Today I feel like stepping aside and allowing Greta to take it away because she says it just beautifuly, she honest, she open and she true….


 

 

Hi. My name is Greta and I am a recovering Perfectionist.

 

I blame this solely on my nearly perfect mother, exceptional younger sister and the fact that all of my friends are of such above-average caliber, that I am left in jaw-dropped awe.

 

Wait. What?  I’m not the only one who suffers from this???

 

As a means to overcome my perfectionistic tendencies, a handful of years ago I began to feverishly pursue the liberating world of Perfect Imperfection.

 

Let me explain…

 

My hair is purposefully messy and stick-uppy.
My humor is purposefully laced with self-deprecation.
My home decor is purposefully chipped and distressed.
Everything I hang on the wall or create on a page is purposefully asymmetrical.
When I sign a greeting card, I generally sign it crooked.
My clothes involve varying levels and layers and my photographs are purposefully off-center.

 

As a paper arts instructor, I always began each class with the admonition to the students to release the impossible concept of Perfection and embrace the freedom of Imperfection. Don’t begin a project with the perfect idea of how you want it to turn out. Give yourself lots of ways in which you can hide your imperfections. I have many escape routes! My designs usually include a ‘shaky’ outlined frame and I go over my handwriting a number of times to throw off the viewer’s eye from seeing anything that’s ‘not-quite-right’.

 
 

Writing | While many doodle with abandon and draw with ease, Bible Journaling – for me – has been about the writing. Many years ago I learned that the best way for me to figure out how I feel or think about any given subject, is to write it out. It’s how I solve questions and confusions in my mind. I place my fingers on the keypad and out come the timid thoughts I didn’t realize were lurking somewhere around the corners of my mind and heart. For me, Bible verses cannot sit still on a page – they need to get up and dance. That rumba happens when I’ve spent time with a verse, done some creating around that verse and then I turn to my blog to write out my thoughts surrounding that particular passage. All of a sudden a myriad of disjointed thoughts begin to come together to form a complete understanding. Bible Journaling feels as if my love of writing, my love of art, and my love of God all came together and had a love child. I have attended church all of my life. My mind tends to go into the “yeah, yeah, yeah…I know this Scripture” mode when I read familiar verses. Bible Journaling has allowed me to slow down and live with the verse for a little while longer. It orients my thinking into a position of openness, allowing the Holy Spirit to speak to me in new and alternate ways.

 

Sharing | Show and Tell is a significant part of who we are as Creatives. When we share our projects with others, we are establishing a sense of belonging. A sense of community. When you write and create with an authentic voice, other Imperfectionists will be drawn to your vulnerability. Man, oh man, do I know how scary that process is! But the times when my heart has connected with another’s heart – bam! That sense of connection is a beautiful and God-annointed rush.

 
 

The Journaling Bible Community Facebook group has been our shared way of establishing a new community of fault-laden humans, bonding together to engage our creative passions but mostly to say, “Hey. I get it. Let’s do this together.”

 

Stealing | In Austin Kleon’s book, Steal Like an Artist, he talks about the process of ‘stealing’. Nothing is original. “What a good artist understands is that nothing comes from nowhere. All creative work builds on what came before. Nothing is completely original.” You might see this as depressing or as a reason to give up. Instead, use the theory of French writer, Andre’ Gide: “Everything that needs to be said has already been said. But, since no one was listening, everything must be said again.” Stop trying to create something from nothing. Embrace the influence of others – copy, copy, copy, copy and at the end, you will find yourself and your style. Consider your Bible Journaling artwork as a ‘cover band’ for the artwork that you admire in others. Besides, some of us need to hear a truth many different times and in many different ways before it begins to sink into our understanding. (Greta says to herself.)

 

As I look through the entries in the Facebook group, I see a plethora of different kinds of people. It seems just about every walk of life is present in that group. What I also see is a group of extremely brave individuals. It takes a great deal of courage to create something and then put it out there for others to see. You hope they will be encouraged by it or challenged by what you’ve written or created, but a part of you will always cringe and want to ‘Delete Post’ as soon as it’s live. The fear you’re feeling is coming from Evil Perfection Brother. His other brother, Imperfection, is telling you that you are giving something genuine from your heart and allowing others to join hands with you in your spiritual journey.

