Guest post by Neely Beattie
“Comparison is the thief of joy.” Theodore Roosevelt
Comparison is an ugly game that we all have played at least once in our lives (but more realistically, probably daily).
Envy is usually the result.
We all know that envy is not fun and God isn’t a fan of it.
The internet makes it worse.
It can encourage you and discourage you in the same breath.
We know what everyone is doing, or at least what they want us to know (the good things).
It’s so easy to scroll and scroll and have disappointment and jealousy grow with every thumb swipe.
Bible journaling is one of those things that can very easily make you discouraged. Here you are trying your best to worship and find encouragement and all that you find is that you’re disappointed.
I have been there…often. In fact, that’s the whole reason I’m writing this.
Just the other day, I was scrolling through Instagram looking at other people’s gorgeous Bible pages, reading their inspiring captions, and I got this twinge of “I’m not _________ enough.” You can fill that in with anything.
And believe me, the devil will try to force you to fill that blank.
The thing is, the devil may try to convince you that you’re not good enough for whatever reason, but God knows you ARE good enough, and He wants you to believe it, too!
I have had so many people tell me that they don’t want to start Bible journaling because they can’t draw, they know it won’t be perfect, they’ve seen other people’s pages and they'll never look like theirs. I could go on and on.
You can find all the reasons in the world to not like your artwork or worse not even try to make any.
But my friend, if you’re trying to create art that they’ll hang up in the Smithsonian, then your focus is all wrong.
The reason that you are making these pages is so you can spend time with God, learn from His word and worship Him.
And Bible journaling is a type of worship, just like singing.
I’m horrible at singing but that doesn’t stop me from worshiping Him in my car on the way to get Jackson from school.
There are a million people who can sing better than me, but God doesn’t compare my abilities with theirs. He doesn’t cover His ears and will me to stop. He’s just happy I’m there and that I’m trying.
That same thought goes for your Bible pages. So maybe you’re no Van Gogh, but why let that stop you from worshipping God through your artwork? God will think it’s beautiful because it’s coming from your heart.
Listen, Bible journaling isn’t for everyone for a lot of different reasons. That’s completely okay! I just want to encourage you to not let thinking you’re not good enough keep you from trying.
I couldn’t figure out where to put the underside of the banner where it looked like it folded under. No matter how many tutorials I read, no matter how many times I drew and re-drew, I always seemed to put them in the wrong place.
You may look at the pages that other people are doing and THINK they are perfect, but I’m telling you right now that they aren’t. And unfortunately, they’re playing the comparison game just as much as you are.
I have been Bible journaling for almost 2 years and here’s a page that I did the other day that isn’t perfect. I spelled remember wrong and I shared it on my Instagram anyway.
Believe me, I didn’t share because I wanted to (The fact that remember was spelled wrong REALLY bothered me. A lot guys, a lot), but because God really spoke to me through my study that day, I wanted to share what I learned in hopes that it encouraged someone else.
I couldn’t let the fact that it wasn’t perfect in a human's eyes keep me from sharing some heavenly truths.
I do things like this all the time. I smudge paint, misspell words, spill water, and sometimes I’ll get done with a page, and it isn’t what I envisioned at. all. But, I’m not making them to impress other people.
I want to please God.
I want to grow and learn from Him. Using art to worship Him is how I do these things the best, whether they’re pretty and perfect or they’re not. And you never know, it might be how you do them best too.
How will you know if you never try?
When you’re feeling comparison creep in, whether it’s with your artwork or just life in general, here are some verses to pray over so you remember Who it is you’re really creating (and living) for.
5 Verses to Help You Overcome Comparison in Your Bible Journaling Pages
1. Galatians 1:10 (NIV)
“Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ.”
2. Galatians 6:4 (NIV)
“Each one should test their own actions. Then they can take pride in themselves alone, without comparing themselves to someone else”
3. Romans 12:6 (MSG)
“Let's just go ahead and be what we were made to be, without enviously or pridefully comparing ourselves with each other, or trying to be something we aren’t.”
4. Colossians 3:2 (NIV)
“Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.”
5. 1 Corinthians 3:3 (NIV)
“You are still worldly. For since there is jealousy and quarreling among you, are you not worldly? Are you not acting like mere humans?”
Please don’t let the fear of failure keep you from trying (I’m pretty sure Abby wrote a blog post about this very thing). Not just Bible journaling, but anything that you want to do!
God doesn’t care about how pretty your flowers are or how legible your lettering is. God cares that you’re seeking Him, spending time with Him, learning from Him and setting your sights on Him.
I think that when you focus on Him, He will bless you greatly…and who knows, you might just find a new hobby that you really love.