overcoming decorating paralysis :: What I really think about decorating.
Tuesday, March 20, 2012 by {darlene}

I am so excited to dive into my new series: “Overcoming Decorating Paralysis.” You can read all about the concepts I will be tackling in the intro post here. I think we are going to learn a lot from each other!

This one is wordy. Bear with me as I hash this out…

Before I go on.

I have something I want to share that I don’t want to dance around:

I want to tell you what I really truly think about decorating.

1. I love it with a passion. So much so that I write about it and work on it almost every day.

and, also:

2. It is a totally unnecessary luxury, one with which me must strive to seek careful balance.

there.

 

For two solid years I wrestled with God about even writing this blog and sharing my business with “the world” {*smile* that’s you!}.

Why the struggle?

For one, I have seen desperate poverty with my own eyes. Fed people under bridges. Stared in the eyes of begging children. Heard from orphans. Seen small children walk through sewage and live in filth. And even here, in America. And through God’s grace, He has not allowed me to forget a single one of these things. I know, from the depths of my being, how insignificant home decorating is in the grandest scheme of things.

And secondly, I believe to my core, and daily hope to live, these things:

“Better a meal of vegetables where there is love than a fattened calf with hatred.” – {from the Bible, Proverbs 15:17}

“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” – {from the Bible, Matthew 6:19-21}

I don’t believe we should live casually by these truths, but deeply and intentionally.

Hence, my wrestle… Would Fieldstone Hill be glorifying the very things that moth and rust destroy? The answer is: it could. It certainly could. And on some days… it probably does. And worse. It has probably discouraged someone. Or frustrated someone. Or defeated someone.

I don’t say these things to cut myself down, or to insult this blessing-of-a-business. On the contrary. I simply want to look at things from the right perspective. From a lasting perspective.

And, from a lasting perspective, lets face it: Decorating is not important.

And yet I cannot tear myself away from the thought:

men and women from all over the world have had and continue to have a longing and desire to add beauty to their homes. To create art. To be surrounded by peace and order that echoes the Beauty around us.

Were we meant to create beauty?

The truth is: I have discovered, slowly but surely, that anything, ANYTHING, can be used to bring Glory… to the Only Thing that matters.

Even interior decorating. Even our homes.

Our homes: used to build up workers, servers, friends, and families. Our homes that can serve if used toward that aim. Our homes CAN serve if we don’t hold on too tightly. If we keep our homes in perspective. If our homes work for us and for God…. not the other way around: us, striving and serving and working for our homes.

And I humbly say {and what a surprise it has been!} that Fieldstone Hill Design has been used to help others build up homes that serve. To add Beauty to the mundane. And even to shine Beauty in the creative blogosphere. And for that, I am so amazed and thankful. I have mercifully been shown that this is what I am supposed to be doing.

So, what about you?

Are you meant to create beauty?

To add order and peace to your surroundings. to this world?

If you are living in a situation where you are blessed with the ability to even think about such things as decorating your home, this is where the right perspective must come in. Before we can ever free ourselves from any sort of decorating paralysis… we need to know how our homes, and adding beauty to our homes, fits into the overall picture of our lives.

And I’m guessing that, if you read Fieldstone Hill Design, you love interior design too.

Has this love consumed you? Replaced something more important? Taken up too much brain space?

Has your dream for “things to be a certain way” inhibited the very things that you know are MOST important?

Are you serving your needs and wants and dreams for your home… or is your home serving your family and the greater Good?

How on earth are we to EVER to break out of any type of paralysis without dealing with the truth? FIRST.

 

{truth is. I can’t WAIT to hear what you have to say about this.}

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Do you really resonate with this post? Maybe, just maybe, you are a Master Designer and should be included on the Master Designer Blog Roll?

