Guest post by Neely Beattie
When I’ve talked about Bible journaling in the past, I have mostly talked about all the positive feelings I’ve experienced as a result. However, I feel like I’d be doing you a disservice if I didn’t also talk about some of the negative feelings that you are probably going to encounter in the process as well.
What you’re doing when you’re Bible journaling is a form of worship. It’s something that is going to bring you closer to God and really strengthen your relationship with Him. So, of course, the enemy isn’t going to like that very much, and he’s going to do whatever he can to make you want to quit.
What better way to make you want to quit spending time with God than by making you feel envious, inferior, and rejected?
If he can tempt you to start comparing yourself to others so much that you start to doubt yourself and feel like quitting, then he’s close to success. And we do not want that!!
These feelings are not of God. They’re negative and make you feel horrible. God doesn’t work like that, and He doesn’t make you feel those things. That’s the first thing to remember.
You are human. You are going to experience these feelings, but they do not define you or control you.
Today I want to share some thoughts and verses to help encourage you when the enemy attacks as you look at your Bible pages.
6 Spiritual Attacks
1. Feelings of Doubt
When you’re doing your pages, you might start doubting what you’re doing. Maybe you don’t know if you’re using the right process or the right medium. You might think that what you'redoing isn’t “pretty” enough, and you’re just wasting your time.
Friends, none of that matters.
WHATEVER you’re creating, with WHATEVER you’re using, is beautiful because you’re spending time working on your relationship with God. It doesn’t matter what anyone else is doing or using or creating. THIS is what YOU’RE doing.
Never doubt your abilities because they’re the ones God gave you (Philippians 2:13). He created you in His image. There’s no room for doubt there (Genesis 1:27).
We create and usually share to encourage others and to share what God’s taught us. We look at what others are creating and sharing to be encouraged and to learn, but at the same time, we can start to compare our abilities to others’ abilities.
God has given us our own special abilities and gifts. It’s so important that we, as Abby says, stay in our lane (Romans. 12:6-8).
When we look over into someone else’s, we swerve, lose control, and can’t efficiently do the work that God has equipped us to do (Galatians 6:4).
3. Feelings of Envy
If you’re looking at artwork that others are creating and begin comparing, there’s no doubt you’re going to feel envious at least once. You’re more than likely going to see something someone else has made and wish that you had that talent or skill. Then you may possibly resent the artist, thinking she is more talented than you are.
The only thing envy does is suck the joy out of what YOU’RE doing (Proverbs 14:30).
Envy doesn't allow for truth to grow. It’s only there to destroy it with bitterness. (James 3:14-15)
Any success you find shouldn’t be because you’re motivated by envy; it should be motivated by your desire to know God. (Ecclesiastes 4:4)
It’s also important to encourage others in their gifts (1 Peter 4:10-11).
I know there are times when I don’t want to be encouraging of someone else’s gift because I’m envious that I don’t have it.
Everyone was given her own specific gifts to further God’s kingdom. If we aren’t encouraging others to pursue their gifts and lift them up in them, then aren’t we actually hindering the furthering of the Kingdom of God?
I don’t know about you, but that’s the last thing I want to do!
4. Feeling Inferior
When we’re busy comparing and coveting someone else’s gifts, we usually start to feel inferior. We can begin to feel like our gift isn’t good enough, important enough, or we start to wish we were better at it.
First of all, we have to remember that God doesn’t play favorites (Romans 2:11)! That means He didn’t make you and someone else then think, “Ya know what, I think I’m gonna give Sally THIS gift because it’s better…and I like her better than Neely.”
God made us each individually. He knitted us in the womb. He made us fearfully and wonderfully exactly how we were supposed to be (Psalm 139:14). That means every single part of us…including spiritual gifts and any talents we may have.
Every gift that we have was given to us specifically for the common good.
All of our gifts and talents work together to further God’s kingdom. Just like all the parts of an airplane are important to keep it in the air…no part is more important than another because they all have to work together to make sure the plane works correctly.