 

Perserving | What legacy am I leaving my children and grandchildren? I lost my mother 5 years ago to Alzheimer’s. There is nothing more precious to me than finding her handwriting…on anything! Her beautiful penmanship is a culmination of who she was. It is exact and precise. The letters are perfectly formed, looking just like the cursive letters that spread across the tops of so many elementary school classrooms of years past. She was an English teacher who believed that by following the rules of proper grammar, one could present a document to the world that was complete and comprehensive. Her handwriting was all of that.

 

 

 

Her treasured bibles are filled with margin notes – many times sections of songs or poems like the picture above: ‘But I am here, in a world of sin, Saved by his grace divine, to testify that this same Christ, Has changed this life of mine.’ Sometimes I notice just one word underlined in her Bible and I find myself wondering what it was about that word to which she felt a connection. I wonder what it was that was going on in her life when she felt compelled to underline that particular word or phrase. When people write in their bibles, they are revealing just a glimpse – a snapshot – into their thoughts at a given moment in time. Do not allow Perfection or Fear to rob your family and friends of that still-shot window into your life, your struggles, your achievements and your heart. Pick up a tool of choice and write/create/doodle/think out loud on a page. It’s not just a testimony to those of us reading your creations in 2014. It is a testimony to all that will come behind you that God readily uses Imperfection. He steps into our weak places and creates His mission.

 
 

“Come unto me.”
Not – get your act together then come unto me.
Not – go buy that new set of paints then come unto me.
Not – make sure your pages aren’t bleeding through to the other side then come unto me.

 

Just, come unto me.
All who are weary…and I will give you rest.

 
 
 

I have 3 of these handlettered 8×10″ prints from my online shop, Scottie Girl, to give away. I will draw the names on Friday, October 3, from those that leave their name and email address (so I can communicate with you about where to send your prints) in the comments below.

 
Go be brave.
Go be faithful.
Go be willing.
Go be wonderfully and beautifully imperfect!
 
 
 
 
 
Thank you so much Greta for sharing your heart!
– Shanna
29 Comments
  1. Tori Bissell 5 years ago

    Thank you so much for sharing your heart with us. What a blessing to read about someone who similarly struggles with perfectionist but has some great ways to overcome it. I loved seeing your Bible too – and I plan on stealing, stealing, stealing so that the message which might have been unheard can be reheard.

  2. Tiffany 5 years ago

    I love you G & so glad the world will get to see a piece of your beautiful ❤️ as well!

  3. Rebekah L. 5 years ago

    I love everything about this post. So beautiful.
    Rebekah (rebekahdawn_ak@yahoo.com)

  4. Lisca Meijer 5 years ago

    Thank you for being so honest. I loved everything about this post. I read it more than once. I was moved about what you wrote about your mother’s Bible, and seeing her handwriting. I always well up when I see my late father’s (very characteristic) handwriting.
    And trying to be perfect? I’m 63 yrs old and I’ve given up trying to be perfect ages ago. And I feel much better for it I must say.
    Your drawing with the verse on it is beautiful. It’s such a lovely verse. It’s good to be reminded of it every now and then.
    Lisca (olddutch51@outlook.com)

  5. Bonita Rose 5 years ago

    Love all you shared. It’s what we leave behind to others…. one reason I so believe in memory keeping and writing and sharing my art. I want my children to know the real me. Loved this post. Thank you for sharing your life and your heart with us. xo bonitarose my email is bonnieangel1797 at gmail

  6. The Best Decade 5 years ago

    What a liberating post!! My heart just cries out, “YES!!” Thank you so much for your transparency!
    Libbi
    libbi4miti@sbcglobal.net

  7. Lisca Meijer 5 years ago

    Thank you so much for sharing. I loved everything about your post. I read it more than once.
    I like what you wrote about your mother’s Bible and seeing her handwriting. I still well up when I see my late dad’s (very characteristic) handwriting.
    And for being perfect? I’m 63 yrs old now and I gave up trying to be perfect long ago!
    That verse is beautiful. Yes, we all need reminding that He gives us rest and peace.
    Lisca (olddutch51@outlook.com)

  8. BethandCo 5 years ago

    Wow! I have loved your journaling on the FB group, which led me to your fun blog, which led me here today! Thanks for encouraging a recovering perfectionist. I especially loved your comment about considering our art as a “cover band.” Great analogy! I haven’t yet shared anything in the group yet, but you make me feel braver. If you lived near New Orleans, I would totally stalk you and demand we be friends. Seriously, I’m too shy to be a stalker, but I might make an exception on your part! Thanks for reminding us to rest in God’s acceptance of us. I need to hear that constantly! My e-mail is cbethandco@aol.com

  9. Evelin 5 years ago

    thanks for sharing. I find journalling in the bible a great way for me to reconnect with God and I need to let go of perfection too.. haha… I feel the need to make sure things are ‘right’..

