Monday, March 2, 2020

10 Misconceptions About Bible Journaling

Sometimes we will tell ourselves anything to keep us from starting something new or out of our wheelhouse.

If you have been wanting to start bible journaling, but have been nervous about it, here are 11 things you might be telling yourself…but that totally are not true!


1. “I have to be artistic” 

You don’t have to be a great painter, draw well, or even write pretty to bible journal. If those things make you uncomfortable, you can use stamps, stickers, die cuts and anything else you can find at your local craft store that you think would look good! I have a blog post about bible journaling supplies you can use when you don’t feel artistic - You can find that here OR if you don't want to do any of those things, you can just takes notes in the margins about things you learned while reading. There's no rule saying what bible journaling has to look like.


2. “I don’t have time” 

You can spend however much time you want on the pages you create! You can take 5 minutes and write a simple verse in the margin or you can take an hour and paint beautiful flowers on the whole page. There is no time requirement involved with spending time with God…it’s just important that you do it. MAKE the time to spend with God and I’m sure He’ll bless you greatly! That might mean you have to get up 20 minutes earlier or skip one of your shows in the evening, but it will be worth the time you take. Prioritize.


3. “I have to draw in my Bible” 

I understand that drawing in the actual bible makes some people feel uneasy. That doesn’t mean you can’t use art to worship! You can buy a sketchbook or other type of journal to do your artwork in just as easy! I do recommend you date both and reference the verse you're referring to if you're going to use a separate journal.

4. “I won't be able to read the words 

This one isn’t necessarily a myth, depending on how you create your pages, but I wanted to add it because I know it stops a lot of people. I cannot read most of my pages after I paint on them. However, this bible is ONLY for my artwork. I have SO MANY (cough too many cough) other bibles that I use to read and study (I may be a bit of a bible hoarder, but I suppose you can hoard worse things, am I right?). I also have about 4 different Bible apps on my phone. So The Word is always within reach for me to read when I need it. The Bible itself tells the story of God and the artwork that you create tells the story of God’s work in you that you can pass on to your children someday. That story is important too! The Word of God is the most important thing you can have, but don't turn the book ITSELF into an idol. It's the words inside that hold the power and luckily for us the book is extremely easily accessed.


5. “I have to spend a lot of money” 

Not true at all! If all you want to use is a pencil, that’s all you have to use. I use a pencil, pen and watercolors on all my pages and that’s all. You don’t have to grow a huge collection of craft supplies if you don’t want to. I’ll venture to say that if you do that, you’ll only end up using a few of those supplies in the long run anyway.

6. “I don’t know where to start” 

I think the first place you should always start is prayer. God will inspire you to journal what you need at that moment. Other places you can find inspiration are church sermons, bible studies and devotionals, worship songs and hymns, and just things going in in your daily life. I have a blog post here on how to start bible journaling if you’d like some help getting started - you can find that here. And another on what do do when you're feeling stuck, you can find that one here.

7.  “I have to have beautiful handwriting” 

I’ll let you in on a little secret. I don’t have good hand writing at all. Hand writing and hand lettering are two different things. I have a blog post with some tips how to hand letter here and I also have written a guide to help you get started hand lettering here. It would be really awesome if we just came out of the womb naturally good at every thing we tried, but unfortunately that isn’t the case. The good news is that, as with most things, with practice you CAN get really good at it! That goes with any type of artwork, not just hand lettering.

Also, you don't have to hand letter to do bible journaling. You can use stickers and stamps to create the words on your pages.


8. “I’ll never be as good as ‘so and so"

This is another one that might not really be classified as a “myth” but it’s still something that isn’t true! That’s because

1. You never know how good you can get at whatever you try in life if you practice!

2. It doesn’t MATTER if you’re as good as ‘so and so’.

The artwork that you’re creating its YOURS and yours alone. It isn’t about what I’m doing or what Susan over there is doing. It’s about what YOU are doing with God. It doesn’t matter how intricate the art work is. It doesn’t matter if someone would hang it in a museum some day. It only matters that you’re spending time with God, learning from Him and growing in your relationship with Him. The only One’s opinion that counts is His! And He will love anything you create for Him. Never compare your story or abilities with someone else’s. GOD gave YOU the abilities YOU have for a reason (1 Corinthians 12) . Don't sell Him short.

