It started last week with a question…
Kelli, a fellow Get Messian, asked me this question a week or so ago on the blog:
Do you incorporate art journaling into your quiet time? It looks like that is what you did above, but somehow this idea just came to me. I would love to know more about your process. Thanks!
Well Kelli, here’s your long answer I promised you and all of you feel free to chime in with your thoughts!
Writing the Bible
I’m always looking for a meaningful way to read and connect with my Bible. I’ve done a TON of workbook Bible studies, and some of them are excellent, but after a while I get burnt out on them. I am terrible about just sitting down and reading the Bible. Really terrible. It’s actually embarrassing how terrible I am at it. So because of that, finding a way to read it and meditate on it is something I’m always looking for.
Sometime in the fall of 2015, I stumbled across the scripture writing plans Shannon over at Sweet Blessings has worked up. I thought it might be an interesting way to meditate on scripture and spend some time in the Bible without the pressure of doing Bible study workbook homework. So I started in December. I (mostly) use Eugene Peterson’s modern translation called The Message for copy material. I say mostly because sometimes the way The Message chunks up verses makes it difficult to copy certain verses and stop mid-passage. So when I’m not using The Message, I use the New Living Translation. (Why I don’t use the New International Version is a REALLY DULL academic post about translation processes and modern usage I’ve written about 20 times in my head but never actually written down for reals.)
I’ve been decently consistent for six months in my writing habit. I’ve enjoyed it. And when I say ‘enjoy’ I mean truly moved by the poetry, joy, exuberance, fear, and passion in the words I’ve copied. For the first time in my life, I have been able to glimpse the humanity of the people who originally wrote the scriptures. I’ve learned multiple scriptures I didn’t know. I consider these things all blessings. I also have the beginnings of what looks like a truly crazy person’s diary, with page after page of just scribbled Bible verses. (Friends, if you find this book after I’m gone, please burn it so people don’t think I became unhinged.)
Beyond that, something I didn’t expect has happened and here’s where Kelli’s question opened a door for me to see it.
What does your stack of stones look like?
I’m really spending time meditating and thinking about the scripture I’m writing. I’m spending enough time thinking about it that it’s bleeding through into other areas of my life, like my art journal.
I’m thinking about what I’m writing as being a lens for my life and my experiences. Framing the Bible this way is something new for me. That sounds dumb because I’m always looking for that on an academic level but this is more of a subconscious thing that I think comes from the mechanical act of putting pen to paper. I’m not even sure that makes sense but I know something different is happening.
This is what I wrote about this art journal spread:
So I read part of Joshua 4 this morning in my quiet time and I just loved the thought of this cairn standing tall and then families and communities talking about it, remembering the deeds God has done. I was thinking about how so many of us struggle to leave some sort of mark on this world and now in many ways the art that I do is my stack of stones.
So I guess we are all just trying to figure that part out. What does our stack of stones look like? What are we remembering of God? How are we pointing to those memories for others? How can we continue to do those things as gracefully as we can?
I hope and pray that my writing the Bible is crossing over into other actions in my life. This just seems to be the most tangible place to see it at the moment.
Art Journaling, Bible Journaling, & Quiet Time: Which do I pick!?!
There’s a lot of ideas out there. I’m an art journaler. I have quiet time. I’m starting to dabble in Bible journaling. Clearly, there isn’t enough time in the day to do everything every single day. Whenever I get overwhelmed with a task or the newest new thing, I go back to this quote by Arthur Ashe:
Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can.
It’s useful for me to drill down to the basics and that quote gets me centered for that. What tools do you have on hand? What are you most interested in trying first? The writing plans are likely going to be the easiest thing for you to get started with but if you have watercolors and a couple of markers you can get started bible journaling as well.
Whatever you are making right now, I’d love to hear about it! Comment here or tag me in social media!
Get Messy Art Journaling has a free intro course on art journaling. It’s a community that I’ve come to care about a great deal over the past six months.
Kim Werker is doing a art journal challenge on her blog right now and it’s a wonderful place to dip your toes in the water.
Art Journal Every Day with Julie Balzer. She’s been art journaling for a long time so there are a ton of examples on her website.
Illustrated Faith They have a ton of stamps and and inexpensive printables if you are nervous about your handwriting in your bible. They are actually where I learned about Bible journaling in the first place.
Breathe Out Grace has a free Bible journaling course that I’m taking right now. I’m currently working on the first week.
Big Picture Classes has both Bible journaling classes and art journaling classes. It is a $10 per month service but they have a free trial membership so you can check out some of the classes. I’m enjoying a free 6-month membership that I won!