Have you ever looked back and thought: “my, how far I’ve come”?
I have a Bible that’s made for journaling, writing in the margins, coloring and being creative. I love it. Now that I’ve found some writing tools that don’t bleed through and are fun to use, I think I’ll be spending more time with that specific Bible too. I know it’s not for everyone, but it allows me to spend more time with God’s Word in new ways. It’s kind of like a spinoff of lectio divina (you can find more about that here if you’re interested: https://www.contemplativeoutreach.org/category/category/lectio-divina).
There was a time when I NEVER would have written in my Bible. Never Ever. I remember one of my first Bibles that was bought just for me. I treasured that Bible and spent a lot of time reading it, but I would never have written in it, let alone COLORED or anything. I did get to a point where I would underline or highlight verses, but that was it. It is probably because I was taught as a little kid to not write in books, but to take good care of them. While this is a good practice, it took me a while to come to understand that journaling in a Bible is also a good practice (for me).
Maybe it’s because the adult coloring book thing is so “in” right now, but there are so many creative tools out there for Bible journaling. I’ve always been the type of person who learns better or retains information easier by writing it down. I am a huge note taker, list maker and post-it crazed person. I love writing things down… it makes me feel like I’ll remember more, feel more accomplishment when the list gets checked off, and post-it notes are just fun.
So I treasure my journaling Bible and the creative ways I can study scripture. I still treasure that first Bible too. Maybe more so now because of who chose that particular one for me. It ties back to one of the first pastors I remember, and what an example of a follower of Jesus he was. He was the first pastor I knew that showed the love of Christ in such caring ways. You see, when I was about five-years-old, we moved from Illinois to my mom’s hometown in Ohio because my parents thought it would be safer. I remember well sitting at the kitchen table eating watermelon when the local United Methodist Church pastor came for a visit, to welcome us to the community (back in the day when this was a common practice). Being young, I was enjoying my watermelon quite well, slurping the juice, actually. My dad chastised me for not having good table manners, but the pastor said to let me enjoy my watermelon. For some reason, this has been an important memory for me and my first experience with a pastor that I remember. Of all things – watermelon. But it left an impression. So when I see that Bible on my shelf, I’m reminded of Pastor Gordon and I’m reminded of how even the littlest of things can have a big impact.
I think that’s why I enjoy journaling in my Bible and connecting on that creative level. It helps me to live out my faith more and more, because I’m immersed in the Word more and more. I hope that I can have a positive impact on someone else’s life, just as Pastor Gordon did in mine. Not because I’ve preached a “great sermon” or shared some “profound wisdom,” but because I lived out my faith and someone else saw Jesus – not me, but Jesus shining through me.
How do you connect with scripture? Have you tried different ways of studying God’s Word? If not, why not give it a try? You never know what will click for you and make it seem like you’ve opened a whole new world of opportunity, so you too can think, “my, how far I’ve come.”