I love my Bible. But let me be more specific… I have FALLEN more in love with my Bible than I’ve ever been before. Y’all, I grew up in the church. I’m a pastor’s kid, I went to a Christian university, and I married a pastor. I’m a Bible-believin’ church girl through and through. But I haven’t always loved my Bible the way I do now.
I’m gonna be really honest. I got a journaling Bible in February of 2015 because I saw it on Instagram. (Yup. You read that right…. Oh, come on. You know you’ve done it before too!) I saw all the cute and fancy things all these crafty girls were doing in their journaling Bibles, and I wanted to imitate it. So I went straight to Amazon and ordered the Bible. I “needed” it. It’s what all the cool Christian girls were doing. When it came in the mail, I opened it up and flipped through the big, blank pages, and it felt SO DAUNTING to me. I instantly felt pressure, I felt inadequate, I felt no creativity, I felt dumb. I starting thinking, “Why did I get this? I can’t be all cute and crafty like them. I can’t write pretty or draw pictures. I don’t have a giant collection of art supplies. I don’t have an hour to sit down and make one page of this giant bible look beautiful.”
And because of that pressure, those feelings of inadequacy, I went through a season when that journaling Bible would mostly just sit. I came to a place where I didn’t feel like simply reading my Bible was enough. I felt like I needed to make it pretty and Instagram-worthy, and I knew I couldn’t do that, so I was honestly too afraid to open it up at all. I would use another Bible if I was going to read, but honestly, even that wasn’t happening very often. Why? Because I was making the time I spent in God’s word about ME. About my appearance. About the way I measured up to other people. My motives were way out of line.
I’m so thankful God walked with me through that confusion and led me to a place where I know sincerely that His Word is for my heart and not my Instagram. Bible journaling is all the craze right now, and I love that because people are in the Word of God, sharing the Word of God, and loving the Word of God! It’s awesome! I love following all the crafty Bible-journalers because their beautiful photos inspire me to open my own Bible. But it doesn’t look the same for all of us, and that’s okay. God cares more about the state of our hearts than the style of our Bible.
I have learned that it’s okay if I can’t hand letter beautiful sayings in the margins of my Bible. It’s okay to write messy notes when God is speaking to me. It’s totally fine if I use a red pen on this page and a purple pen on the next. It is not the end of the world if I misspell a word and have to correct it. It’s okay if my pages aren’t covered in art and paint and washi tape and stamps. My time in the Bible isn’t about how pretty I can make my Bible. God’s word is already as beautiful as it will ever be, even more beautiful than I will ever be able to comprehend. My time in the Bible is about unwrapping that beauty one book, one story, one scripture at a time. It’s about hearing from my Father, and learning more about Him. It should be completely authentic.
Y’all, the Bible is so far from intimidating. It’s inviting. It is literally God’s way of calling you to know Him more. He’s waiting for you to crack it open and just read. Rest in His word. Allow him to speak to your heart. Listen for the way He’ll reveal more of Himself to you. I promise, if you open your Bible with a heart that is bent toward His voice rather than your artistic abilities, He will speak. THEN you will have things you can’t help but jot down in the margins. Scriptures will pop out to you that you can’t help but highlight and underline. Stop making it about you, and start making it about Him.
Because I want you to take something practical away from this post, I’ve come up with a few reflection questions for you to consider as you continue digging into God’s Word. Jot them down in your journal, take a screenshot, or copy and paste them into a note on your phone…I encourage you to somehow really take some time to genuinely reflect on and answer these questions for yourself.
3 QUESTIONS TO HELP YOU CHECK YOUR MOTIVES BEFORE YOU OPEN YOUR BIBLE
- Do I feel intimidated when I open my Bible or when I think about opening my Bible? If so, why? Remember God’s word isn’t intimidating, it’s inviting. He’s wants to meet you on those pages and breathe life into your heart.
- What are my motives for opening my Bible? Am I opening my Bible to know more about God or to attempt to make it beautiful? We cannot enhance the beauty of God’s word. It’s already more beautiful than we can even comprehend. Focus your intentions on unwrapping that beauty one book, one story, one page at a time.
- Why am I hesitant to write in my Bible? Who am I journaling for in my Bible, myself or someone else (i.e. social media)? Write what he speaks to you. Write what sticks out to you. Write what you’re learning or how you can apply it. Who cares if it’s sloppy, slanted, or misspelled? It’s for YOU! I bet you won’t regret it when you have those notes to look back on in a few months or even a few years.
For details on the tools I use and love for studying my Bible, click here.