What Is Your Purpose?

God, Life and Happiness, Religion

The other night at Bible study, we were studying Esther and our teacher asked us to consider what our purpose was in this life. I know this is something a lot of people think about and Rick Warren even wrote a very successful book on this topic. I think a lot of people focus on what they’re supposed to be doing for a job, where they should live, and what they can do in some grand way to affect the fate of humanity.

But I don’t see it that way. You see, I think God will direct me as I go in all these things. I think we have a lot of different purposes (depending on your definition) as we go about our days, the least being what job I’ll hold (I’ve been several different things in this life career-wise and I don’t think I’m done yet!). I do think I have a God-given purpose though.

As we studied about Esther and Mordecai, I began to understand that they didn’t really know what their purpose was – except to follow God.

This stirred my synapses a bit. Was I following God in everything I was trying to accomplish? I’m an editor, a writer, a wife, a friend, a daughter … there are many titles I could attribute to myself, but do I put GOD’S CHILD at the top? (Obviously not since I didn’t even list it as one of my titles!)

Then we talked about how King Xerxes called up some of his documentation (Esther 6). As he heard about his reign, he came upon the note that Mordecai had saved him from an assassination attempt years before but had never been rewarded. He decided to reward him now.

Think about that. If you know anything about this king, you know he was kind of a mean, cruel type who didn’t really do anything except what his advisors told him. But here he decides to honor Mordecai without even asking anyone for advice. (Now, he DOES ask Haman HOW to honor Mordecai, but that’s a whole other subject.)

What is Xerxes’ purpose here?

Let’s consider.

  1. Xerxes does not often think for himself.
  2. He could have read any book that night. He could have done any other number of things to pass his restless hours other than read. In fact, he didn’t seem like a guy who’d like a bedtime story to begin with. I would have assumed he’d choose alcohol to get him to sleep based on previous chapters.
  3. He could have chosen to not honor Mordecai at this time. After all, it’s been YEARS since the failed assassination attempt – who would remember? And the fact that Xerxes didn’t do it right away is actually kind of proving him to be an ineffective and careless leader. So why do it now?

So what is the purpose of all this?

Here are my thoughts:

  1. Could Xerxes have also read about his father and grandfather’s reigns that night? Perhaps he saw that both of them had good relationships with the Jews. Perhaps he remembered that both of these men (Darius [see the book of Daniel] and Cyrus [see the book of 2 Chronicles]) had honored God.
  2. Perhaps he has been influenced by his queen. Esther was a Jew.
  3. Perhaps the Holy Spirit is working in his heart as it did his father and grandfather.
  4. Perhaps this is simply GOD’S PURPOSE

So what was Xerxes’ purpose? He didn’t know it either, but God knew. Just as God knows mine. I don’t have all the pieces to my puzzle yet, so I’m unsure what my ENTIRE purpose is yet. But I know that I need to be like Esther – brave, bold, fearless and like Mordecai – faithful, loyal, just and even like Xerxes – open to being led. Perhaps then I can influence people like Haman who are cruel, unjust and lost in the wilderness.

Perhaps simply listening to God’s instruction and willing to be led by His spirit is my purpose. Perhaps it is yours too.

God bless.

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Spring Cleaning Writer Challenge

Life and Happiness, Writing

Greetings for spring! (Although it’s still cold here in PA and I’m sick of snow “squalls.”)

I was tagged by the quirky and amazing writer, Carrie Anne Noble for this springtime challenge! And I thought maybe it would spur me into thinking warm and colorful thoughts.

Dust-bunnies and Plot-bunnies: Reorganize Your Writing Goals (Or Make New Ones)

I’ve been stuck on trying to reorganize and firm up my editing business. So much so that writing has fallen a bit off the radar. I have a book “outlined” (in MY way of outlining) and I’d like to get started on it within the next month or so. I had intended to write during April for Camp Nanowrimo … I guess there is still time.

