Posted in A Non-Artist's Guide to Bible Journaling

A Non-Artist’s Guide to Bible Journaling: Weeping


Psalms 30:5 (NLT)

For his anger lasts only a moment, but his favor lasts a lifetime! Weeping may last through the night, but joy comes with the morning.


I cry a lot. And that’s okay.

Emotionally, this has been one of the most painful weeks of my short, teenage life. For a while, I’ve been wrestling with forgiveness and bitterness. Just when I start to think that I’ve begun to move on, a wound that’s been festering for years is struck again, becoming further infected. An already deep gash increases, making the healing process all the more difficult.

I’m tired of this vicious cycle, but every time I make myself vulnerable and speak up, all that arises is more hurt. Constantly, I’m told that I’m free to express my feelings, but whenever I try, something I say is undermined and rejected. Words offend, and I’m the scapegoat, the one to blame for bringing it up, damaging relationships even more. I gave the failed method one last try, and within a matter of seconds, my emotions were destroyed. It all happened so fast that I didn’t have time to process it. One minute, progress is seemingly being made, and the next, I’m so worn and spent that I don’t even bother to gather the strength to get back up again.

I’ve spent an entire week without hope, and it is the darkest place to be. My Bible journaling suffered greatly. I spent six days working on a one column entry that I would usually tackle in an hour.

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All I wanted to do was cry, but surprisingly, tears refused to come forth. Usually, a good cry can ensue with a single thought, but I’d fallen to a place where I’d exhausted my supply of tears on the subject, something I once thought unfeasible.

I’ve always been slightly ashamed of how easily I can burst into tears. Crying seems to be my body’s first response to sadness, anger, frustration, and elation. It’s not uncommon for teardrops to roll down my cheeks when I’m writing heartfelt scenes–or even when I’m simply plotting a depressing scenario in my mind. And I can guarantee you that I cried at least once while composing this blog post. As I’ve gotten older, I find that I’m more prone to cry during a book, TV show, or movie. I used to be able to keep track of how many had made me cry, but I don’t bother anymore. The more I embrace my personality, the more emotional I become.

All my life, I feel like I’ve been led to believe that my hair-trigger emotions are a character flaw, a result of caring too much and naivety. Maybe if I could just “fix” this problem, I could fit in, say what I really want without hesitating, get over my fear of rejection and not being taken seriously. Maybe as I grow older, I’ll lose my idealism and learn to just move on with my life. Maybe I won’t spend my days wallowing in distress, resentment, and silence.

But I don’t want to lose myself. No matter how many times my personality comes back to bite me, I don’t want to change who I am. I don’t want to lose my compassion for others and gain mistrust. I don’t want to lower my opinions of people just so I can avoid another disappointment. I don’t want to fill those special places in my heart for the hurting with indifference.

I’m an optimist. I don’t automatically expect the worst from people, and it can be quite shocking when someone acts out of character. I can’t stand confrontation, and I die a little inside whenever my power laced words hurt another. I’m passionate in my beliefs. While I might not always speak up, you can bet there’s a debate going on in my mind, attempting to decide whether or not I have anything worth fighting confrontation to say. And when I do muster the courage to talk, I’m firm in my opinion, always trying to use facts to support it. If I can’t find “sufficient” reason to have credence in something, I sit out, content with my view and willing to respect yours.

But I take things too personally, often not seeing the difference between criticism and humiliation. Disappoint is an emotion I experience daily, and it’s also one of the most mentally harrowing emotions on me. I’d rather you be furious with me than disappointed. I avoid it nearly as much as confrontation. To me, there’s little worse than failing to meet your exceptions. How can I hold someone to a standard I can’t meet myself? Offending or disrespecting someone else is almost as worse as failure. It is failure. I’ve failed to get my point across, and instead, I’ve only hurt someone in a way I despise being treated myself. I don’t wish those ugly feelings on anyone, and to know I caused that is not something I can easily recover from.

Slowly, I’ve come to realize that it’s not my personality that holds me back. It’s fear. It’s always difficult for me to discuss anxiety with other Christians. Often, I’m met with the reciting of verses that only remind me how much I suck at the whole being Christ-like thing. Sure, scripture is more often than not encouraging, but it’s also nice to know that you’re not alone in feeling this way. I do talk to other believers about it because I’m looking for Christ-centered motivation, but as a sister in Christ, I’m also looking for empathy, not a harsh rebuke and a reminder of the “rules.” Maybe it’s my fault for having expectations, but nonetheless, I don’t want to leave fellowship in more anguish than I started with.

