Today, I just wanted to share with you some thoughts about getting started with illustrating your faith as I know first-hand that it’s not always an easy process. When I first saw Shanna starting to share her beautiful artwork in her bible back in the summer of 2014, I instantly knew it was something that I wanted to try for myself. Something within me connected deeply to the idea of pairing my love for papercrafting with reading and meditating upon God’s word. Why, then, did it take me until the first day in December to start my own journaling bible and create my very first entry?!
I was scared of messing up God’s word.
I’ve never thought of writing or drawing in the bible a blasphemous act. During my teenage years, I had a youth bible that was highlighted and scibbled in all over the place; in short, well-loved and well-used. To me, anything that makes it easier or more engaging for you to connect with God’s word is a good thing and I’m sure He feels the same. So this was never an issue for me when thinking about starting my own journaling bible. The problem came from within myself and the way I always seem to be striving for perfection. (As a Christian, I realise that this statement is utterly ridiculous but I have always been, and probably always will be, a perfectionist. It’s ingrained within me.) I was fearful of making a mistake and a mess in the most important book I owned. Since I saw journaling in the bible as an act of worship, I wanted that worship to be perfect and without a single flaw. But here’s the thing…I’m NOT perfect. And God doesn’t expect me to be. So why does it matter if something that I create isn’t entirely perfect either? Funnily enough, my very first entry back in December ended with these words: “Remember to let him into the mess of your imperfect life.” That was all the encouragement I needed to get started. And guess what? My first attempt wasn’t perfect at all. The stamping was patchy and my handwriting went a bit weird. But it was real and it was from the heart. And that’s all that matters.
I was worried my entries wouldn’t be “as good” as other people’s.
When I looked at some of the pages that people were producing, with stunning illustrations or beautiful painting techniques, it sort of made me not want to create anything in my bible. I’m not comfortable with paint and I can’t draw, so what hope did I have of living up to the other amazing entries that I had seen? But over time I realised that I was missing the point entirely. It’s not about what other people are doing or can do. God’s not interested in that when it comes to MY relationship with Him. He’s only interested in what I’M going to do in my acts of worship to Him. So I started thinking about what I liked and felt comfortable with. For me, that was stamps and stickers. So that’s what I started using in my bible. And that’s ok. It’s mine and nobody else’s. It should look like mine and not somebody else’s.
So if you’re finding the prospect of getting started with illustrating your faith, I want to encourage you. It’s ok to make mistakes in your bible. You’re not perfect and God knows that. But He loves you. He created you and anything you create for Him, He will love. And don’t worry about what anyone else is doing. Just find what you’re comfortable and stick with that. And have fun with it!