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Labeled: Master Designer, overcome decorating paralysis

68 Comments

  • Darlene! This has struck a cord with me. I’ve often wrestled with the same questions…. and have come to the same conclusions. Our homes are our “haven” in the world, and when we use decorating to create a tone, a feeling of warmth, love, and peace, then relationships are nurtured, and love grows. Decorating becomes the vehicle through which the important things are accomplished. Thank you for being honest and transparent. I love it…..
    Blessings to you,
    Krista

    • As a designer myself…I could not have said your response any better! In fact I DO say all of these things often. Making others’ homes welcoming and warm is so important to well being!! Bless this blog – it is wonderful, and thank you for your reply to it.

  • Very well said and something that I struggle with as well. Finding the balance in life can so often be difficult. Thanks for the encouragement and wisdom this morning!

  • Thank you Darlene. Like you, and many others, I have grappled with this. Thank you for sharing your talent and God-given wisdom. I look forward to seeing and reading more. Blessings, Shirley xxx

  • Thank you for struggling, and for wrestling, your heart for this has really blessed me this morning!

  • Darlene- this was such a wonderful post! Your best yet! It’s so true, there’s always going to be e bit of an internal struggle when we’re living in “plenty” and when our hands are busy creating things that are not “necessary”, but I WHOLEHEARTEDLY believe that God is using you in more ways than you even realize to increase HIS kingdom!!!! It’s just a bonus that it happens to be in a way that you love! How creative our God is– that he can use ALL things for his kingdom! And as you are being faithful to use the gifts and talents that he has given you, your work has eternal value! Only HE could set that into motion! =)

  • Darlene – a BRILLIANT way to start the series…I love you girl!

    (…gotta love sharing scripture without preaching ;)

  • You went right to the heart of the matter. I wrestle with these issues and struggle for that balance. It is warmth, peace, ‘being’ at home in our own home that nudges my creativity and challenges me to create that feeling for others. Beauty and tone seem so interrelated to me. Physical spaces can reflect who we are so that inside and outside, heart and home, can reside comfortably and peacefully together. So paralysis says something significant about us and examining the why behind the what is important.

  • Your honesty amazes me! It’s such a rarety these days, especially when considering our faith and whether our purpose driven life that is designed by God is providing meaning to the world. I definitely am one that has believed in trying to “keep up with the Jones’s”, but God is currently deconstructing that worldly myth in my life and centering me on the purpose of “presence” with my family and creating a hoem that is functional but where I’m not a slave to it’s seeming “perfection”. I love organized drawers and would love to throw in some nice art pieces here and there, but if my hearts not 100% or I’m making it a priority before God and family, then I’ll just be satisfied with a clean breakfast nook.

  • Love it, love it, love it!!
    Spoken with such grace and truth! You are a blessing to me!
    xoxo

  • Oh, Darlene, how we all struggle with this concept. It’s so easy to get caught up in the world of design, especially since the blogworld has exploded with so much inspiration & creativity. I have loved having a beautiful home for many, many years & it has been consuming at times. But, girl, let me tell you, when you lose most everything and have to start over, a modest house & making it the best it can be is what my heart desires. Not keeping up with the latest trends or following all the fads. When I’m blessed with another small fixer upper home again, I will be grateful & honor God with everything that is in me IN that home. Love your post on this topic. I believe God wants to give us good things. That doesn’t necessarily mean a bigger house or all the stuff we desire, but he can use whatever we have for His glory!

