Doodling — to draw or scribble idly1 – is often thought of as a time-waster. In fact, the second definition for “doodle” at dictionary.com is: to waste (time) in aimless or foolish activity. However, the reality is that the act of doodling is good for you. Here are just four benefits to doodling:
- Doodling helps you concentrate
- Doodling can keep you in the present moment
- Doodling is an outlet for creativity
- Doodling helps you generate ideas
So if you haven’t yet tried the Praying in Color or Illustrated Bible Journaling techniques…go ahead. It’s good for you!
This week I would like to introduce you to two more creative journaling techniques – Journibles and, what I call, Squish-it Journaling.
When visiting with my daughter a couple of months ago, she asked me if I was familiar with Journibles. She then pulled out the one she was using for her current study in the book of Luke. Rob Wynalda based his Journibles books on Deuteronomy 17:18 — And when he sits on the throne of his kingdom, he shall write for himself in a book a copy of this law, approved by the Levitical priests. Each Journible is set up in such a way that the journaler writes out the book of the Bible on the right-hand page and then writes out his/her thoughts, insights, reflections on the corresponding left-hand page. Journibles published by Reformation Heritage Books can be found on several websites including amazon.com and christianbook.com. They are also available for several books of the Bible including Psalms, Proverbs, and Romans.
I was drawn to Journibles, first because of the “writing out the Scriptures” component. As a teacher, I am aware that the physical act of writing something out aids in retention and that the act itself is good for the brain. I also know that with the advances in technology I find myself writing less and less. Writing out the Scriptures provides a way for me to engage in handwriting and helps with penmanship practice. Additionally, I found the Journibles “call” to write out the Scriptures to be a way of fulfilling the Biblical mandate in Deuteronomy 6:9 to write the Scriptures on the doorposts of your house and your gates.
Secondly, I saw this method of journaling: writing out the Scriptures and then responding to the text through questions, reflections, and notes to be an excellent way to hide God’s Word in my heart and to deepen my relationship with Christ.
I will be honest. I wanted to try this journaling method but wasn’t sure about spending the money on the Journible at the time. So I made some modifications to my first attempt basing it upon Rob Wynalda’s method. My small group is currently studying the book of Philippians. This is where I decided to begin. I went out and purchased a fifty-cent composition book and began writing out the first chapter of Philippians on the right-hand pages of the book. Then over the next few days, I sat down with the handwritten Scripture and poured over it –making notes on the left-hand pages as I did. Throughout this time, I found myself thinking more and more about the Scriptures I had read often going back to my composition book and adding more notes.
I can’t begin to tell you how much I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this method of Scripture study. It draws me to His Word and causes me to meditate on it throughout my day. I also find myself in ongoing conversation with Him about the Scripture I am studying. AND…
There’s an added benefit I discovered when I attended our first small group study after beginning the Journible method. I am a slow-processor often not able to participate in group discussion because by the time I have wrapped my head around what exactly the question being asked was, the group has moved on two, three, or even four questions! With my Journible composition book in hand, I was able to participate. I had already spent time in the Scriptures, thought on them, mulled them over, written thoughts down. Several times, in fact, questions came up that I had already recorded and processed!
Another favorite! Have I shared with you just how much fun I am having this summer as I explore CREATIVE journaling?
Squish-it Journals are based on Smash-it Journals (K&Company) from the world of scrapbooking.
For this creative journaling method, purchase a composition book or any other blank journal. Then…squish in the good stuff –notes, cards, clippings – images, quotes, your own thoughts – Scripture verses, Bible passages, prayers – images, doodles, your handwriting – glue, staple, tape. Think scrapbook, diary, and doodle pad all rolled into one with no set plan. This is a place to SQUISH in items that help you as you pray or as you process something with God.
If it is a Prayer Squish-it, include reminders of who God is: resources, Scriptures, quotes, prayers from others, your own prayers. As you find it, SQUISH-it in. Then take out your journal and talk to God as you turn the pages and see your reminders. Squish-it Journals foster communication with God. They can also easily be used for other types of journaling such as thanksgiving, praise, daily life, and recording your Spiritual Journey.
I pray that by now you are seeing that journaling as a tool for Spiritual Growth can take many different forms.
My challenge to you: Venture on out! Try something new as you journal for Spiritual Growth and see what happens.