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My Decorating Manifesto: When Decorating Can be for God’s Glory

on April 9, 2012 by Jami Balmet 24 comments

Decorating your home can be fun, or it can be work. It is relaxing to some and stressful to others. Some see it as a waste of money and others see it as a “necessity”.

When considering finances and being good stewards of our money, decorating has been on my mind. A lot.

Is it a waste of money? Do we really need this new painting for the living room? Should I be spending valuable resources and time on decorating?

The answer I have come to: Yes and No. It all depends on my frame of mind. Decorating can be prideful for me, or it can be out of a desire to bless my family.

My Decorating Menifesto

When Decorating can be for God’s Glory

Let me set up a scenario for you. A new family comes over for dinner and I have worked the apartment to perfection. The table is set, the food is cooking, the background music is on, the candles are lit, and the decorations are in the right place. We lovingly welcome a new family into our home.

Okay, let’s stop there. I could very well have two different motives going into this. The first is that I am motivated by pride. I want this new family to see my beautiful, perfect house. I want them to perceive that I am the best homemaker and that my house is perfect. The decorations are just so beautiful, and it’s all about me. {And trust me…it’s very easy to fall into this!}

OR, my motivation could be that I want to make a warm, inviting house. I want a new couple/family from church to enter my home and feel welcomed. I want them to feel like I have put time into making them feel welcomed. I want my house to be a safe place to invite people into. I want them to feel comfortable when entering my home and that they are invited.

And believe me, I have had both motivations. As homemakers (or maybe it’s just me?), it’s easy to become prideful about our domain. We take pride in our home, and can easily be motivated to show it off.

But my purpose in decorating my home is to be warm and inviting.

My Desire in Decorating

I want my home to be a safe haven for my family

I want my husband to happily anticipate coming home each day. I want my home to be relaxing; a refuge from this busy life. I want my home to be warm and loving! I want my husband to feel love before he even sees me.

I want my home to be a place of tranquility and peace

A place that is conducive to the study of God’s word. A place free of clutter so our minds can likewise be free of clutter.

I want my home to be inviting and welcoming to new comers

I want to share God’s word with those coming into our house by how our home feels; not stuffy and perfect, but rather comfortable and loving.

 What is your motivation for decorating?

Get instant free access to my Finding Joy in Your Home video course.

  • Do you want to discover more joy, peace, & tranquility within your home?
  • Do you feel overwhelmed and like your house is out of control?
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  1. I agree that the majority of our motivation in regard to the home comes from either wanting to impress (“pride”) or wanting to welcome (“warm, inviting house”). I believe the first will always leave a person overly admiring the homes or displays of others, being discontent with her current space, and maintaining uncertainty of her personal style. For me, my goal in decorating is entirely about making it feel like a cozy and comfortable home. In apartment living, that can be challenging! However, I continuously am amazed at the difference made in simple things like curtains, pillows on the sofa or bed (or pillow covers), cloth table cloths and napkins and many more little touches. If you haven’t read Emilie Barnes’ book, “Simple Secrets to a Beautiful Home” then I definitely suggest adding it to your reading list. I have really enjoyed reading this little book that connects so well with my heart for home. Enjoyed reading your post today (and getting a sneak peak at your lovely home!).
    ~Whitney @ Reviving Homemaking

  2. I want my home to feel comfortable, liveable and welcoming. I want my home to look nice, but I don’t want people to be afraid to touch stuff, either…so definitely nice, but also livable 😉 🙂 Love and hugs from the ocean shores of California, Heather 🙂

  3. I want to come hang out in your home, Jami. Pretty, please? This is a great post ,and wonderful reminders. My life goal is to create a home that makes it impossible to not think about God. I want my home to be a reflection of His beauty. It’s easy to get caught up in wanting others to notice … well, me and my abilities. But it’s God who wants and deserves the glory. Thanks for the reminder! Now, can I come over?

  4. What a great reminder! And the flip side is true, which is where I am currently – not wanting people over because you’re embarrassed by your home. The cheap carpet in our apartment has been stained multiple times over by two small children and I find it embarrassing. But the call to hospitality remains whether the carpet is lovely or not!

