Perfect pages are not possible. Believing you can reach perfection in your creative worship (or anything else for that matter) is not realistic. This will be one of the most important Bible journaling tips you ever learn. Please know that what I’m about to tell you is spoken in the deepest kind of love. I promise.
For we all stumble in many ways. And if anyone does not stumble in what he says, he is a perfect man, able also to bridle his whole body.”
~James 3:2 ESV
It took a long time after I realized that very thing, for it to actually sink in. But once it did, my Bible journaling and faith art (and life) changed dramatically. I realized that accepting my flaws actually made me a better Bible journalist. Because of this revelation, I became more confident in what and how I created.
I also discovered that I didn’t really want perfect art anyways. Let me rephrase that. I did not want to CREATE perfect art. We all know if we want something to be precise or perfect, we simply use our computers or other tools, invented specifically for making things exact. Making things perfect. Computers are great when we want a bunch of identical flyers or when we want things symmetrical and completely measured out.
My faith and Bible art will never be without flaw. I will never be without flaw. The unfiltered truth is I now accept and expect those flaws or as I affectionately like to call them, the “uglies.” Let me encourage you by sharing how I forged through my artistic flaws and learned to embrace my “uglies.”
Perfection Is Overrated
Let’s start with WHY? Last year, I asked myself why I so arrogantly felt that I could ever reach any kind of perfection in my Bible art and journaling. Of course, I know that I’m a sinner. I am flawed. I do not have the ability to be perfect, so why?
For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,”
~Romans 3:23 ESV
It’s true. We all should do our very best in all we do, all for the glory of God. But ask yourself, “Does God say my best and perfection are one and the same?” “Does our Lord expect the things we do to be flawless?” “Does He expect His children to never make mistakes?” Of course not. So ask yourself, “Why do we?”
Beauty Is In The Eye…
Know this. Art.is.subjective. Many times, though, a flaw or mistake or wobbly stroke of a paint brush can be considered a lovable imperfection. The “uglies” can sometimes give character and uniqueness to whatever you are creating. As we create, our work should have distinct style and original characteristics. If we all create perfect little pages, all perfectly the same, what is original or distinct about that? The Creator has made each one of us different. We are all originals. Pray to the Lord that he gives you the desire for originality.
So when I talk about my uglies, I’m referring to anything I don’t particularly like about my page. Sometimes I’ll be working in my Bible and something comes along (hand letters, straight lines, doodles, etc.) that looks nothing like the idea I have pictured in my head. Sometimes, no matter how hard I try, my wonky, bouncy hand-lettering does not look like those from an Illustrated Faith kit.
There are often instances when I accidentally place the side of my hand in paint and then choose to work on another area of the page, resting my paint covered hand directly onto the page. BTW, you can probably find these kinds of “uglies” on nearly every page I paint. LOL. There are also times I’ve thought I had a pretty good idea for illustrating a verse(s), but the finished page ends up lackluster.
I remember when I first started journaling, I would watch these extraordinary tutorials on Rebekah R. Jones’ website. Her artwork is amazing, and she always makes the process appear incredibly easy. Then I would run out to purchase Neocolor 2 crayons or Inktense blocks and immediately attempt what she created in her videos, without success.
The fact is many of us are trying to learn about new mediums and techniques, and we’re learning on the pages of our journaling Bibles. Trust me. I have more than my share of “uglies” that occurred when I just didn’t know what I was doing. There is no clear-cut definition and it can refer to anything you consider flawed (in your own art).
“I have too many flaws to be perfect. But I have too many blessings to be ungrateful.”
He Doesn’t Care About Your Uglies
My desire to use faith and Bible art as creative worship has always kept me excited about HIS WORD. It’s never been about the art for me. As I’m sure you’ve heard 100 times, it’s about the heart.
God is not waiting for us to draw/paint/color these over-the-top stellar pages. He is overjoyed just to be spending time with His child. You! He loves His time with us, especially when we’re worshipping Him and glorifying His name. He doesn’t notice our “uglies.” He doesn’t see the flaws in us.
How To FOCUS
I know it’s difficult to accept these flawed pages when every day you browse a bah-zillion Pinterest gallery-worthy pins that are hollering “you’re not good enough!”
Hear me! And hear the Lord tell you…
When I am creating in my journaling Bible, I try to remain IN the Word and WITH my God. If I find myself focusing too long on the artistic process, I take a break and often pray. I ask the Lord to remove my spirit of perfection. After all, Bible journaling is about creatively worshipping HIM, not about worshipping creativity.
Ask yourself, “why am I journaling in my Bible?” Though there is no right or wrong way to Bible journal, there is only ONE reason I started and continue to journal.
I journal to grow closer to my Heavenly Father. That’s it. Everything about it leads me closer to Him. Meditating and learning the Word. Praying. Praising Him. Talking to Him about everything from serious personal problems to the mundane day-to-day decisions I make.
No. There is not a step-by-step instruction manual that will give you all you need to embrace your “uglies.” The truth of it is, there is only one step to transform your feelings about your flawed creations.
#1 – Look to Him!
The purpose for this post is to remind us “why” we Bible journal. It is meant to encourage you to embrace your “uglies,” in art and in life.
Throughout this post I’ve included photographs of some Bible pages that I include on my Uglies List. Do you have any pages you’ve refused to post on Instagram? Do you have pages you skip over when showing a friend your journaling? Take that one and only step. Look to God and share your uglies.
If you have “uglies” that you want to embrace, and feel may be an encouragement to others, please email us a picture of the page so we may share it with our community. If you choose to post your “uglies” yourself, please use the tags #embracetheuglies and #acceptingmyflaws so they are easy for others to find.
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