Which Stage Are You At? Expound!
a. Remodeling layouts (planning the story)
b. Painting the walls in colorful hues (writing)
c. Polishing the windows and scrubbing the floors and putting flowers in vases (editing)
d. Blueprints (not to the cleaning or remodeling yet… just drawing up plans for the very beginning inklings of a story)
e. Some combination of those things (cleaning out a closet)

Welp. I guess remodeling the layouts since I haven’t actually written a single word yet. And remodeling is my least favorite stage to be in….

Treasure From the Back of the Closet (Share one to three snippets you love!)

From What You Think You Know:

I swing my now ripped flannel pant leg over the fence and drop down beside her on the slick, dew-covered lawn. Reaching down, I try to feel how extensive the tear is…it’s bad. My favorite Hello Kitty PJs are now hanging off my leg at a weird angle. Several of the kitties seem to have shredded faces and half of my granny-pants underwear is probably hanging out. Thank God it isn’t quite daylight yet. Maybe we can get this over with and home before I have any embarrassing run-ins. Plus I can feel a bit of warm ooze trickling down my leg. Terrific, now I’ll have a bona fide reminder of this stellar evening—a scar. Note to self: check date of last tetanus shot.

From Summer’s Refrain:

She stopped her pacing and looked at the old woman. Her heart pumped hard against her chest as she considered the man she’d left, unwillingly this time, behind. How many times had she treated Lou this way? How many times had she shut him out? Even today, she’d been about to…. No. This had to end.

She stepped in front of Maude. “Take me back to Lou. Now.”

Maude sighed and lowered her gaze to the floor. “I’m sorry, love, but we’re not done yet. Come.” She held out her hand again for Summer.

What more did she need to know? She wiped her brow and looked at Maude from under lowered eyelashes. She must be insane to keep following this woman, but, yet, without her, how would she ever get back home?

She reached out her hand and felt a spark of electricity as it connected with Mrs. Delwich’s fingertips.

Bonus: Do Some Actual Spring Cleaning of Your Writer Self! (And share a picture!)

I have no idea what this means, but here’s a spring-y photo:

As part of this challenge, I hereby tag K.M. HodgeJoanne Groff, and Jill Thomas! Do as you will, friends!

Here are the rules:

Rules:

1. Link back to the person who tagged you
2. Share the picture
3. Answer the questions below (naturally…) or even pick and choose which ones you answer
3.5. Tag 3 other writers and inform them that you tagged them (via comment/message/email or hey, even carrier-pigeon or smoke signal; I’m not picky)

Questions:

1. Dust-bunnies and Plot-bunnies: Reorganize Your Writing Goals (Or Make New Ones)
2. Which Stage Are You At? Expound!
a. Remodeling layouts (planning the story)
b. Painting the walls in colorful hues (writing)
c. Polishing the windows and scrubbing the floors and putting flowers in vases (editing)
d. Blueprints (not to the cleaning or remodeling yet… just drawing up plans for the very beginning inklings of a story)
e. Some combination of those things (cleaning out a closet)
3. Treasure From the Back of the Closet (Share one to three snippets you love!)
3.5. Bonus: Do Some Actual Spring Cleaning of Your Writer Self! (And share a picture!)

 

Free Editing Is Not Free

Editing Advice, Writing

I’d heard a lot recently about some websites that proclaim to help authors with editing. These sites apparently use algorithms and other software to help authors “edit” their work. 

As an editor, it concerned me because I know there are a lot of nuances when it comes to editing the written word. Although there are a lot of standard writing rules, all too often these rules can be more of a “suggestion” and need to be carefully examined in context before making a decision.

For example: One website said that only 44 words in the English language follow the “I before E” rule and there are 925 exceptions to the rule!

And it also concerned me because these sites are proclaiming to be the “best” editors for your work. But I know that there is only so much a program can do. (After all, even Word doesn’t always catch all the misspellings or missing punctuation in a document.) So I decided to check out a few of these sites to see how well they actually edited a piece. What I found frightened me.

