My Bible Journalling Journey

My Bible Journaling Journey

 I’m an avid doodler. I doodle when I’m thinking, reflecting on things or when trying to concentrate. I doodle to remember things and, as a primary teacher often told children to draw something to help them remember. I never thought it was a particular skill or use until two years ago when I stumbled across some beautiful bible artwork on Instagram. I got caught for a long time looking through the artwork of Illustrated Faith and others alike. I was led to the thought: my doodles could actually be worth something. Not of monetary value but memory value.

The next day, I bought a bible with a column for notes and journaling. The name of this exciting doodling, I had now discovered, was ‘Bible Journaling’.  In short, Bible Journaling is drawing or writing about particular verses of the bible. It’s a creative way to study the bible in a personal way. We are all called to study His Word (2 Timothy 3: 16-17) and, for me, it’s a way for me to document my faith journey. It’s also a way to glorify God by using one of my gifts from Him. 

That being said, I don’t think you have to be (and I’m certainly not) an artist to try Bible Journaling. I know many people who just like to write verses out next to the page to help them remember and, actually, some of my worst artwork is my most memorable. You can journal in a separate notebook or in a bible like mine with an extra column. Share it with friends or keep it to yourself. Draw, write, colour, stick in photos, printed pictures or not. It’s such an opportunity to be creative. 

I personally take notes in sermons and, when reflecting on them throughout the week, generally choose one sentence or a few bullet points and write them by the verses we’ve been looking at. I journal Christian song lyrics, thoughts from books I’m reading... whatever is meaningful and helps to bring me closer to God. 

To begin with, I was quite a perfectionist. I would look at Instagram and Pinterest and think ‘mine have to look exactly like that’. Although I was copying beautiful artwork (which still had a great message), it was not as meaningful to me as it is now. I’ve learnt to pick up up key points and remind myself to apply these things in my life. An example of this is Sam’s talk on John 4 (20th May 2018 if you want to find the recording!). Sam talked about Jesus breaking the social norm and asking for water. Even through this he found opportunity to share the gospel. To quote Sam here: ‘awkward is better than silent’. I remember this because I wrote it in my notebook at church, I wrote it in pencil in my bible, I wrote over it in pen, I decorated the page and now, it stands out when I flick through my bible so I’ve probably read it about 20 times. I’ve learnt that this is the important bit, remembering what I hear and putting it into practice. Months later, asking my colleague for a cup of tea and mentioning that I’m going to small group; I remember. I’m being awkward but at least I’m not silent. 

Setting up an Instagram account with the sole purpose of sharing my journaling with my cousin (also a journaler) had quite a surprising result! Lots of my friends, colleagues, ex colleagues and whole hosts of people began following. It became a bit more real to some people and a conversation starter. For some, the bible is just an old book and this is my way of challenging that belief by sharing its relevance and realness in my life today. 

Sometimes my pen will leak through to the next page, I’ll stamp the date over my writing, I will stick things in wonky, I have TWICE not noticed that the wind has turned my page when journalling outside and journaled on the wrong page. But through the journey I have learnt to enjoy the experience, use it as a time of reflection and to listen to what God has to say to me and others. I would encourage you to have a go or find your own way to reflect and meditate on God’s Word. 

 By Beth Lawrence