I’m engaging in a new endeavor beginning today: Inktober.
Inktober (you can read more about it here) is the 31-day span throughout October where artists commit to using ink to create a daily offering of art. It’s kind of like NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) in November, but for visual artists.
It’s my dream someday to participate in NaNoWriMo, but for now, I’m excited to participate in Inktober.
I’m not an artist by trade, but I do consider myself a creative type for sure. I love fiber art, pottery, graphic design, and anything that involves color. Writing is its own creative outlet, painting pictures with words. I believe that if God made us in God’s image, then by nature we, too, are creators. We are created to create.
My most recent artistic foray has been thanks to a class I took in May with Dr. Lauren Winner, a Duke Divinity School professor and author who was contracted to teach a class at Memphis Theological Seminary where I am pursuing my MDiv.
The class, “Practices of Prayer: Images of God,” taught us to approach spirituality through the senses, especially by approaching and exploring the scriptures that offer metaphorical images of God (God as potter, God as mother hen, God as fire, God as knitter, God as baker, God as vineyard owner, etc).
Dr. Winner took us on immersive field trips and brought in guest speakers — for me, the most influential was Sybil MacBeth, author of “Praying in Color” (buy it here!). MacBeth taught us how to use pens, markers, colored pencils, paper, doodles, and meditation to connect with God through prayer.
Prayer is a true struggle for me, and has been for years, for various reasons. But I found that when I take my prayers to paper with pens and markers, prayer is a joy and something I am for the first time eager to dive in to!!
I have found that by exercising another part of my brain when it comes to my spirituality, I gain a fuller picture of who God is and how God reveals Godself to the world. I’ve used MacBeth’s process not only to pray, but to meditate, to relieve anxiety, and to brainstorm for sermons.
However, now that the pressure of school has resumed this fall, I have found that I am not particularly attentive to my spirituality as I was once I acquired my own journal and set of markers and pens at the start of summer. I’m too busy being busy. And this neglect of my spirituality has increased my despair, deepened my doubts, allowed unholy anger to seep in to my core, and otherwise left my spiritual energies bankrupt.
I want to change the world, but I need the God-breathed energy that comes with a healthy spirituality to accomplish such things for the Kingdom!
So I have decided to engage in Inktober as a way to hold me accountable to pursuing spiritual health. Each day, I will share on social media my “inkling.” They may be meditations. They may be prayer doodles. They may be lament. They may be full of meaning. They may be devoid of meaning. They may be in color. They may be India ink only.
(Isn’t it amazing how giving a simple word a modifier like “India” makes an object seem so much more exotic and artistic? Like, “Move over, Bic, I’ve got my India Ink pens now, and you’re not good enough for doodling. Stay in the bottom of my purse until I need to write a check.” Such a marketing ploy. That I’ve whole heartedly embraced.)
Rules for Inktober are personalized — just be sure ink is involved. I’ll be sharing my inklings at minimum 6 times a week, allowing myself a flexible Sabbath day, if needed. My goal is to record them all in the prayer journal I’ve already been using if possible.
Best Wishes for a Happy Inktober!
Faber-Castell PITT artist pens in black India ink. I’ll mostly be using the small or medium tip, but I’ve also got a brush head and an X-small tip.
Crayola SuperTips in various colors.
Moleskin unlined notebook