In all fairness, most of these sites are about “proofreading” a written piece and usually about nonfiction articles – not full-length novels. Proofreading does typically come at the end of the editing process and is meant to pick up minor errors like missing punctuation. And articles are typically shorter pieces that do not need the detail of a manuscript editor. However, if an author is unaware of these facts – many people interchange the words “editing” and “proofreading” and not all the sites make it clear that it does not work well for novels – then they may run their piece through one of these sites and find only minor errors when there are larger mistakes looming.

One site, touted as the “Best Free Grammar Checker,” did not even point out plagiarism to me when I blatantly put in another author’s work. Nor did it find anything except two misspelled words when there were many comma and punctuation errors (input by me). 

In fact, most of the sites I checked missed major errors. However, if you are a habitual bad speller, these sites would be a good place to start. Finding spelling errors seems to be the bulk of what these sites can do well.

However, what about slang words? Dialects in your character’s dialogue? And we haven’t even begun to consider where a paragraph should begin, how the timeline works, or if you’ve completly forgotten to change the name of your character in all the right places. Bill and Jill are both fine names to these editing sites, but if you changed your character from one name to the other – you better have done it throughout the entire piece (including changing “he” to “she”) or your readers will be mightily confused! These sites will NOT find these errors.

What I’m saying is this: Don’t let these sites replace real, live editors. They simply can’t. There are so many aspects to the English language that it is impossible for an automated machine to catch it all. I mean, some of us human editors don’t catch every error!

When you have spent months and months, or even years, writing your manuscript, do not throw all your hard work away by only using these online editing programs. Seek the counsel of a professional editor instead. 

If you want to learn a few ways to self edit your novel, check out my eBook: Edit Your Novel for Less!: Tips and Tricks to Save Money During the Editing Processhttps://www.amazon.com/dp/B07B3XMGRS

 

 

 

 

The Author/Editor Relationship

Editing Advice, Life and Happiness, Writing

Last week, a potential client asked me, “Can you please tell me a little bit more how you work with a new client?”

It was something that other potential clients had asked me and I’d always found it a bit hard to answer. I edit. That’s it. Isn’t it always the same? I look for punctuation and grammar errors. I point out inconsistencies, etc., and I use Word’s Track Change feature to keep track of it all for the author. But after I had taken a Editing Boot Camp a few weeks ago, I realized that not every editor works in the same way. Some ask questions of their author and try to offer instruction (that’s me!), and some simply change whole sentences and paragraphs without any instruction (that’s NOT me). While others seem to only want to completely change an author’s words altogether.

After I had thought about it for awhile, here is how I chose to answer her:

“My motto is: I don’t change voices. I make them louder. It’s more than a gimmick to me. I strive to not change the voice of the author, ever. I want to understand what their goals are for their work and what they are trying to convey to their reader. Very often what I will do in my editing work is leave comments asking the author questions about their piece. This way, the author can scrutinize the sentence or paragraph and determine if it truly is what they intended or if it doesn’t quite work.

I try to approach the content/substantive part of the editing process as if I’m the reader. If I don’t understand something, I point it out. If something conflicts with what I thought was happening, I point it out. If a character seems – well – out of character, I point it out. Very rarely do I change whole sentences or rearrange things without giving the author a firm reason for the change. In the end, it’s YOUR work, not mine. I only want to point out to you what may or may not work. My authors and I often have small debates and, sometimes, they convince me their way is correct. I like to make friends with my authors, but that doesn’t mean I’m lenient! I push my authors in good ways to make their work better. 

With all that said, I hold firm to many writing rules and I use the Chicago Manual of Style or the Christian Writer’s Manual of Style as my guides. These don’t affect the overall plot, but things like ellipses, punctuation marks, and spelling out of numerals – things like that. I like to instruct. I’ll tell you why I’m suggesting a change (usually based on these style guides) and encourage you to learn about this rule to apply it to future works.

I’ve worked with one author for over five years. She writes romance – which isn’t my first pick of genres, but I’ve grown to enjoy her books. We’ve created such a great relationship that I can tell what she means to say even when she says it “wrong.” For her, I often will just fix things and she accepts them because she knows I know what she means. But that’s rare and I only start doing that once I’ve worked with someone long enough to know their style and voice.”

