Ever since I started this blog, I’ve been putting out monthly Bible Writing Plans to help us be more intentional about not only reading, but also writing the Word. In March, I also put out the plan on Instagram as a lettering challenge with the hashtag #thethingsunseen and a few people even joined in! On Instagram, since the platform is more visual, participants were not required to write out the entire passage, but perhaps focus on one or two words, a specific verse, phrase, thought, or draw something. I was so excited that other people participated, that I decided to do the same for April! If you’re active on Instagram, I’d love to have you join in, too! Just check out my page.
I’ve also shared in the past about how to creatively respond to the Bible, and how that allows us to connect deeper, meditate, encourage, and express ourselves. I did a little bit of this in my earlier plans, but in March, I really focused in on it so that I could participate in the Instagram version of the plan. I’m so glad that I explored my creative side more, because I learned three important lessons.
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One of the first things I did was to buy a separate sketchbook to organize my work. I had my bullet journal, but sometimes I use watercolors and other mediums. So I purchased a Canson Mix Media Pad because it’s thick enough to withstand some watercolors, and has plenty of pages!
Then I just got started. I designated the first page as the title page, and wrote, “March Bible Writing Plan”. Then one page was dedicated for each day of the month. Here are some of my favorites:
There were some days when I really struggled to doodle something. So I would keep it simple with just text. And other days, I wanted to write the entire verse, and struggle to fit everything on one page.
But spending each day in the Bible taught me three important lessons:
1. God speaks to us in a unique way.
Although there were only a few people that participated regularly in the Instagram challenge, not everyone wrote the same word, or verse, or passage. And even if someone did choose the same passage, the description would be specific to her personal life. Each person resonated with the passage in her own way.
Something about reading, meditating, and responding to the same passage, but being inspired in different ways was amazing to see. This is why the Bible is so cool! God is still speaking, but He speaks to us in our own lives, right here and right now. He isn’t telling you live someone else’s faith walk, but your own. Which leads to point #2.
2. God’s Word is alive, and is relevant today.
There are some Christians who only read the New Testament because they think that the Old Testament doesn’t apply to them anymore. And if they do read the Old Testament, then they only read Psalm and Proverbs. But why would God put all of these books together, if they weren’t meant to be read in its entirety? That’s why I took the time to make the March Bible Writing Plan special, and parallel the passages in Hebrews 11 to the Old Testament stories.
As I wrote out the passage and responded to it creatively, I came to realize how truly alive God’s word is. Here are some of the passages that were especially relevant to me and to today’s society.
Day 8: Hebrews 11:15-16 (ESV)
15 If they had been thinking of that land from which they had gone out, they would have had opportunity to return. 16 But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared for them a city.
Day 24: Hebrews 12:12-17 (ESV)
12 Therefore lift your drooping hands and strengthen your weak knees,13 and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be put out of joint but rather be healed. 14 Strive for peace with everyone, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord.15 See to it that no one fails to obtain the grace of God; that no “root of bitterness” springs up and causes trouble, and by it many become defiled; 16 that no one is sexually immoral or unholy like Esau, who sold his birthright for a single meal. 17 For you know that afterward, when he desired to inherit the blessing, he was rejected, for he found no chance to repent, though he sought it with tears.
Day 29: Hebrews 13:13-16 (ESV)
13 Therefore let us go to him outside the camp and bear the reproach he endured. 14 For here we have no lasting city, but we seek the city that is to come. 15 Through him then let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that acknowledge his name. 16 Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God.
I have never been more disappointed in our government and political state. I’ve never seen more people scared for their livelihood. I’ve seen friends lose their loved ones in a flash. I’ve seen great needs go unmet. When I see this broken world, even with my earthly eyes, I wonder where God is. And then I read passages like the ones from this past month’s plan, and I hear God still speaking to me. He’s saying that He’s never left us. That we are not meant for this world. That while on this earth, we must strive for peace that leads to holiness. And continue to be good and do good to others so that God is pleased.
3. God’s Word is creative and sparks creativity.
This point is pretty clear. How else do you explain the countless numbers of artwork since the Old Testament time to today? How else do you explain the hymns and contemporary worship songs that we sing in church today? How else do pastors continue to preach on the same book all their lives, every single Sunday?
When you look at the Bible not as a set of rules, but as a story that gets better with time, you read it differently. You actually want to read it as if it’s your favorite book. You don’t get sick of it because you know what’s going to happen or you discover something new.
I’m so thankful for a creative God that sparks creativity in us!
So what about you? Are you on Instagram? Would you like to participate in the Instagram lettering challenge? Even if you’re not an “artist” or express yourself in that way, you can still write out the words plainly, take a photo, tag me (@ThingsUnseenDesigns), and use the hashtag #thethingsunseen. I was so encouraged that other people were participating, and I’m sure you will be, too!
Let’s not give up on reading the Bible, meditating on it, and responding to it in our own way. God is speaking, and if we don’t read the Bible, we are missing out on His voice. Make that commitment to read/write the Bible this month with the April Bible Writing Plan.