As a pastor’s kid in a conservative, Korean church, I was taught to be quiet and listen during the sermon. There are some of you out there who just cringed at that sentence. Believe me, at the time, my inner self was also cringing. And although I practiced my musical side early on in life, I didn’t really explore my artistic creativity until later in life. Today, let’s discover how to recapture our creative side (even if you don’t think you’re very artistic!), and tap into it to spend time with God, know His Word and heart, and know Him more.
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Yesterday, I had the opportunity to co-lead a program for the women’s ministry at my church about how to respond creatively to God’s Word. The women’s ministry hosts a bi-monthly luncheon where a sister (or two) shares her story about how God has moved and is moving in her life. When I brought up the idea of doing some kind of “seminar” on how to do Bible Journaling, it evolved into me leading the session, even though I don’t own a journaling Bible! So I reframed the luncheon’s topic to be broader–instead of focusing just on Bible Journaling (because a lot of people at our church don’t own one of those…), I wanted to focus on the practice of spending time with God, being in His presence, and responding creatively to what He’s saying, specifically through His Word, and the affect it could have on our walk with God.
My co-presenter and I started out by sharing our stories and the way God speaks to us through His Word, and how we respond to it.
The goal of the luncheon was to help the women use creative means to better remember and meditate on God’s Word. We didn’t want to teach them specific artistic skills like brush lettering, wreath drawing, or watercoloring (maybe there will be future opportunities!). We wanted to teach them the practice of meditating on God’s Word… and then allow time to respond to it.
We wanted to teach them the practice of meditating on God’s Word… and then allow time to respond to it. Click to tweet
We really emphasized that it was not about perfection. There are so many talented Bible journalists out there, that it’s so easy to get overwhelmed and discouraged. But when we respond purely from our hearts, the result is beautiful no matter what because God knows what you’re saying. So I give the same warning to you. When you’re reading God’s Word, and you want to draw, color, write a story, etc. Don’t be intimidated by what you see on Instagram or Pinterest. Be inspired, but don’t perspire over it!
Four reasons why I believe that creatively responding to God’s Word is important:
1. Connect deeper with God
We all connect to God in a unique way. Some experience God in nature. Some experience God when they sing or play music. Others spend time in prayer. Ultimately, in order to know and love our God, we need to spend time with Him and connect with Him. God’s word is alive and active (Hebrews 4:12). So when we take the time to spend time in His Word, pray to Him, listen for His answer, and respond creatively, we can get on a deeper connection with Him.
2. Slow down and meditate on God’s Word
Spending time with God sometimes forces us to slow down. When it comes to reading or writing out the Bible, that part’s easy. But the next part–meditating–isn’t always so easy. We want to just get whatever the task is over with. But meditating is a state of focus, contemplation, consideration. And in Psalm 1:2, we are to meditate day and night. Through this practice, we will better remember His words, and be fed by them.
3. Express ourselves creatively
I genuinely believe that we are all creative beings. We may not be all Monets and Rembrandts, but we can be creative even in how we make spreadsheets or venn diagrams. Even in how we organize and label. Whether it’s chaos or order, we are meant to create. And when we use them to engage with God’s Word, it’s a beautiful thing.
4. Encourage ourselves and others
Your creation can be simply for your private journal. Or some are compelled to share with others because they may have a gift of telling stories or conveying God’s Word to people. First, when you respond it should be an encouragement to you because you’re hearing God speak! Second, if you want to, share it through social media, during one-on-one meetings, at small group, wherever. You never know how your creation might touch someone else’s life. Your picture of a sparrow may remind someone of their childhood memories. Your poem about overcoming depression may uplift someone who’s also going through the same thing. God can work powerfully through your creations, so don’t be afraid to share them.
So then, how do we creatively respond and what are some ways in which we can do it?
- Read, listen, and wait
- Write out the Word
- Take notes-highlight, circle, underline
- Memorize the Bible
- Draw a word or phrase or picture
- Pray it
- Sing it
- Dance it
- Writing-stories, poetry
For the luncheon program, we practiced the most basic way:
- Open the time with prayer, asking God to reveal Himself
- Read the passage a few times
- Spend time in silence praying and listening for God
- Wait until God answers; depending on how He answers, ask God for clarification
- Respond creatively
We provided some basic art supplies like paper, colored pencils, pens, markers, scissors, etc. And we didn’t do any specific tutorials on how to draw a certain way. We wanted to leave that open-ended and allow them to respond however they felt led.
The results were so beautiful! Some really went far with it and cut out shapes and created a collage. Others kept it simple and rewrote part of the verse in a different color to highlight certain words.
I received many comments about how reading the Bible in this way was eye-opening, and how they want to incorporate it into their quiet times. How wonderful is that!
If you’re looking for a topic to do at your next women’s get-together, or even as a small group, consider doing an exercise that helps you dive deeper into and engage in God’s Word!
I hope you will also try this basic exercise at home during your quiet time, or even with your kids! Involve them and teach them how to love reading the Bible. More to come on how to be artistic even if you’re not. 🙂