After that, I pointed her to the testimonials page on this website and said I hoped I had answered her question. In fact, because I thought it was such a good response (for once!), I chose to make it this blog post in the hopes that others would read it and want to work with me.

When I say I don’t change voices, I mean it. I know how hard it is to write and I don’t like it when someone tells me to rearrange my whole story. They don’t know what’s in my head – only I do. And I don’t know what’s in my client’s heads either. But I want to learn and I want to help. I want their story to get OUT of their head and onto the paper in the most pleasing, and engaging way.

So there you have it. It’s how I work and I’d love to chat with you about how you work too. Drop me a message or leave a comment below. I’m looking forward to working with you!

Oops. I Failed.

Fears, Life and Happiness, Writing

I find it ironic that I’m about to write this post. My last post, Don’t Let The Gray Get You Down, talked about ways to help avoid the winter blahs. So now, this post, is going to tell you how I failed at my own advice.

I have this biblical quote on my wall: “God is within her, she will not fall.” (Psalm 46:5)

You may have seen this quote before and a LOT of the time, you may have seen it quoted as “she will not fail.” When I bought this wall verse (it’s one of those stick on things), I bought it from a girl on Etsy. And she had it listed as “she will not fail.” I looked at several Bible versions and I couldn’t find a single one that said “fail.” Many of them use “can not be moved”, but none, that I could find, said “fail.”

So I made the vendor change it before I bought it. I wasn’t about to have an incorrect Bible verse on my wall! I’m an editor for crying out loud.

I look at it every day and think, “Yes. God’s got this. He won’t let me fall.” And I truly believe He won’t.

BUT. He will let me fail.

Which leads me to how I failed at my own advice.

I let the gray get to me. It overwhelmed me today and I wallowed in it for hours. You see, work has been slow lately. Really slow. It happens sometimes, but this has been an extended lull and I’m starting to let me old worrisome habits come to the surface. Last night in Bible study, I asked for prayer about it. I said I was in a “time of waiting.” (Don’t you hate those?) But I realized it was a time of learning, too. I know God is refining some things, sanding off some rough edges (I really, truly hate those times) and just making way for other things in my life. I can see where progress has been made.

But I am not good at waiting for work and when it doesn’t come, I feel worthless. I’m not good at filling my time when there isn’t work to do. And when I have extra time to think (never a good thing) then I start to think negative thoughts, like, What if I never get work again? or Why is God punishing me? My negative mind sometimes just won’t let me be. It keeps eating at me.

Finally, I said to God, “What is my purpose? If I have nothing to do, no one to care for or for me, if I’m not reaching anyone and there’s no reason to get up each day…what’s the point?”

I didn’t get an answer. I kept pouting about it. I don’t want to be here with nothing to do. I want to help others. I want to use my gifts. I want to utilize that which God has given me, but where do I start? Where do I find the people (mainly writers) who need my help, my services? I don’t want to fail, but it’s not guaranteed. And it hurts to think I have already failed.

As I lamented over this tonight, I felt a tiny urging to just pour out my heart here. We try so often to not let people see this side of us. We’re professionals. We’ve got it together and I’m energetic and happy ALL THE TIME!!

This is NOT the world I live in.

I think it’s more important to be real. And if no one wants my services because I am a broken human being, than so be it. (After all, aren’t most writers broken? Isn’t that why we write? If nothing else, this should prove that I’m one of you!)

Because I am a child of God, but even David, God’s most beloved son, was chased by 12,000 who wanted to kill him. Job lost everything and he was a man of God. Joseph was thrown into a pit by his brothers. Jonah was tossed into a whale. Paul was jailed.

It’s hard to find a biblical character who didn’t suffer or have times of waiting. There are only a few who didn’t worry. But there are many who said, “Why me? Why now? Where are You?”

And that’s where I am. I’m hopeful it won’t last. But, today, I failed at my own advice. I let the gray get to me. I’d ask that you would pray for me. Not necessarily that more work would come my way, but that God would show me His purpose. That He would instruct my hands to do something. That I’d clearly see the direction He wants me to go in. That I’d know I am reaching someone.