  5. I used to be so concerned about everything being just right. But now as long as there isn’t laundry piled up on the couch, I don’t worry too much about the house. I feel like company is coming over to see me or my family and they aren’t really too concerned with everything else. I get where you are coming from though. I think people want to see that you don’t have it all together and it makes them feel more relaxed.

  6. Love this! A great reminder to check our motives! It’s too easy to get caught up with wanting to impress others with our home. I know when I’ve gone to others’ homes, there have been times where it was so impressive that I started thinking, “Oh, we need to change ____about our house.” or “We should go buy ____ – that will make our house better!”. We live in a culture all about “keeping up” with everyone else! So I try to keep that in mind when we have others over. I do not want us or our home to be a stumbling block for other families by “showing off” my home or home making skills (although – I do at times struggle with that!). I don’t want our loved ones to ever leave our presence feeling inadequate in themselves or their home, or that they must “keep up”. Hope that made some sort of sense? 🙂

    • I know that I always have to check my motives with decorating! There can be good reasons to decorate and have an inviting home and very bad reasons!

      GREAT point! I always try and make sure that I don’t compare myself to others when visiting their house. But I hadn’t given much thought to what OTHERS think when they come into my house. Am I fostering the same thing I try to stay away from?? Great food for thought. Thanks for sharing!!!

  7. LOVE this, Jami! I remember a couple of years ago I started a monthly prayer group for moms. We would meet in my home and for an hour or so do nothing except pray over our children. Before the first meeting, I spent ALL day DEEP cleaning my home. Arranging things just so and making sure it was spotless. I had a ‘weird’ feeling deep down all day but couldn’t place it because I was too busy cleaning. About an hour before the ladies were supposed to arrive, I was showering and getting ready when God very clearly spoke to me. “Is this meeting about showing off your house or to pray to Me for your children?” That was a God spanking for me. I have to be careful for my motives when company comes.

    But when it comes to my husband, I want him to come home each day to a clean, warm and inviting home. I want him to feel like he can relax and not work more when he comes home. And I want my children to feel safe and loved here.

    • That sounds like a great prayer group! How neat to share that with each other. I SO do the same thing! I think the Lord has really taught me this year that it’s NOT about me and my house but rather opening up my home to bless others and share Christ. I have grown a lot and yet it is still something I struggle with every time we have people over!

      That’s exactly how I feel with my husband. I want our home to be a refuge and place of peace to come home too. It helps motivate me to clean and also keep my heart in the right place 🙂

  8. God obviously loves beauty – he made the world beautiful, and he made people beautiful. Mortal eye has only rarely seen such beauty as He enjoys. I want to emulate my Father, and so I try to make my surroundings beautiful.

  9. When I lived at my old much larger apartment, I decorated with all the stuff my grandmother and I had collected over the years. Our 5 foot fake pre-lit tree (we put it on a box with a tablecloth around it to make it look taller) and porcelain Nativity with dozens of assorted angels and about 7 or 8 wise men (get, the Bible never said there were 3 of them!) and a huge village that we used to put on the book case in 2 layers to make it look like it was on a mountain top.

    This year, though, since we’ve downsized to a tiny 1 bedroom there isn’t even room for most of our furniture, let alone Christmas decorations. Besides, the time to enjoy all the lights is at night, and when you work nights aleeayd, well… There really isn’t much point. So we didn’t bother. I’m writing cards and making jar gifts, and that’s about it. We don’t need decorations to make it feel like Christmas. (Heck, living in Florida, it doesn’t even get cold, really.) So we just enjoy the time we have together and sing songs on the way to and from work. Decorations are nice, and when I get a bigger home, i’ll decorate again. But they aren’t a necessity.