  • I’m really not a frequent blog commenter and so I’m feeling a bit funny since I just commented yesterday, BUT, thank you so much for putting this into words! I, too, have wrestled with the same and the Lord has been showing me over the past couple of years the same truth (also slowly, but surely): “that anything, ANYTHING, can be used to bring Glory… to the Only Thing that matters.” How gracious is He?! I’ll try not to write a book in your comments, but for me it really started not with home decor but with coming to terms with a son who is very talented in gymnastics and the time and money required to invest in that. Wouldn’t it be better spent on the poor? I’d ask the Lord. A couple of things the Lord kept bringing to mind – one, that’s become one of my favorite verses is Psalm 24:1 “The earth is the LORD’s and the fullness thereof, the world and those who dwell therein.” The other, a movie line my pastor often quotes from Chariots of Fire. Eric Liddell (an olympic runner and Christian missionary) in response to his sister’s concerns re: his focus on running – a less “holy” a pursuit in her mind -“God made me fast and when I run I feel his pleasure.” We do bring Him pleasure when WHAT IS HIS – talent and beauty – no matter where it lies, is used to point back to Him. In the end, it’s led me closer to Him because it’s opened my eyes to see ALL that’s around me as being from Him and for Him. Yes, there must be balance and being on guard against exalting that which moth and rust will destroy, but at the same time I’ve come to believe the dividing line between “holy” and “secular” is something we’ve created and we’ve allowed the “world” to have dominion over so much that is rightfully His. Sorry for the long comment :) I really just wanted to concur and slap you a high five for using your talent and your blog to point back to the source of all Beauty. Blessings to you!

    • Amen, Kimberly! I love your comment about letting the world have dominion over what is rightfully God’s. Of course, EVERYTHING is His, and that’s the point. I often remind myself, when I am fearful of spending money, that if no one ever bought anything except what was absolutely necessary, a lot of people would be out of a job! Of course I want to be a good steward of what the Lord has given me, and part of that is to spread it around.

  • Darlene~I found your blog through Nesting Place and I’m so glad I did. This is the first entry I’ve read and it just wacked me over the head! I’ve never thought of my “obsession” as an obsession. But I have a feeling my family sometimes thinks they come after my love of decorating and DIYing. Now, you have made me think seriously about how I’m balancing the important things in my life. Thank you for making me stop and think. I think I’ll go hug my kids now! ~Linda

  • Thanks for sharing your heart and TRUTH.

  • Darlene I just discovered your blog today on the recommendation from a reader of my very own blog. I am so glad to be here. I can not tell you how well you have articulated a struggle I too, had many many years ago when I opened up my design business. It was a struggle dealing with nothing but material things and figuring how I could possibly have a spiritual lesson in all of this STUFF! Well, Our almighty God has a plan and he has led me on a journey full of lessons and surprises and I have met some amazing people. Once we dedicate our lives to him, he takes all our being and guides us on the most amazing journeys. I have been blessed with not only the pleasure of something with the talent he gave me but blessed in being able to help people better their lives with comfort and joy in the home that holds their most treasured gift, family. We are a blessed group of people indeed. I am looking forward to reading more of what you have to say. It is nice to meet you in blogland,
    Kathysue

  • Beautiful thoughts… you said exactly what I have been feeling. Looking forward to this series!

  • Thank you for being brave and transparent in writing this post. As an image consultant I always struggle with whether or not what my heart longs to do in helping women and young girls know that their value and worth is in Christ and not the world. Yes, that is noble, good and right, but I use makeup, clothes and accessories as part of my business/ministry and I always question whether it is enough. I believe that the final peace to true beauty and the acceptance of it within ourselves has to come from God within us.

    Know that I love your decorating style and seek out your blog every day as it inspires me to continue moving forward in my ability to create beauty. We were born beautiful and in the image and likeness of God, the One whom beauty originates from. Even when I struggle with that, I often think of Oswald Chambers who said “the ocean has a shore.” We can’t get to the depths of who we are in Christ if we have no where to come from (hope that makes sense).

    Be blessed and continue to do what God has blessed you to do. You would not be passionate about it if it was wrong.

    Monica

  • Girl, you KNOW I love this post and that I can completely relate! My blog’s tagline is “creating beauty out of chaos”. My hope is that just as the Lord creates beauty out of the chaos we make in our lives, I’ll be able to use my gifts of creativity to create beauty in the home with what I’ve been given. Finding balance and not making decorating & DIY’ing the “idol” in my life has been my New Year’s goal. Your post is an excellent reminder to stop and reevaluate our priorities and intentions. xoxo to you sweet girl! Thanks for having the courage to share you heart with us.