I pray you are fighting the gray today and I’ll endeavor to do better tomorrow.

God bless.

Don’t Let The Gray Bring You Down

Life and Happiness

We’ve been experiencing a lot of gray, gloomy, rainy days here in central Pennsylvania. It’s only February, but the weather seems to be confused as the temps have ranged in the 40s to 50s and it keeps raining. And raining. And raining.

As these days lingered in my world, I began to notice a bit of sadness in my soul. Most things are going fine in my life – nothing earth-shattering – but I kept feeling increasingly sad. I found it hard to get out of bed. I didn’t feel like cleaning the house or making meals. I didn’t feel like writing. Or, if I did, it was all kind of dark and gloomy like the weather around me.

One day last week, we had a fog that just wouldn’t dissipate. My hubby kept writing me from work saying how “beautiful” it was outside. I kept looking out at the gloom and wondering, “Where is he?” Only one town away, he was experiencing bright sunshine and warmer temps. It seemed as if the dark cloud was only right over me.

Then yesterday came.

Finally, after days and days of gloom, the sun came out. It’s hard to explain how simply seeing the sun (the temps weren’t much warmer) made my day so much better. I was more social, I smiled more and I felt an energy I hadn’t felt in weeks.

(I can certainly make a Christian connection here about how we need the Son, too, to rid us of our depressed and downcast attitudes. But today I want to focus on something else.)

About a year ago, I published a little journal for people who suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder. I’ll be honest, I haven’t sold many. Maybe it’s too depressing for some people to write down their feelings during those times. Or, perhaps, people simply don’t get the concept. But I want to tell you that thinking about and writing down how I’ve felt over the last week or so – during the gloom – and then experiencing how the sun changed my outlook so drastically, really opened my eyes to this phenomenon.

When we can acknowledge why we’re feeling a certain way about things, we can start to change how we react. I know that dark, dreary days bring me down and cause me to be inert. It’s a struggle to get moving or find any self worth in myself. And I know when I can sit in the sun, my mood is instantly lightened and I feel like I can take on the world!

SO. On the days of gloom, I seek activities outside the house. I call a friend. I engage in social activities. I KEEP BUSY. It isn’t easy. I want to stay in bed under the covers. But life goes on and I can’t stay in bed for a week (or more, the way this weather has been!) I must force myself to engage, to overcome how the weather is affecting me.

My journal gives me some of those tips. It helps me write down my mood, the weather, and reasons why I’m feeling the way I’m feeling. It gives me a chance to understand my mood shifts. Then, if the sun refuses to come out for weeks on end, it’s easier to deal with it all. I can cope because I know the reason and I know the strategies to utilize.

If you’re struggling during this time of year, I truly hope you will seek out help in the form of friends, websites, or even journals like mine. Don’t simply give in – find something that helps.

God bless and good luck. May our sunny days soon be abundant!

*********************

If you’d like to check out my journal on Amazon click here.

How Consistent Am I?

Life and Happiness

Consistency. That’s my word for this year, remember? I’ve been doing okay so far. Some things have been very consistent, like writing my newsletters. I have those scheduled, about 2-3 month, up through April. I rationalize that when I get busy with editing work, I won’t have to worry about those. That’s good.

My Bible study. Not as consistent, but I even if I don’t read the Word every day, I pray, or listen to a Christian podcast or read one of my friend’s blogs that focus on God. He’s always there even if I’m not sitting down with a physical Bible. And I’ve been attending a weekly women’s Bible study.

My relationships. Not too bad. Bad winter weather has prevented me from meeting up with some friends but I still try to keep in touch with them. I’m trying to be encouraging to them and hoping to cultivate solid, lasting friendships. My relationship with my husband has been good. He is very busy and stressed about work and his doctorate studies, but when we can sit down and vent to one another, we often feel stronger together. We’re in it together.

My writing. Really good. I started revising a manuscript I started last year. I have a good direction for it to go and I think I can make it happen if I’m CONSISTENT. (I’ll be going to add some more words right after I finish this post!)

