There are things in life that are great on their own, but when paired together, something magical happens.
peanut butter & jelly
coffee & donuts
Nutella & pretty much anything
(I just realized that I skipped breakfast.)
faith & creativity
And that pairing is what Illustrated Faith is all about. My friend Shanna Noel started this movement that has merged the love of art with the love of God.
(Here's a pic of Shanna & me from the Illustrated Faith workshop I attended this past weekend. I think I was in need of a little siesta at this point.)
You can read more about Illustrated Faith here... but here it is in its simplest form: Add art (paint, drawings, stamps, stickers, etc.) to the pages of a journaling Bible as a form of worship. There are no rules & you don't have to be an artist. Everyone's take on it is unique. It's just expressing your faith & journey through color & words & images.
I just joined in recently, but I've followed Shanna's posts about Illustrated Faith from the very beginning. I thought it was a unique idea, but honestly, I wasn't quite sure if it was for me. I was reluctant to try it out for myself because many of the pages I saw posted were done by seasoned art journalers, full of paint techniques and things a little out of my comfort zone. I thought it was great for them, but I wasn't sure if I would get the same fulfillment out of it.
But... I'm always game for trying out something new & I knew I needed something to help me feel more inspired to read my Bible. I don't know how many times I've chastised myself for not reading the word more often.
I bought a journaling bible & it arrived all crisp & pristine... and stark black. It just screamed, "don't mess me up!" It was kind of intimidating. So the first thing I did was cover the front. I printed out text that was meaningful to me onto some scrapbooking paper (a vintage Studio Calico print that I've hoarded) and immediately, a piece of my fear crumbled away.
I moved on to the second page & tried out an idea & it completely smeared all over the place. And yes, I know that my journaling Bible is between me & God & I shouldn't care if it's a mess, but I also know me & I knew that it would bother me and become a stumbling block later down the road.
So, I went with plan B & covered the whole thing with patterned paper and it turned into something even better than my original plan. Instantly I thought - what a metaphor for my life! We come to God all imperfect and messy & he covers us and makes something beautiful.
I also designed some tabs for the side of my Bible & cut them out with my Silhouette. (I used clear printable sticker sheets.) I like being able to find what I'm looking for quickly & these were just the trick!
P.S. if you have the Silhouette, the PixScan is amazing & made this project so much easier!
So then it was time to really dive in. This was my first entry and the page that opened my eyes to what Illustrated Faith was really about.
I understood the idea behind Illustrated Faith in my mind & I understood the love of creativity in my heart... but when these two things blended together, something magical happened in my spirit. And that, my friends, is why I am so excited about this movement. I want everyone to experience what I experienced!
It's hard to explain, but when you read God's word & ponder it in your heart & then let your hands create, something big happens.
I can't tell you why something clicked in my spirit for sure. Maybe it's because I'm spending more time being quiet & thinking about what I just read? Or maybe it's because I'm a visual learner? But then again, maybe it's because I'm finally being allowed to express my worship in a way that I was designed.
I just read the first entry in the Illustrated Faith "You Are Enough" devotional & it's all about understanding that there are so many parts to the body of Christ. One person might be the head & another the hands. We all have different strengths & weaknesses & we just need to be what we were designed to be. We are enough. And not only enough - we are beautiful & perfect in Him!
If you've thought about trying out a journaling bible, I wholeheartedly encourage you to do so. You don't have to be an artist. You just have to be willing to give God what you have. Use whatever "voice" that you have & make a joyful noise. I truly believe that this can be an amazing & meaningful journey for you as you document your faith.