And sure, one could argue that it’s my choice to feel this way, that I’m the one twisting their words of encouragement into reprimands. And to that, I don’t have a sound argument against the notion. The same choices don’t come easy to everybody. That’s the beauty of humanity–everyone has their issues, struggles, and flaws. This just so happens to be mine. All I can ask is that you try to see my point view in the same way I try to see yours.

Last night was a restless collaboration of hours for me. I’d found it difficult to focus on my writing all week, my heart too busy contemplating paranoia to focus on doing my idea of the week justice. In the wee hours, I managed to force myself into a groove, relying on my ability to be somewhat functional without adequate sleep to get me through yet another despondent day. I resolved to start journaling earlier than usual, starved for some meaningful time with the Lord. On the table, my Bible lay open to the same entry I’d slaved unnecessary days to finish. My eyes skimmed the adjoining page for any journaling prospects, and they instantly landed upon the second half of Psalms 30:5. My heart leaped; my eyes swelled; my brain shouted, “HEY! I KNOW THAT PROMISE!” 

Weeping may last through the night, but joy comes with the morning.

Well, it was 6:30 A.M. Sunlight was starting to stream through the blinds. It’s morning.

But where’s my joy?

I didn’t have time to think about that. I needed to find a sunrise tutorial fast, so I could make some headway before church. Last minute, I decided to include the verse in the drawing and rushed upstairs to print off a fancy font to trace. I made quite a few mistakes with this entry. I picked a bad color to use for the words, making them somewhat hard to read. I colored the ocean at the bottom of the page too dark, forgetting to fade it out. I used the wrong black colored pencil and now have to squint to read the little bits of text encompassed by the swimming girl.

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Nonetheless, I love the entry and cherish the hours I spent this morning working on it. Finally, I had a good cry, the songs on my Bible journaling playlist confirming that the morning is coming, weeping only lasts for the night, and that I’m not alone in my insecurities. One song in particular hit me especially hard, Vicki Yohe’s “In the Waiting.” I can remember listening to this song (and the entire album) on repeat as a kid, but I don’t think I ever paid close attention to the lyrics or grasped its honesty.

 

Pain
The gift nobody
Longs still it comes
Somehow leaves me
Stronger when it’s gone away
Pray I try and pray
For your will to be done
But I confess it’s never
Fast enough for me
It seems the hardest part
Is waiting on you
When what I want
Is just to see your hand move

When I take a moment to think about it, I realize that my issues are somewhat petty. There are so many others out there who have to deal with things I can’t imagine surviving. There are even much bigger problems in my own life right now, but frankly, I’m not worried about those. That should tell me something. If I can have confidence that the Lord will take care of my dire needs, then I can have confidence that He will aide me in the process of healing and forgiveness, that He’s the one who can show me the happy medium in my personality. It’s by no means an easy journey, but I don’t wish to waste anymore time in hopelessness.

I know I’ve gone off on a bit of a tangent, but that’s okay, too. These blog posts aren’t supposed to be scripted to the very last period. They’re about sharing what’s on my heart, and going on a tangent is perfectly acceptable when it’s all coming from there. 😉 I want to leave you today with another song, another promise. It’s been on repeat since I began writing this blog post. It’s exactly the reminder I needed today, so thank you. 😊

Verse of the Day

Matthew 3:13-17 (ESV)

Then Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan to John, to be baptized by him. John would have prevented him, saying, “I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?” But Jesus answered him, “Let it be so now, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness.” Then he consented.And when Jesus was baptized, immediately he went up from the water, and behold, the heavens were opened to him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and coming to rest on him; and behold, a voice from heaven said, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.”

Verse of the Day

Matthew 3:1-12

In those days John the Baptist came preaching in the wilderness of Judea,“Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” For this is he who was spoken of by the prophet Isaiah when he said, “The voice of one crying in the wilderness: ‘Prepare the way of the Lord; make his paths straight.’” Now John wore a garment of camel’s hair and a leather belt around his waist, and his food was locusts and wild honey. Then Jerusalem and all Judea and all the region about the Jordan were going out to him, and they were baptized by him in the river Jordan, confessing their sins. But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming to his baptism, he said to them, “You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Bear fruit in keeping with repentance. And do not presume to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father,’ for I tell you, God is able from these stones to raise up children for Abraham. Even now the axe is laid to the root of the trees. Every tree therefore that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. “I baptize you with water for repentance, but he who is coming after me is mightier than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. His winnowing fork is in his hand, and he will clear his threshing floor and gather his wheat into the barn, but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire.”