My business. Not as consistent right now. Work has been sporadic since December. People often take a break from writing during the holidays and it’s always a bit of a lull in my business. Still, I’m trying to be consistent in my faith that work will come. I’m trying to be consistent in my promotion of my business so that people will remember I’m here. And I’m utilizing the time to take some courses that will increase my knowledge and enhance my work.

How about you? What is your word for the year and how are you doing at following the goals you’ve set for yourself? I’d love to hear about them.

Remember to follow me on Instagram and Facebook for some encouraging and uplifting posts. In addition, if you haven’t signed up for my newsletter, which provides motivation, encouragement, tips and resources for writers, you can do so here. (PS – you’ll get a free gift in the process! And I only send to your inbox about three times a month!)

Hope you’re having a good week. God bless!

 

Valuable Newsletters On The Horizon!

Life and Happiness, Writing

As some of you already know, I’ve started focusing a bit more on my newsletters. It’s one of my goals to provide my subscribers with at least twelve newsletters this year. That’s only one a month and seems like a reasonable goal. At this point, I have five written and scheduled – the first is set to go out to the subscribed “masses” on Monday.

It’s also a goal to not simply provide bland reading material for my subscribers, but actual valuable content. With that in mind, my newsletters will fit one of three categories:

Monday Motivation
These will include personal stories and encouraging things to help you get writing. A way to start the week off right!

Tips & Resources for Writers
These will include resources like which style guides to use, where to find additional writing help, and how to connect to other writers

Writing/Editing Exercises
These will include actual exercises to help writers spot what’s wrong within a short amount of text. Learning how to self-edit work is a great way to help save money during the publishing process.

In addition, each newsletter will include motivation or inspirational quotes, graphics and other fun items!

If you don’t already subscribe to my newsletter click here to do so and receive a free gift to boot! (Please note: If you subscribed awhile back, you may need to subscribe again.)

I’m excited that it’s February and I’m still working at achieving my goals. I can’t wait to see what else this year brings. I’m on my way to be consistent!

I hope you are doing your best to do the same.

God bless!

I Finally Figured Out My Word For 2018!

Life and Happiness

I’ve been seeing a lot of people claiming their words for 2018. I’ve been considering mine since the new year began, but couldn’t quite decide on what I wanted to focus on for this year. In the past, I’ve not been very intentional about this kind of thing, striving to simply put a few words into practice throughout the year.

I thought about using “intentional” which seems to be the way I want to live my life. I also considered “encouragement” but I’ve used that organically for a few years now. Then, while I was walking on my treadmill today, putting one foot in front of the other, it came to me.

I realized that what I truly want out of this year is to live a consistent life. Consistent can mean little things like walking on the treadmill every day, reading my Bible every day and finding time with my husband every day. But I want it to be even more than those consistent things.

  • I want to consistently seek out God
  • I want to consistently encourage others
  • I want to consistently find joy
  • I want to consistently be investing in myself and my business
  • I want to consistently be intentional about everything I say and do so that others who see me, talk to me or read my words will know, without a doubt, who I am and what I believe (and put into action! See my last post about that!)

I want to be and be seen as a person who has one path and is following it with consistency. Because, after all, isn’t this whole “pick a word” idea about trying to be a better person? Don’t we do this at the beginning of every new year in order to “find ourselves” or to strive to be better – whether it be in our business, our relationships or within ourselves?

In the past, I’ve not been consistent. I am someone who often can be led astray by my heart and my emotions. The heart is not always a good judge of character, by the way. It is a fickle little organ. What the heart wants one moment could be the exact opposite of what it wants the next. Emotions can cloud our thinking and cause us to make some really dumb choices. Emotions have caused me to be angry, have instilled bitterness in my soul and have led me down some really dark paths.

But no more.

Emotions will not lead me astray this year. I believe being consistent with all my goals – both large and small – will help me to control my emotions in a more suitable, Christ-centered way.

Consistency to my (and God’s) objectives is the key.

