Well Loved Bible + A Messy Heart
Bethany Davies Whitaker
Can I be super vulnerable for a minute? Sometimes, when I'm around people who have been Christians their whole lives I feel very inferior. Even though I know that's a lie, I get so wrapped up in the fact that I don't have as many years under my belt in studying the Bible. I grew up going to church, but reading the bible was something we really only did on Sunday, and even then I was never super interested. Reading the bible was so tedious and boring, or at least that's what I thought at first.
I don't remember the exact moment that I began to crave digging into the Bible, but I do know it was sometime in college when I began to experience terrible anxiety. Honestly, I began reading to fulfill my "duty" as a Christian, but then I began to realize that whenever I read, I was overcome with a sense of peace. My anxiety would disappear and I would find myself not ever wanting to close the cover. Then, I started taking notes in journals while I did a Bible study or listened to a sermon. For the first time in my life, I was on fire!
Then, I bought my first journaling Bible, and my whole world was transformed! (In a good way) See, when I kept journals of my notes, it was great, but I never went back to look at my notes. I lost my journals all the time! ( I lose everything...) But, being able to write all my notes in one place just made me want to dig in that much more! I formed my own color-coding system and it helped me stay focused because I get ridiculously distracted whenever I'm doing anything. Anybody else in the same boat?
Unfortunately, I got super wrapped up at first in wanting my Bible to look pretty and perfect. You know, Type A personality. It took me a little while to realize that it doesn't matter how messy you make your Bible because that messiness is you as an imperfect person, laying your heart out for your Savior which is what it's supposed to be about anyway.
These days, I don't really care about how "pretty" it looks. Don't get me wrong, I love seeing all the colors, but my Bible also has ripped tabs, fraying pages on the edges, and lots of scribbles instead of thoughtfully planned out calligraphy. You wanna know something? That's okay. That messy and falling apart Bible has gotten me through some really rough moments. Every time I open that Bible, I hear the sweet whispers of Abba saying "Are you ready? I've got something sweet for you to hear and read today." The sweetest of whispers. It's these whispers that calm my anxiety ridden mind and overwhelming need for perfection.
I've chosen to explore the fact that my Bible is not supposed to look like anyone else's, because it is the reflection of my heart for Jesus, and our journeys are not all the same. It's about the process, not the perfection, or the pretty colors. Having a colorful and well-loved Bible is great, but if you are just investing the time to make it look pretty, and not focusing on transforming yourself, and digging deeper in your faith, then you've only been doing the surface-level things!
While sometimes I do still have those thoughts of inferiority, I know that those thoughts are from the Devil and I've decided I'm not going to answer those thoughts. I won't even entertain them because it doesn't matter how long I've been a Christian. God loves me just the same. To Him, I am capable, intelligent, and loved. I can rest knowing that the only thing that matters is that I'm digging deep into my relationship with Him.
Have you found yourself comparing your faith to those around you? Well, I'm here to tell you that there's no need! Your faith and relationship with Jesus are yours alone, and only you know how to live it out. After all, a living faith > a perfect faith.
Click on author's byline for bio and list of other works published by Pencil Stubs Online.