Guest post by Neely Beattie
It’s been a few months since I shared with you what Bible Journaling is and how to start Bible journaling. I pray that those blog posts encouraged you to dip your toes into the creative world of worship!
However, you may be sitting here a few months down the road and find yourself a little stuck. I’ve been in this same situation many times over the past year and a half. I’ve actually had a tough few months recently, creatively speaking.
Every time I sat down to read, I found myself having a really hard time concentrating. I couldn't focus on the words, the meaning, what I was supposed to learn, and I definitely couldn't concentrate enough to know what I was supposed to journal.
I believe 100% that bible journaling should be spirit led, so when I’m not feeling it, I just don’t do it.
I know that I still need to spend time with God. For almost 2 years, bible journaling has been my favorite way to do that. I have realized though, that sometimes even when I’m not forcing it, I actually am.
Sometimes I read and listen really hard, too hard maybe, for what I’m supposed to learn or hear. I talk to myself and God, looking for what it is I’m supposed to take away from that day, so I can paint it. And I think sometimes I’m going about it all wrong.
There are times when I believe I can’t journal a page if there isn’t something that goes with it like a lesson, an encouraging word, or a story, and sometimes that can defeat the purpose because it makes it a little stressful or it makes me not do it at all.
There are often times that I just feel overwhelmed by life and things going on, and really those are the times I probably need to journal the most. However, feeling like I have 1,000 internet tabs open in my brain doesn't lend itself well to any type of concentration. Those are some of the times that I find myself stuck.
As I've struggled through this season, I've found some ways to help me get un-stuck. I pray they will help you as well.
Tips for Getting Unstuck
Just say “Thank you”
If you’re feeling the need to spend some time with God, but you can’t concentrate on anything else, find a verse of praise and just spend some time thanking God for being Him! This is one of my favorite ways to still Bible journal but not have to concentrate on anything except God! It lets me get my mind off the stresses of life and focus purely on God's goodness!
Listen to a worship song
When I just cannot sit down and concentrate on reading words but still need to hear a good message, I listen to music. This is a great time to crank up your favorite worship music and just feel it in your heart!! God can speak to you in many ways, not just written words. Find a song that speaks to your heart, seek a verse to go with it, and reflect on that as you paint or draw.
Give Yourself Time
Let the things you are painting come to you naturally. If it doesn’t feel like an idea you’ve had was something that came easily, sit on it for a few days to make sure you aren’t forcing your art worship time.
Reflect and Pray
You might not be feeling inspired by your latest reading or sermon because God wants you to reflect on what you read or heard. On occasion, we can’t just jump in feet first into a page because we haven’t quite learned what God was teaching us yet. Give yourself a day or two and come back to it after you’ve talked to God about it.
Journal and Pray
From time to time, you just need to get. it. out! When I'm feeling really overwhelmed, writing things down is the only way I feel like I can get it out of my brain. So, I will get my prayer journal and write down all of the things that are bothering or overwhelming me in the form of a prayer.
More often than not, this helps me really figure out what I'm having issues with and when I write it down, it makes me feel like I'm officially handing it off. It's out of my head and down on paper, given to Him! It also very often sparks ideas on what I need to seek wisdom about, and in turn, I journal whatever I gain from that.
Take a break
I definitely believe that you get the most out of bible journaling when you add it to your daily routine, but sometimes that isn’t possible or isn’t what is most important for you at the moment. Keep up with your prayers, daily conversations with God, church and Bible studies, but focus more on the time you spend with Him than the art you could be making from that time.
Maybe instead of creating your own art, you may want to be creative and color someone else's art while meditating on the Word.
It's important that we remember the focus isn't our art but our heart!
These are just a few ways to try and get out of the rut you feel like you’re in when you’re bible journaling. If you have any tips, I would love to hear them!