I pray you will help me along this journey this year and I’d love to know your word and how you plan on adhering to it this year so I can pray for you too!

God bless.

Bible Journaling Update

Religion

Back in February of 2016, I wrote a post “Has Bible Journaling Gone Too Far?” To date, it has been my most popular post and has received the most comments (75!). As the comments keep occasionally rolling in, I realized I should write an updated post about this obviously interesting subject.

I want to make sure that I’m clear about one thing: If you read your Bible and you connect with God – that’s a GOOD thing. Whatever way you choose to do that is between you and God.

I’m thankful that I had so many comments on this original post because it means that this topic speaks to many people. It is a blessing that this post has engaged people the way it has and I’m so very blessed for that. If any of my posts can help people dig deeper in their walk with God – I feel like I’m doing what He’s asked me to do.

In addition, I’ve heard a lot of opinions about this topic and I can honestly agree with most of them. I still hold firm that the Word of God should NOT be covered up in any way. I’ve also since seen a lot of journaling that does glorify God and does connect the person to Him. That’s a good thing – no matter how you do it.

But I want to share a story with you that, I hope, illustrates my original point better.

I recently saw someone post about her Bible journaling. Most of what she was doing seemed benign to me and I did connect to her as a fellow Christian. But then she posted a new piece of artwork and I was concerned. She had been inspired by a Christian TV show to focus on a particular scripture. (That’s GREAT by the way! Anytime we can utilize mass media to teach the world about God is a great thing for the body of Christ.) However, when she completed her artwork with something that had nothing to do with the scripture, but, instead, the TV show, it bothered me. And, in addition, her artwork covered up a large portion of the scripture to boot. (To be fair, she said this was her “journaling Bible” so I assume she has another where she does not cover up scripture.) She proudly shared this artwork on social media saying, “I’m proud of how this turned out! I think I did a great job.”

Folks, that’s exactly what worries me about this trend. That is not focusing on the scripture. That is not focusing on Christ or His Word. That is focusing on worldly things (the TV show), on her achievements, on her skills and on her own pride without giving credit to the One who has given her those things. In my opinion, she wasn’t connecting to the scripture by doing this, she was creating artwork for her own enjoyment. And she defaced the Word of God to do it. For me, that is putting worldly things ahead of Him.

This is where, for me, it becomes a slippery slope. It can be so easy to focus on ourselves and on our talents. But those talents come from the Creator. He created us and gave us all the skills we have. Anything we create is as a result of how He made us. (Even this blog post, for example.) Bible journaling is supposed to connect us to Him. Proponents of this trend say it brings them closer to the Word. But, in this instance, I don’t think she was brought closer to the Word. The scripture she originally referenced was “Seek and ye shall find.” How ironic. She didn’t find Christ at all in this exercise, but only her own selfish pride.

I want to also say that I do highlight my Bible with a yellow highlighter occasionally. It doesn’t cover the words, only “highlights” them. I do occasionally underline something for emphasis. I do occasionally write things in the margins as well. But I don’t cover up any of the words. Ever. And when I read the Word of God, I treat those words with respect and reverence. I’ve been re-reading my Bible and have started a few new studies that help me reflect on the words of God in new ways.I want to know what God intended for each and every word He has given me. How could I do that if those words were covered up? How could I understand every single nuance that the Lord is trying to teach me if I can’t see the words?

So, yes, it’s okay to doodle, create artwork, underline, highlight and make notes in your Bible. I’m not the Bible journaling police! It’s all between you and God in the end, not you and me. But please, please be sure when you are creating these works of art in your Bible that you’re doing it for the right reasons. Not for your own gratification or your own pat on the back, but because God truly is speaking to you and leading you in the process.

I am SO thankful for those 75 comments on my original post. I’m thankful because it was a post about God that garnered a lot of attention. Any way I can cause my readers to consider His ways, is a good thing to me. And I’m thankful that it was enough for me to create this follow-up post. God has certainly opened up a doorway of conversation here and I’m anxious to keep it going. May it all be for His glory.

I thank each of you for reading and having opinions and commenting!

God bless.