  • What a beautiful post and spoken from the heart :) I believe God gave you a talent and that is to decorate and envision beauty. There is nothing wrong with using your talent to take care of your family and the more success your business has, the ability to give back to your community and the less fortunate. Creating beauty out of what you already have is certainly sometimes a struggle given this materialistic world we live in. Keep up the good work :)

  • What a great post! and I can totally relate. I struggled with this as well. But I ended up realizing that God can use me in so many ways when I am with my clients. When Im headed to meet a new client I always pray that God gives me His wisdom and His creativity to help them achieve a home they love. The rewards? getting hugs and endless thank you’s from happy clients. And I totally agree that we were created to create beauty-my talent & passion is God given-and I want to use it to the fullest. Thank you so much for sharing this post today!

  • Wow, as a new blogger, I totally relate to this struggle. Our youngest son was adopted out of immense poverty in India and it is so easy to love perspective of all we have. I even blogged about this myself if you want to read:
    http://www.applestonedrive.blogspot.com/2012/03/something-bigger.html

    Thank you for your wonderful post!

  • I love your transparency! I also feel the same way about my passion—fitness!! While there is a practical end to keeping ourselves moving and living healthy, there is another side where we must balance the vanity of it and the time it can consume!!

    I’ve often thought the same thing about blogging–is it something I should continue doing in this area, as it seems so small scale in relation to other things. BUT the reality is, the physical life plays a huge role in our spiritual lives just as enjoying beauty and the home we spend 98% of our time does too!!!

    Great conversation and great points!

  • Ditto to many of the above comments and thanks for sharing your heart – it resonates with so many!

  • AMEN!!! Oh, there are so many thoughts running through my head right now after reading this but let me just say AMEN again! LOL! I love this post and feel as though you have fully captured what we are desiring to do on our blog as well. To show how to be good stewards of what we’ve been given and to create homes in which we glorify Him in all ways…including decorating! Thank you so much for sharing from your heart! :-)
    Vanessa

  • What a great way for you to explain Gods will for you and other decorators. I understand since I too feel the same way sometimes about my DIY projects or evens designs. If feels so silly sometimes but you are so true, beauty is such an important part of what God wants for us.

  • I really appreciate your article! I feel the same tug to get off balance in either direction – decorate? or doesn’t matter? How much time/energy do I spend on my home vs. on people?

    I read a book a number of years ago that gave me a vision for my home as a “ministry center.” It was “Open Hearts – Open Homes.” I try to have a home that is decorated in a way that makes others feel at home and that reflects the goodness of God. That said, I try to not make it so “fixed” or fancy that someone who has very little in the way of material goods feels intimidated.

    We intentionally focus on being prepared for guests: extra toothbrushes, toothpaste, even pjs! We keep extra beds made and have some extra twin mattresses that can be pulled out of storage on a moment’s notice. We look around to see who and what God may want to use our home for. It has been fun and our children have been exposed to many interesting people from many cultures. It’s good. Just have to keep balance!

  • We currently live (for the second time) in a post-Soviet country, still reeling from the great socialist experiment that failed miserably…and yet we get our military paycheck and all the benefits that go along with that…and frequent reality checks of “what are we doing with what we’ve been given?” That balance of having when so many do not is delicate; for as you eloquently stated, losing sight of the Giver and the ways we can enjoy and use what we have to glorify Him certainly tarnish any beauty we come up with.

  • This was a wonderful post and something that we all need to think about. Happiness is not in the things that we accumulate, but I do know that I better serve others when I live in a home of order and beauty. Thanks for your post. I have enjoyed following you and look forward to seeing your next post.

  • Haven’t read the other comments, but as an artist, I believe I am reflecting God when I create. It’s his image in me. Do my paintings and folk art dolls change the world? No. But then again, does a dandelion change the world? No. And look at how they grow by the millions in extravagant abundance. Create away and be thankful that we are in situations in which we can do it. And use your God-given ability to make a beautiful home in ways that benefit those who can’t.