    • I love decorating for Christmas but sadly this year we are not decorating since our twins could be born any day now and we don’t want the hassle of Christmas decorations. So it doesn’t feel very much like Christmas here lol! But you are right of course, Christmas decorations are not a necessity 🙂

  10. I do love decorating my home in all possible way. For a new home its a necessity. After all those busy days of our marriage and in between maintaining our new home was a headache. I love well stacked and organized shelves and those stunning interiors. We always look for the best interior decors whenever we get a chance to visit fancy stores or travel abroad. But placing them randomly here and there in our home without an idea or a design can turn out to be a complete mess and a wastage of time. In that case, we should definitely hire an established home decorator .

  11. Love this! My husband & I built our house ourselves & we work to decorate our house to tell the story of what God has done in our lives including pictures, Bible verses we love, things we gave created between sewing, painting, taxidermy, woodworking etc. We feel like God has made us to create and take dominion over the land he has given us, and that includes doing our best to make a home that is a glory to him. Cheaply of course 🙂 we diy everything

  12. I am glad you ladies have the desire to be balanced homemakers and the opportunity to teach your children that a Christian home is not a place for a showy display of our means of life, but rather, a place to show and share our love for one another and others. I wish I would have had that insight when I was a young wife and mother. However, I must confess, as I looked at the home decor photos with a discerning eye, I added more red pillows, put a faux red rug under the coffee table, and schematically arranged a collection of various sized black fabric covered DIY canvases (with letters for the bible words cut from coordinated scrape book paper) over the couch. I continued decorating into the eating area until with conviction, prayer and repentance I had to confess, I was not looking at the photos with a discerning eye but with a judgmental heart. Jami, thank you for having more wisdom in your little finger than some of the older women that Titus 2:4-5 says are to teach young women. Even as an elder woman, I’m still learning my heart and understanding my motives. It is a life long lesson. Twenty-five years ago, as a young wife, I strove to have a beautifully decorated home and although I received many compliments there were times that I did not open up my home for fellowship because I felt like it was lacking. I grew up in a single parent home and although my hard working mother liked nice things, she often did not have the time nor the energy to teach us homemaking routines. Most of what I learned I learned from my many aunts who were masters at housekeeping and decorating. However when I visited their homes, I felt like a fish out of water because of practices like their no touch living room rules. In other words, their living rooms were not for living but for looking at. Their homes were spotless with routines like “clean the house top to bottom” Saturdays. I’d follow my cousin around and help her clean her private plush yellow bathroom that matched her yellow ruffled canopy bedroom decor with a tooth brush. We were not allowed to leave the kitchen after a meal until it was clean. I didn’t have a dishwasher at home, so when my Aunt made us wash the dishes before they went into the dishwasher, I was flabbergasted. One aunt always kept a homemade cake in a glass domed cake dish on the counter and no one went into her refrigerator without asking and washed hands. She was a certified pearl necklace wearing Betty Crocker or in today’s terms, a Martha Steward. Another aunt decorated for Christmas with three glitzy trees. Even my aunt with eight girls and one boy (with my sisters and I added to the bunch for the summer) could not be out done in the decorating arena, because she knew how to put the D in DIY. Her decorating skills extended into the backyard where she painted a colorful hopscotch on the walkway and stitched frilly curtains and a lace table cloth that turned a junked Volkswagen van into a darling playhouse. I enjoyed my summer visits but was relieved to get back to my relaxed home with our kid scheduled cleaning routine even though the floor plan of our entire house could fit in my cousin’s pool table outfitted recreation room. I can go on with many more of my aunts’ homemaking antics and my own and although there is nothing wrong with lovely decorations and tidy big homes just like there is no evil in money, the evil or wrong is only in the love, worship, boasting, or over reliance of these earthly things to the dishonor of God. This leads me to ask that we pray and meditate on the following scriptures’ wisdom with the ongoing goal to fully commit our homes, hearts, and hospitality to Jehovah’s glorious purpose. Prov 24:3 Wisdom builds a house, understanding establishes it, and knowledge fills it with rare and beautiful treasures. Psalm 49:16 Do not be overawed when…the splendor of a home increases. 1 Cor. 4:7; 5:6 Do not boast, what you have you received. Luke 10:38-42 Mary sat at the feet of Jesus while Martha [Martha Steward? :)] was busy with housework. Yours in Christ, Ms. Beulah

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