3:5) that God won’t lead you astray!
  • - Intentions (Proverbs 16:2, Colossians 3:23, Galatians 1:10) to make sure we are creating and sharing for His glory and not ours. 
Before I start reading my devotional or searching for my verse, I say a prayer that might go something like this...

“Lord, I ask you today as I begin this study to open my heart and mind to what you want me to learn. I ask for clarity and your wisdom. Please let anything that I need to learn, work on, or place my focus jump out to me and stay with me. If I am supposed to share these lessons with others, please give me the words to say to help and encourage. Please help me do all of these things for Your glory and not mine. In Jesus’ name, Amen."

2. Read your devotional or Bible reading plan

After I pray, I read my daily devotional(s). Then I wait and soak it in. It’s important to listen for what God has to say (Lamentations 3:24-25, Proverbs 3:5). Lean on Him and trust Him to let you know exactly what you need.

Sometimes I hear Him immediately, and I know exactly what I want to paint. However, sometimes He wants me to wait. Occasionally, that includes a further study into something that I don’t understand. That’s when I turn to my Life Application Study Bible or the internet to learn more about a certain subject or verse.

3. Reflect and Write Out Your Thoughts

Once I feel like I’m ready and that I have a clear idea of what’s been laid on my heart, I will reflect on what I have read and write my thoughts down in a separate prayer journal. I find that it helps me organize my thoughts and it helps me remember the reason I created the page later when I look back on it.

I also usually write what devotional I was doing, the song I was listening to, or season in my life I was going through and date my entry. You’ll totally appreciate that you did this in the future! 

4. Plan 

When I’m done with this, I find the verse in my bible and start planning my page. I always sketch everything out first with a pencil and go over it later with pen and paint. The important thing here is that you are not trying to be perfect. I REPEAT! You are not trying to be perfect!!!

5. Go for it

Now is the time to create your art in your Bible. Please give yourself permission to mess up, make mistakes, and be messy. The point of creating art in your Bible is NOT to make the most beautiful artwork. It is to make a record of what God is putting on your heart. 

God does not care if you paint the most intricate landscape or draw a stick figure. It is all beautiful to Him because HE created YOU, and YOU created THIS…FOR HIM! He will be ecstatic that you came to meet Him in this place.

Also, don’t forget to date the page and add reference as well. 

When you’re done with your page, another very important part is being proud of what you’ve created. 

Now that we've covered the things TO do...I want to take a second and go over a few things not to do.

1. Copy someone else's work

As tempting as it is to copy beautiful Bible journaling pages on the internet, I urge you to create your own. The process of waiting for God's revelation on the scripture is far more important than your finished product.

2. Go back and pick it apart.

Keep in mind the purpose of this type of worship. It's about God. Just like you don't analyze how well you sang a worship song, don't analyze your art. 

3. Look at all the things you could have done differently or better.

There are no "coulda, shoulda, woulda" scenarios here. You created this from your HEART. And to God, that’s as perfect as it gets. 

The next step is completely optional -- sharing.  I started sharing my pages on Instagram under a few different hashtags, #rockthisrevival #illustratedfaith, #biblejournaling, and #journalingbible. Don’t forget your OWN hashtag so you can put all your pages in one place. Mine is #neelysbible.

I usually put a caption under my pages sharing how God was working on me with that particular page. This can be pretty personal, so if you’re not comfortable with that it isn’t something that you have to do.

Sharing my pages has been a blessing to me. I have met wonderful women that I will consider friends for a lifetime. I have been presented opportunities that I never would have gotten otherwise. So, if these things are suppose to happen for you, God will make the way.

I hope that this blog post has helped give you some tips on where to get started! This is just my process. Follow these steps and tweak as necessary. This is an extremely personal process and what is important is finding what works for you in growing and building your relationship with God. 

Don’t be afraid to let Him work on your heart. I am confident in saying that this is a journey that you will never regret beginning!

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Maira Gall