Sometimes I feel disconnected. Like… I am reading the words God is putting in front of me during Bible study, but like they’re not always connecting as well as I’d like. It’s not my comprehension. It’s my worry– it’s the constant string of thoughts on my mind that prevents me from fully disconnecting with the world and connecting with God in that peaceful, calm, quiet moment. As I read, it seems my mind is on a million to-dos, all of the things I haven’t accomplished. And I needed a way to disconnect. I really, truly did. I thought about how much I love to meditate over a coloring page or any other form of art. And then I realized… “I can do that with the Bible. I can have that meditative disconnect between me and the world so I can hear what God is saying to me.” So, I decided to make Bible art journaling a priority.
When it comes time to start art journaling, I’m a huge fan of back to school time because it allows me the opportunity to find some really great products to use for it. That’s why, when I hit up Mardel for back-to-school, I grabbed a stack of LiveOriginal products in Sadie Robertson’s new Dayspring line. If you don’t know Sadie Robertson from Duck Dynasty, you might know her from Dancing with the Stars, or from her amazing, inspired messages that remind teens to stay true to themselves, Live Original, and of course, not conform to what this world is pushing on them. Her message, though largely aimed at teens, is universal. Do good. Live original. Smile, because “there’s no one on earth like you.”
From folders to sticky notes to composition books and journals, the Dayspring Sadie Robertson collection is packed with everything teens need for back to school, but also filled with really great additions if you’re looking for a dreamy, pretty addition to your journaling collection.
I love having a notebook that is pretty on the outside when I fill it with my thoughts on the inside, which makes this inspiring line the perfect choice when I go to journal the verses that are speaking to me most. And things like sticky notes? Well, they’re staples in my life.
To help me disconnect and truly focus on the Word, I sit down with things that blot out the world. I make sure I start my journaling session with everything I might need, so there’s way I need to get up during. I grab some sweet tea, my coloured pencils and sketching pencils, something to take notes with, headphones and a great ambient playlist, and of course, notebooks and sticky notes.
When I tune out to the world and start my study, I jot down verses I really want to remember, or that are especially speaking to my need at that moment. Sometimes, when reading from a study from an author, I’ll write down quotes that I want to remember. I like to do these on sticky notes so I can add my favorites from the study to my art journal, but the rest, I’ll often stick in various places, like my bathroom mirror, to serve as a reminder.
When it comes time to actually art journal, well, I’ll preface by saying that I’m no artist. But the thing is… that isn’t the point, really. It isn’t about art, it’s about that meditative act of putting pencil to paper and making something. Committing it to memory. Contemplating.
I like to start my page by circling the words that really stand out to me on the sticky note, and then writing them in larger letters on the page. I want to give those letters life and personality. I try to do this fairly lightly, because I erase it when I add colour (and often, I’ll completely change the look once I add colour anyway). But, this gives me a rough scale for my words– I’m too OCD to let go completely and free-flow it. If that’s your style, go for it. If it’s not, this is a good starting point for those among us who happen to stay inside the lines a bit more.
From there, I erase my initial lines, one by one, and add in colour, to give each word a mind, a personality of it’s own. Harsh words, like “worry,” I tend to try to convey the emotion with. Same goes for softer words, like “love,”– I want to feel the emotion before I read the word. However, art journaling is really subjective. It’s important that you feel and express your own personal style and thoughts.
Once I’ve finished the large focus words, I go back in and add the rest of the verse or quote where it belongs. I like to sometimes put words close to the word they are paired with in the sentence– so next to worry, I make it clear that it says “do not worry.” Mistakes happen, so don’t worry about perfection– when you’re doing this, you’re doing it for you. No one even has to see it, unless you want them to.
Just… let go. Feel the words. Contemplate what each word means as you place it on the paper, and embrace the thought of it. Take time to peruse other translations of the verse if you’re looking for insight. Use this as a time to explore, as you put pencil to paper. Or paint, or pen, or whatever medium you choose to use.
When you’re done, when you feel like there’s nothing more to add, you’ve done it. You’ve art journaled a verse. For me, though, I like to dive deeper. I take to the opposite page and contemplate– why is this verse or quote speaking to me? For the verse I chose that night- Philippians 4:6- I considered the reason that a verse on worry was speaking to me. I wrote out what I worried about, and I put it in God’s hands. It’s an incredibly powerful and therapeutic thing that I feel like everyone should try, at least once. This is your opportunity to monologue, to put it out there, to say “this is how I feel and why this is speaking to me.” Keep it private, make it public, do what you need to in order to find the meditative thought you need to, but when you’re doing it, first focus on putting uncensored, unstoppable words to page.
Fill one page. Fill 80 pages. Date it, or don’t. Put all of your thoughts about it on the page. Ramble a little. There are no rules.
Seriously. There are no rules.
You want to do this the way YOU want to do it, share what’s on your heart and mind.
No one is reading this unless you want them to. It’s the beauty of private, handwritten journaling. Be original. Be you. Embrace that and tell your own story, put down your own prayer, and just breathe.
And then, close it up. Put it on the shelf. The beauty about the Live Original collection is that the journals are pretty on the outside. No matter what you put on the inside, it’s bound to be pretty, too, if it’s coming from your mind. But I love to display these notebooks, or carry them with me, or keep them on my desk. They’re notebooks I’m proud to put my thoughts into.
Do you have a tip for art journaling, or do you ever journal or jot down verses that have significant meaning to you? Share about it in the comments below.