“Art Enables Us to Find Ourselves and Lose Ourselves at the Same Time”

….that’s what Thomas Merton, writer of more than 70 books on spirituality, told us. And it has been my experience too!

I do not consider myself an artist in the traditional sense of the word – I’m not a skilled painter and I certainly cannot draw to save my life.  But I absolutely consider myself an artist in a non-traditional sense.  My favorite art medium is food.  I love playing with food and presenting food in new and beautiful ways.  And I love taking photographs.  And, even though I’m not a skilled painter, I love working with watercolors and I enjoy my attempts at drawing (even if I’m not always satisfied with the outcome).  For me, art is about the journey….not the destination.

Why am I writing about this today?  Because I’ve been blessed with a unique opportunity to lead a session at a women’s retreat this Saturday – the topic – Praying in Color (Bible Journaling/Art Worship/Active Prayer).  I am not an expert on the subject, but I have a passion for it and I love introducing people to new ways of developing their relationship with God. And today I’m making my final preparations.  I’m packing my supplies and notes and examples (such as they are) and all the while I’m talking with God – asking for His guidance, His wisdom, His agenda.

And in packing my things I’ve realized there just isn’t enough time to cover the subject and there are only so many handouts I can give people before they get overwhelmed.  So I thought I’d use the blog as a place to link to some tools I think are important not only for praying in color, but for spending time with God in general.  This is not an exhaustive list of links, but a jumping off point.

FEELINGS WHEEL

One tool I’ve learned to rely on for prayer is The Feelings Wheel, which was developed by Dr. Gloria Wilcox.  Some of you out there are very in touch with your feelings, and for you this tool may seem unnecessary.  But others of us have learned to ignore our feelings and have spent so many years doing so that the idea of identifying a feeling is as difficult as learning to speak a foreign language.  Often we are asked how we feel about something and we respond with what we THINK about it rather than how we FEEL about it because owning or expressing our feelings to others (and sometimes to ourselves) can be scary.

The feelings wheel can help us get more specific about vague feelings, can help us trace the root of our feelings and can help us look at opposites on the wheel and realize that perhaps we’re mad because we’re feeling powerless, etc.

I would urge you to research The Feelings Wheel and use it when you’re trying to identify your emotions.

SCRIPTURE DIAGRAMMING WORKSHEET

I’m a vvvvveeeeerrrrryyyyy literal person and sometimes I need help to discern what a particular scripture is about and or what God is speaking to me through a scripture.  A tool that helps me distill the meaning of what I’m reading when I read my Bible is the Scripture Diagramming Worksheet.  Once I am able to get to the heart of a scripture, I have an easier time visualizing how I want to journal about it.  Visit Pink Paper Peppermints for more information!

HEARING THE VOIDE OF GOD

I wish I kenw to whom to attribute this work, however I received this one page worksheet in a class I took and there is no information on its origin.  But, even without the appropriate attribution I think it’s important to include this helpful information.  Because many of us are not confident in our ability to discern the voice of God, we can dismiss important messages from Him.  Over the hears, this worksheet has helped remind me how to discipher the messages that I hear.

Hearing the Voice of God

BIBLE JOURNALING WEBSITES

Again, this is not an exhaustive list, but rather some of my favorite sources of inspiration.

Dots & Dust.  Angeline’s site includes a Bible Journaling section, great examples, monthly freebies, links to free facebook live classes, great techniques and more.

Illustrated Faith.  Shanna Noel is a name widely recognized in the Bible Journaling world.  Her site is chock full of ideas, examples, techniques, tools, freebies, information and inspiration.

PitterAndGlink.  Bethany’s site has a whole section about Bible Journaling – including lovely examples, free printables, reviews of supplies, and much more!

OTHER

Lifeway.  I’d encourage you to visit Lifeway either online or in person (there’s a store in Harrisburg) for all kinds of Christian resources including, but not limited to Bible Journaling supplies.  However, they do have a lovely selection of journaling Bibles, coloring Bibles, bible journaling devotionals, etc.

Pinterest, Instagram and Other Social Media Visit lots of different sites for inspiration.  You’ll find styles and ideas and techniques you never imagined!

Lyrics.com – I love using song lyrics in my illustrations, but I like to make sure I have them right – there’s nothing more embarrassing than singing (or illustrating) the wrong words to a song!  No Patty, the lyrics to Deep Purple’s famous 70s song are not “Slow Cousin Walter,” but rather “Smoke on the Water!”

Biblestudytools.com is one of many tools out there to help you find scriptures in multiple translations and commentaries on scriptures as well. Often I need to read more than one version of a scripture to fully comprehend the meaning of it.  And just as often, I like to read a scholar’s take on the scripture too to help me see things I might otherwise have missed.

Blue Letter Bible is another tool I like to help study scriptures.  Blue Letter Bible “was established in the mid1990’s, at the beginning of the technological revolution.” The “blue letter” in the title refers to web links you click to learn more information!

There are many more tools and resources available, but these are just a few that I use when illustrating scriptures, praying in color, worshiping through art, journaling the bible and/or actively praying!

I’d encourage you to PLAY with different techniques when you spend time with God.  Sometimes moving your hands while creating art (or other parts of your body while hiking or running, etc.)  stills your mind in a way that sitting still and listening intently cannot.  If you’re anything like me, when you sit still your mind races a million miles a minute and you have trouble focusing on anything.   So get out your crayons, sit with God and color outside the lines!

Matthew 18:1-4
“About that time the disciples came to Jesus and asked, “Who is the greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven?”  Jesus called a little child to him and put the child among them.  Then he said, “I tell you the truth, unless you turn from your sins and become like little children, you will never get into the Kingdom of Heaven.  So anyone who becomes as humble as this little child is the greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven.”

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