mixed media art journaling Bible | nesting dolls representing compartmentalizing Christianity by Leah Van Ert | Romans 11:33-36

Hi, friends! A lot has changed for me since my last post… my husband and I bought our first home AND we adopted a dog! We are slowly but surely settling into our new place and routine, but I love being able to take out my Bible journaling supplies and feel right at home again. I hope that this practice is as comforting to me as it is to you! Let’s jump into some thoughts about a sermon I heard recently.

Every Saturday during the month of April, the women’s ministry at our church is hosting what we call “Brave Tables.” Every week there is a 15 minute talk and then each table is given thought-provoking questions about the talk that we discuss while eating donuts. So fun, right? I’ve been able to go almost every Saturday and we’ve had some really great conversations. Last week, one of our lead pastors shared with us about compartmentalized Christianity and I’ve been dwelling on it a lot ever since. The verse she shared is this one:

“Have you ever come on anything quite like this extravagant generosity of God – this deep, deep wisdom? It’s way over our heads. We’ll never figure it out.

Is there anyone who can explain God?
Anyone smart enough to tell him what to do?
Anyone who has done him such a huge favor that God has to ask his advice?
Everything comes from him;
Everything happens through him;
Everything ends up in him.
Always glory! Always praise!
Yes. Yes. Yes.”

Romans 11:33-36 (The Message)

mixed media art journaling Bible | nesting dolls representing compartmentalizing Christianity by Leah Van Ert | Romans 11:33-36

She used Russian nesting dolls as her illustration and that’s what really stuck with me (I knew I had to put them in my Bible right away!). She took them all apart and gave them each a title – my dreams, my finances, my family, my future, etc. If you’re anything like me, you like to be in control. You don’t like having unknowns in your life. Sometimes it’s just “easier” to take matters into our own hands instead of giving them to God because that means we still control them.

Even though I know that I know that I know that this isn’t how our faith works (that’s why it’s faith, after all), I still find myself coming back to this time and again. I may give up one more of my nesting dolls, but a little one still stays in my hands. News flash: just because it seems little to you, doesn’t mean it is to God.

“When we make Jesus not only our Savior, but Lord over our lives too, all the compartmentalized parts of our lives are placed in him.”*

When we continue to go through life with compartmentalized Christianity, it only breeds hypocrisy and tame faith. How can we tell others to hand their finances over to God when we continue to hold onto our money with a tight fist? It sounds silly, but it happens time and time again (myself included!). Our faith is meant to be bold. How can we have bold faith without trust?

mixed media art journaling Bible | nesting dolls representing compartmentalizing Christianity by Leah Van Ert | Romans 11:33-36

“You give God access by giving him time, transparency, and surrender.”*

Those three things scare me a little. I’m selfish with my time. Being transparent with God and the people around me gives me a dull stomachache most times. Surrender means letting go and handing over. Those things may be scary to you (if they aren’t, kudos to you!), but living a life where you have given him time, transparency, and surrender is a fulfilling and whole life. God has beautiful things for us, we just have to stop living our compartmentalized lives and live completely within Him.

*quoted from Carey O’Connor

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4 Comments
  1. Tonya Hamilton 4 years ago

    Beautiful message!

  2. Stephanie Thorpe 4 years ago

    Beautiful! :D

  3. Claudia anabalon 4 years ago

    So true… thanks for the perfect visual :)

  4. Kim Fourman 4 years ago

    I’m a little late reading this but the timing was perfect. This is exactly what I needed to hear.

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