    Dixie

  • Great post! I’ve struggled with this idea lately (for a few months) too and it’s part of why I wrote my “Love Your Little House” series. Beyond accepting my Little House, I also had to accept the fact that children live in it. :) accepting those two things is the only way my home will be able to serve my family and the Lord.

  • Oh my goodness, Darlene. How I struggle with this very thing. I love my work so much that sometimes I feel it is to the detriment of my family and my faith. God has been tapping me on the shoulder and I know I must listen before he has to do something more drastic to get my attention.

    Don’t get me wrong, I do feel that I am doing what I am meant to do. I think it is incredibly important for my daughters to see their mother doing something that she loves. It is important for their own self worth as well as my own. But, I often feel so selfish. How do I find a balance, when some days all I want to do is my work and not homework or meal prep or heaven forbid, laundry!

    The fact is, I’m not the breadwinner in our family. We don’t need my income. But, I need to do something that is just for me. God has been there for me every step of the way. I just have to remember that it is him, not me, that is in control and I must look to him for the answers that I need.

  • Hi, Darlene! What a amazing beginning to this series! You so perfectly put into words the struggle that so many of us have. Thank you! I truly believe the gifts of creativity and design are God given gifts. He allows us to use our talent to serve others. The blessing of seeing a client’s joy after a finished project is absolutely priceless!
    I’m a fairly new subscriber to your blog but am thoroughly enjoying it and looking forward to this series!

  • I believe that as long as we put God first in our lives, whatever vocation we choose is not important, because we meet people and can influence them and be an example of good. Who doesn’t love to live in a beautiful home? If you are choosing a bed spread, which you need to stay warm, who wouldn’t choose a color that looks good with everything else in the room? The Proverbs 31 woman weaves fine linen and is clothed in purple. Her family is clothed in scarlet. Two thousand years ago, women no doubt, wanted to dress nice and have a clean home. Some may consider decorating frivilous, but it gives so much joy to many. That Proverbs woman was admired by all for her hard work and for taking care of her family. In the end, what counts is that we put God first.

    Those of us who love to decorate have a gift. That gift is the ability to make a house into a home and I believe that is a talent that benefits our families and friends. A comfortable home, no matter how small or large, is a place we can rest and recharge our bodies and our souls.

    Of course, this can be used the wrong way if we are trying to show off or out do the Jones’s, but decorating with a humble heart and the right attitude can be a blessing.

  • It is amazing that when God speaks, all those that love Him, hear him! Although I know God speaks to us individually, I believe he also speaks corporately…to the body. I have been struggling too, and have had a half written post for over 2 weeks. You have inspired me to finish it and post it. God does use us as followers to spread the Gospel through whatever avenue we have available…including our blogs. Thanks so much for sharing. Lori

  • Thanks so much for this post. I truly believe that we sometimes allow “design” along with other things cause us to take our eyes off of whats really important…”seeking His face”!

  • Excellent post. I live with this tension as well, of knowing the unending needs in the world, yet wanting to create a beautiful home for my family. Of honoring God with our use of His blessings. You have hit the nail on the head! I look forward to the rest if the series, and am SO excited about working with you in creating glorifying-to-God spaces in my home!

  • I am a Christian who also happens to be an interior designer. I can’t tell you the number of people (also claiming to be Christian) who have tried to tear me down by saying “It’s frivolous.” “You should be using your time and talents for important things.” “Shame on you for putting an emphasis on material goods.” It got so bad that I ALMOST thought about quitting. As I prayed for God’s will the Holy Spirit directed me to the book of Exodus. I read chapters 25, 26, 27 and 28. It was my burning bush. God cares about the most minute things. To create something of beauty with all glory going to God, I believe, delights Him. After all, He made me in His image.

