Do you feel pressure to perform when you open up your Journaling Bible? A heavy weight to create something as glorious as the pictures on social media? To create something outstanding for our great God? Does fear of failure keep you from even opening your Bible?
I see those head nods!
Hiya, friend. I’m Lauren Lanker from The Thinking Closet, and I’m nodding right there with you. You are so not alone. My perfectionism has gotten the best of me more times than I can count, paralyzing me from ever beginning. Filling me with self-doubt. Stifling my creativity.
Why try if you might fail, right?
It’s why I refused to perform in my piano recital in middle school.
It’s what sent me to the bathroom floor in tears at Guys & Dolls auditions in high school.
It’s what kept me silent during so many discussions in my college English classes.
And when my brand new Journaling Bible arrived on my doorstep in March of 2015, my perfectionism threatened to hold me back from ever cracking open the cover. From ever having the courage to make a mark with my pen in those two-inch wide margins…not to mention a brush stroke!
But deep in my heart of hearts, I knew God wanted more for me. I knew that He wanted to free me from my fear of failure. Free me from the pressure to be perfect.
In Galatians 5:1, the apostle Paul writes,
“It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.”
My perfectionism, my fears, my deep need for approval, were taken to the cross with Jesus. I don’t need to be enslaved to them any longer. None of us do.
God grants us permission to be free!
With this truth in mind, I opened up my new Journaling Bible and decided to make a bold declaration of that permission on the inside cover. About what this Bible would be for (asking hard questions and making mistakes) and what this Bible would NOT be for (perfection or impressing others).
And I even spelled out some possibilities for what might happen on the pages ahead…they might bleed through. Or rip. Or be ugly.
I called them my permission pages.
And the act of creating them really did set me free to dive head-first into Bible Journaling…and three-and-a-half years later, I’m more in love with God and His Word than ever. And the freedom I’ve experienced in the margins of my Bible is so sweet!
This freedom is yours for the taking, too, my friend.
And I’m just bursting at the seams to share that I got to collaborate with the amazing Shanna Noel to create something special just for you–something to help set you free from fear and perfectionism and all that holds you back from engaging with God in scripture. And it launches in the Illustrated Faith Print & Pray Shop today!
It’s called the Permission Pages Devotional Kit and includes 6 pages of digital downloads to support you in creating your own set of permission pages where you can boldly declare that permission you’ve been granted by God to be free!
Those six pages include a one day devotional where I share a story from my college acting class when I first learned the powerful practice declaring permission. You’ll also get a slew of title starters in the beautiful brush lettering of Katy Girl Designs, wordfetti, and colorful art elements for you to layer and use as inspiration for your permission pages.
In creating the Permission Pages kit for you all, we wanted to give you lots of options to get you started, but our hope is that they would spark your creativity so you can really make your pages your own. Pages that celebrate your favorite colors or art supplies. That feature your messy handwriting. Or the truth from God that He has put on your heart right now.
There are endless possibilities to what your pages might look like. And where they might end up! Maybe your permission pages are in the front of your Bible, too. Or maybe they are in a notebook. Or atop scripture passes like Galatians 5:1.
Wherever they land, may the act of creating them help set you free from the shackles that hold you back from knowing God intimately. May they serve as a reminder that we don’t need to have our act together first before meeting Him in His Word. We don’t need all the fancy supplies. Or hand-lettering skills. We just have to show up.
“Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you.” -James 4:8
I don’t call myself a perfectionist anymore. Instead, I like to use the term “recovering perfectionist.”
Because even though I still have moments of panic when my paint accidentally drenches 50 Bible pages at once–or when I use the wrong pen, and it turns into Smear Fest 2018–or when that yellow paint is more of a “Grey Poupon” than I had expected–God has been at work to redeem my broken bits. To silence the lie that I need to be perfect to earn His approval. Or at least close to perfect. Or at least earning likes on Instagram.
In John 8, starting in verse 31, Jesus says,
“If you abide in my Word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free. … So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.”
The more we open up that Bible cover, the more we abide with God in His Word and allow His truth to fill our minds, the more we will experience God’s permission to be free. The less we will care about the creation…and the more we will fall in love with the Creator.
Freedom awaits us, my friend. Let’s be free indeed!
P.S. I would love to see how you’re declaring freedom on your permission pages! Tag me on Instagram @ThinkingCloset and tag your posts with the hashtag #if_permissionpages. That way, we can all cheer you on!
P.P.S. Curious to see the kit up close and in action? I made a process video for you!
Additional Supplies: Avery 18665 Clear Full Sheet Shipping Labels | Sakura Koi Watercolor Field Sketch Set | Glad Press’n Seal Plastic Food Wrap | assorted acrylic paints | FaberCastell PITT artist pen | Stayz-On Ink Pad in black | Hero Hues Ink Pad in “unicorn” white | Clear Acrylic Block | Sakura Color Micron Pens | Heidi Swapp Date Stamp | Uni-Ball Signo White Gel Pen