9. “I’m not creative” 

I believe that everyone is creative. The definition of creative is

creative [kree-ey-tiv]   1: marked by the ability or power to create. 2: having the quality of something created rather than imitated.
 

If you create anything, you’re creative. We were made by the MOST creative Being in the universe and we are made in His image. The biggest step is believing you can, don’t be confined to the box of what you think is or isn’t creative, pray about it, and just do you! I bet you’ll be surprised what you can create!

10. “It’s all about the artwork” 

It isn’t about the artwork at all, really. It’s about the heart behind the artwork. It’s about the time you’re spending reflecting on God’s word. It’s about the relationship you’re building with God as you slow down and create. It’s about the things you’re learning about God and yourself. It’s all about God. God’s love goes in and the artwork just happens to be the result that pours out.

11. "I can just post/recreate this page without crediting anyone" 

I think that this one will be sort of controversial, but it's something I feel pretty strongly about. It might be because I have a degree in Graphic Design and was also a photographer for almost 10 years...so I might have a little different outlook on it than most. But I'm gonna go for it and tell you my opinion, even if it's an unpopular opinion.

There are several reasons why I think this isn't okay, with anything you find on the internet, not just bible pages.

Things on the internet aren't just free range for you to take and do with whatever you please (unless it was created specifically for you to take for free and do with whatever you please...you'll know for sure if something was created for this purpose). Chances are, if you find it on the internet that means someone has created it.

You wouldn't take a painting you found in a museum and show everyone or repaint it and say it was your idea. You wouldn't copy and paste someone else's blog post and put it on your blog.

If you write a paper in school and don't credit your sources or blatantly copy from your source, you will more than likely get accused of plagiarism (even if you state your source. You still can't just word for word copy someone's thoughts and ideas).

Taking a screenshot of a page you've seen and/or recreating an entire page without crediting the person who made it first is the same thing.

Those who share their bible journaling pages usually are doing it because God inspired and encouraged them through it and they want to share in order to encourage someone else. The pages they're creating are pieces of their story with God. They don't have to share them. They are usually extremely personal and come directly from their hearts. They are usually only sharing because they feel like what God taught them could be beneficial to someone else.

"So, don't share things that are personal on the internet. You can't expect things like that not to happen."

That's true. But if we don't share our testimonies, no one will ever know God's true character. Those things are revealed through those tough times. It's the chance we take when we share, but plagiarism (whether intentional or not) doesn't have to happen.

So, my point of that is, why would you WANT to copy someone's page completely? That means you're just putting someone else's story in your bible and taking away the personal aspect of it. When you just see a pretty page and want it in your bible, you need to ask yourself...am JUST I recreating this because I think it's pretty? Don't you want your own story inspired from your own walk with God in your bible? These bibles are like journals between you and God. Don't put someone else's entry in.

If you are encouraged and inspired by someone's post and repost it always credit them. If you create something inspired be someone else's artwork always credit them.

I don't think it's necessarily wrong to see someone's artwork and be inspired by it, but I think you should always try and add your own ideas or style to it, make it different enough that someone can see it was inspired by So and So, but they can still tell YOU are the one who was inspired -- and say who it was inspired by.

One reason is so your friends can also be encouraged and inspired by them and so the person who encouraged you knows. That in itself is encouraging to them too.

Otherwise, honestly, it's stealing. I know a lot of people don't agree with that...but that's my opinion on it.

I also want to say, sometimes creating something that looks like someone else's artwork or idea will happen accidentally. It's a big world out there and sometimes we all have the same cool ideas. I have done this before. I have created something and it looked like I did blatantly copy someone...but we just had the same idea. Which is crazy...but there have been a lot of years to have a lot of ideas. It's going to happen at one point or another.

I am only speaking on copying or taking someones ideas intentionally -- especially without crediting them.

I could say so much more, but I'll leave it at that. 😆

I pray that these 11 myths will help you get over that hump of being hesitant to start. They’re thoughts we’ve all had, you’re not alone. If it’s something that’s on your heart to try, I recommend that you take a few minutes, pray about it, and dive right in.

Did dispelling these misconceptions encourage you to dive in to bible journaling? Is there anything that you would add? Leave a comment below and let me know!

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Maira Gall