  • Darlene!! beautiful post and awesome, Godly perspective. One thing that I often wrestled with is wanting so badly to have a “nice/beautiful” home (with good intentions of opening our home to others & hosting), but feeling disappointed because it does not look how I envision (due to my own lack of finances and skill :) however, I am generally at peace with the fact that our home can gradually become more beautiful as opportunity presents itself, but more importantly that our home CAN be open and serve others JUST as it is…I do have control to keep our space clean and tidy, smelling nice, and looking lovely and welcoming by simply lighting a candle or picking a wildflower for the table, etc. I read a book called The Hidden Art of Homemeking and it speaks volumes to exactly what you share here. That God is our Creator and we are created in His image…to love and create beauty! You inspired me to think on that today!

  • Darlene, I always love your design perspective and overall approach to design, but this has to be BY FAR my FAVORITE post you have shared with us. While in grad school in chicago, my focus was in art education, where I thought my connection to the greater good should lie. Looking back a degree in design would have allowed me more formal education to do what I love. As a mother of four…I serve my days with the hopes that education is important to them and that they see a woman who enjoys a passion. Decorating makes me happy low budget or higher budget…the lower the more creative I get. Random ramblings…but you commitment to helping people is evident and applauded. Beauty is a special gift to bring to others!

  • Thank you so much for this perspective. I’m a newbie blogger and I have been struggling with this very issue. How does what I am doing affect the eternal? I believe that this struggle is a good thing, this questioning- it helps us to focus and refocus on how God is leading.

  • Love this post….spoke directly to my heart! Can’t wait to read the rest of the series.

  • Oh Darlene,thanks for writing this. This post spoke to my heart just like all the other commenters. I have struggled with the same thoughts and I’ve decided for now that blogging took up too much of my time physically and mentally and so I’ve had to let it go for now because I started to set my heart on the wrong things. I think that God made us this way for those of us who love beautiful things and we are simply to use it for His Glory and to serve others and not as an end to itself or self-indulgence. Once again thank you and thank you. I was beginning to think I was the only one struggling with this!

  • Ah, what an honest post, and beautiful in its authenticity! Thank you for posting this…I love the Scriptures you referenced. This isn’t my original idea, but I can’t remember where the discussion originated, that God was the original Creator, and so He delights in our creativity. And I think that interior design, and nesting, is a way of loving on our families, which SURELY delights Him. But only we know our hearts, and the secret lies in balance…at the point where the scale tips towards a focus on “stuff” and self-glory, that’s where we step into a gray area. Obviously this is a hot topic closer to lots of our hearts! I think this, as often, boils down to a focus on deliberately avoiding idolatry. Whew! Sorry for the wordy comment. Thanks for this post, and looking forward to more discussion. Way to bring it into the light!

  • Thanks for sharing your perspective, Darlene, as with so many I can completely relate. Being a new blogger is time consuming, and I’ve often wondered if it is a worthy passion. I always came back to God gave us these gifts to use and as frivolous as it appears to others the ability to create beauty and share it with others is a blessing.

  • Darlene, I couldn’t sleep and read this in the wee hours of the morn, and it actually brought a tear to my eye, so read your words that echo exactly what I feel about decorating. Thank you for clarifying what is important, and putting it so beautifully.
    I enjoy your blog and your approach to creating a home so very much. I am excited to join the Master Designers and have been working on a post for this weekend!

  • This is something I struggle with too! I think that’s why I cling so strongly to frugality in decorating — because there are so many more important things that our money can be doing. But even then, when you pour your time and energy into your home, it’s so easy to let your heart follow. I don’t know the answer to this, but I do try to test myself often to see how I’d feel if God said – Leave this all behind. Sell everything you own. – And the way I feel about that command tells me everything. Thanks for this post!

  • favorite post! really outstanding, thank you!
    xo,
    Lulu

  • Thank you for sharing your thoughts on this subject and getting the conversation going. My friends and I struggle with the blessings we’ve been given and our desires to have beauty in our homes.

