For a few years now I have wanted a new bible. Specifically, I wanted a journaling bible and a bible not in KJV, NIV, or The Message translations because I have those. (Also, hello Bible Gateway.) I began by looking for a journaling bible in the NRSV translation because that is translation that our readings come from on Sunday. But as it is a newer translation there are less options in style and format. But again, hello Bible Gateway, and my Forward Movement app (which has the daily readings in the NRSV translation along with a ton of other great daily prayer and lectionary resources.)
Also, let’s be honest. I wanted a pretty bible. I wanted a bible that was ascetically pleasing, not just utilitarian. I wanted a bible that looked a bit sacred, a bit romantic. That looked lovely and set apart all at once.
I found the Thrive bible (NLT) about a year or more ago and fell in love with it’s cover and heft. I loved the linen, the stitching detail (so reminiscent of At Home in this Life, the printed pattern on the spine, even the font choices. I loved the size and the weight. I also loved that it had journaling space on every page. Also, it was a translation that I mostly liked and didn’t have.
It would take me over a year to work up the courage to buy this bible. Why? Because I kept telling myself it was silly to want a pretty bible. I kept thinking about all the cool kid spiritual writers who would probably never even think about whether their bible was pretty or not. I kept telling myself that no serious writer and minister would have such a bible.
Which was pretty much like telling myself that I am a silly person altogether. That how I have been created -to be someone who loves Jesus and the lovely fonts, mess and beauty, gingham and theology – is all wrong and silly.
The whole time I told myself that story I was trying to make my essential being smaller. Silly is word that carries a lot of heft for me. It is probably the #1 word I use against myself, and I was dwelling in a deeply rooted story of shame that goes way back to the days of pigtails and pinafores, and the first time someone I loved told me I was silly for caring about the things I cared about. It was a lie a took to heart, a lie that ran like a broken record in my head and heart for 38 years.
Lord, forgive me for trying to hide what you have created.
For me, a lot of the past year has been about letting go of that shame and the stories that I tell myself because of it. It has been about owning and celebrating how I am created. Full stop.
So, I bought the bible.
And I adore it. It looks like me.