We are all a part of one Body that functions together to be the best that it can be (1 Corinthians 12)!
We are all one in Christ (Galatians 3:28)! There is NO ONE greater than someone else.
There is no one that has a more important gift or talent than someone else.
The one you have is YOURS. Embrace it and be proud that God knew with it, you’d do good and that it’s helping God’s kingdom in a way that NO ONE else could!
That’s super cool.
5. Feeling Rejection
Now, you know I love the Instagram community. However, there may be times if you’re posting on social media or sharing with friends, another feeling you might experience is rejection.
If you aren’t getting enough “likes” or if people aren’t following you or if some are rejecting the idea of worshiping through bible journaling all together, you might wonder if the world likes what you’re doing or if you’re just wasting your time.
If this is a feeling you’re struggling with, please remember that if anyone knows how rejection feels, it’s Jesus (Hebrews 4:15)! He feels your pain. He understands, and He empathizes with you.
Also, please remember that your worth doesn’t reside in others, nor do you need their approval of you or anything you’re doing. Your worth is in God and God alone (Ephesians 1:3-6).
Don’t be concerned with the world and what it thinks of you. It doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter if people like your journaling pages or the fact that you’re doing it at all. (Romans 12:2). All that matters is that you’re focusing on your relationship with God and that you’re furthering it through your quiet time with Him.
Who cares what anyone else thinks about it? God LOVES it.
6. Wanting to Quit
If you’ve felt some, or even all, of these things, then you’re probably going to reach the point where you just want to quit. If all you’re feeling is negative things instead of the positive that you were promised when you started, why would you want to keep doing it anyway?
First, re-evaluate the reason that you’re Bible journaling.
If you are Bible journaling to fill all these negative holes or if you’re doing it to impress someone or get someone else’s approval, then you should quit until you can let those reasons go.
I know that probably sounded harsh, but I say that because you’re not doing it for the right reasons. You won’t gain anything from it except the negative things you’re probably feeling, and there’s just no benefit in that (Colossians 3:23).
However, if you’re Bible journaling to worship God, spend time with Him, learn from Him, and grow your relationship with Him, then keep going!
Either way, you are likely to feel these negative feelings, but what you need to do before you decide to quit is evaluate where the feelings are coming from.
If your heart IS in the right place, you very well could be facing spiritual attack.
If you evaluated your intentions and found you’re trying to find your joy and happiness in the wrong places, then the negative feelings are probably stemming from there.
Galatians 6:9 (NLT) says, “So let's not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don't give up.”
These negative thoughts are not from God (Philippians 4:8).
Put on your armor and keep doing what you love (Ephesians 6:10-19).
Do not let the enemy keep you from growing in God. That’s what he wants. He WANTS you to quit. He WANTS you to be discouraged. He doesn’t want you worshipping God or spending any time in the Bible. Don’t let him win!
When you are feeling negative, not only about bible journaling but about anything in life, remember Philippians 4:13. You can do ANYTHING through Him who gives you strength.
Cast your cares on Him. Hand these thoughts and discouragements over to Him and let Him take them from you (Psalm 55:22).
He doesn’t want you to feel like you aren’t good enough. He wants you to know that you ARE.
We are all equal to Him. No one is better than another. No one has a better gift or talent than someone else. We are all loved by Him. We are all chosen by Him. Wrap yourself up in those sweet, warm truths.
Before I close, I want to reiterate some very important things.
If you’re feeling any of the above feelings or any other negative things, friend, please remember that these feelings are NOT FROM GOD. They do not define you. They are not the truth.
Whatever your spiritual gift, embrace it.
If you don’t think your art is good enough, know that it is because your heart is in it.
If you think you aren’t good enough, you might not be ALONE, but you’re plenty in Him.
If you’re doubting yourself, don’t. Because He never has (John 15:16).
If you’re feeling rejected, remember God accepts you (Psalm 94:14).
If you feel like giving up, find your strength in Him (Philippians 4:13).