    Thanks for your reminder on REST :)

  10. Pam Booher 5 years ago

    Oh MY GOODNESS!! Just what I needed today :) thank YOU Greta and Shanna! I am so BLESSED and INSPIRED by the FB community!!

  11. Cori 5 years ago

    Thank you so much for the transparency and inspiration, Greta! Would love to enter your giveway: theresetgirl@gmail.com. – Cori

  12. Ali Gitt 5 years ago

    Thanks for the inspiration. I love your verse selection and the creations you make in all your mediums. AMAZING!! Thanks for the chance to win one. alifromvalley@hotmail.com

  13. Cheryl Werneth 5 years ago

    I’m not sure what happened to my first reply, so I will be short and leave just a little comment just in case that one did go through :) Thank you for sharing this, it brought back some very special memories of my Grandmother. Cheryl Cheryl.werneth@gmail.com

  14. Love2Scrap 5 years ago

    I really enjoy these posts, as they bring me such peace. The peace I feel is only overshadowed by the wisdom of God’s word. I look forward to these posts to give me guidance. Thanks for sharing!!!!

    Atreece
    Treece172002@yahoo.com

  15. What Bible do you use for journaling? I’d like to find one with lots of space!

  16. Beth Skipper 5 years ago

    Hmmmm, my post seems to have disappeared so I am trying this again. Greta, your post us beautiful. Thank you! Your experiences speak to me. I appreciate that you shared your heart.
    BethSkipper(at)hotmail.(dot)com

  17. Ashley Horton 5 years ago

    So much to connect to, coming from a fellow perfectionist! Love your strategy for breaking out from the pull of perfectionism, and your journaling pages are beautiful!

  18. Robin 5 years ago

    Greta, your post really spoke to me – I am working on my journaling Bible to leave for my kids – hopefully they will love seeing my imperfect handwriting and my attempts at art will make them smile.

  19. Cori Peck 5 years ago

    Thank you. Thank you for sharing your heart. Thank you for connecting with this recovering perfectionist.

  20. Mary-Kay 5 years ago

    I have noticed your posts and pages and been really touched by what you have said each time. I think we are creating our own form of a bible (as Shana talked about a little bit ago) and your contributions are so heartfelt and meaningful. We are learning about God from each of our members. I love it.

  21. Jane Martin 5 years ago

    Greta, how your words resonate with me.. feelings of insecurity, inadequacy… all those “in..” words… NOT what I want to be.. NOT what others want me to be… just NOT. Thank you for sharing from a heart that has learned.. maybe is still learning to embrace the imperfection.. in you and also in me. May the Lord bless your day.. this day!

  22. emma van vuuren 5 years ago

    I Love how you use songs! I’m a perfectionist and I get nervous to make a mistake in my bible but really it’s about my Saviour and dwelling in His word! emma.van.vuuren@gmail.com

  23. Leah Burgett 5 years ago

    Beautiful work! Thanks for the inspiration!! Blnburgett@yahoo.com

  24. Constance 5 years ago

    love your thoughtful tie-in to the work of Brene Brown- condoit@aol.com

  25. Ana Difley 5 years ago

    Thank you for sharing! Love “Go be wonderfully and beautifully imperfect!” anadifley@gmail.com

  26. Marla Garibay 5 years ago

    I love the idea of bible journaling, and can’t wait to get mine to start! Everyone I see is with theirs is so inspiring! Thanks for sharing! ilikexavier@gmail.com

  27. Mechelle Horst 4 years ago

    Greta, Your words are so descriptive and so true. I think that a great way to encourage girls of all ages to meditate on God’s word is to use Journaling as a meditation tool, just don’t call it that. Your words perfectly describe the beauty and the value the creativity process adds to my bible study. Thank you for sharing your heart and your passion for God’s Word. I woud appreciate your prayers as I offer to host a group this summer to encourage this over the summer.

    And I would love to win one of your prints. I’m Mechelle Horst and my e-mail is gmhorst@integrity.com.

    Have a blessed week.

    M

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