  • Oh, girl!
    You said every word I have ever thought about my trek through blogging and chosen occupation in life.
    I wanna talk about this series you’re doing at my place next week, so my readers can love you, too.
    I think it will be part of my Master Designer post you asked me to write a few months ago.
    You are such a great encourager, friend, and designer!
    HUGS, sugar.
    ~me

  • [...] ONE room in my house.  Just one! {by the way, if you haven’t read it yet, check out this post of darlene’s. great post, awesome series}.  I love deadlines; not that I have to have [...]

  • there is a Mormon ad that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day saints has put together. We watched it for our Relief Society night and I thought of you and this very post. I encourage you to watch it. It will help you see your gift in a whole different light of a woman of divine inheritance who was blessed with the ability to create. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RhLlnq5yY7k

  • I read a post from the “Good Life of Design” and had to come over to see more. Your mission statement really spoke to me. I am new to blogging and struggle with posting about myself and my home. I know what’s important but I don’t want to appear to others that I hold material things above Him, because I don’t. In others, I mainly refer to family and friends. Your button is on my sidebar and I will be looking forward to reading new post on this series. Thank you so much for sharing, Tammy

  • Ah, finally, after letting this stew in my brain for a week, I can comment!

    Excellent, thoughtful, brave post, Darlene!

    So…here are my thoughts on the matter, in no way organized or whatever: The Bible begins with an Artist before a blank canvas, a world black and void. He spends days creating a diverse work filled with usefulness (water, fruit trees, and other food) but also filled with creations of sheer beauty, for the absolute love of beauty and nothing else (ridiculous colorful fish and gloriously varied flowers come to mind).

    This original and awe-filled scene has been set for the crown jewel of his creation–man and woman who are created in his very image. An image that values beauty, DESIRES beauty–and something that causes my skin to ripple in goosebumps and my eyes to fill with tears–an image that, like Him, CAN CREATE beauty as well. Imagine! The joy he felt in creating the intricacies of our world in perfection, He instilled in us–and that becomes manifest in a bajillion different ways…architect, artist, baker, decorator, musician, writer, etc, etc. So that when a human is instilled with this talent, this creativity, there is no denying its existence because denying its existence is like denying part of His image and denying ourselves and the PLEASURE of creating. God wants us to feel pleasure at creating, that joy, that rush, that heart-filled euphoria–He wants us to say, as He did, at the end of the day “And it is good.” Frivolous, no.

    Before sin, before pain and suffering, there was beauty and happiness. I don’t think it is a coincidence that the world seeks, more than anything, beauty and happiness. But just because there is suffering now because of sin, that doesn’t diminish the value of beauty. There are perspectives to take, of course, and opportunities to use our gifts and talents to benefit others–possibly being the difference between life and death. But we can’t all be teachers in struggling schools, doctors, workers in foreign lands, peacemakers, pilots who fly lifesaving supplies to needed areas. Just as the pilot is called to be who she is, the artist is called to be who she is. A body with many parts–helping each other do what we are called to do. No one person can do it all, right?

    But absolutely, positively, anything can become an idol in our hearts. And how easy for the thing that we love to do, that we are designed to do, to become overpowering in our life. Nothing should be more important than our treasures in Heaven.

    If I hadn’t read all that you wrote after “Decorating isn’t important” [from a lasting perspective], I’d have to cross that creek over there and give you a pep talk! :) I feel like it is saying “we as decorators or artists aren’t important.” When we devalue the work, we devalue ourselves and the job God has given us to do. That ain’t right!!! Certainly when the economy tanks, people are using their money on food and basic needs and not as likely to get those new drapes for the dining room or buy original art. I get that. But there is always an opportunity for making someone’s life better with the use of beauty no matter what the economy. Our talents and purposes have ebbs & flows like everything else in life (tell that to the frustrated homeschooling painter who has little time to paint, Amen). Sometimes it isn’t about making a paycheck, maybe the season is about inspiring others or volunteering to those who otherwise wouldn’t have access to beauty like those more fortunate.

    I love to read about Bezalel in Exodus.

    I also love that Revelation ends with the promise of the two things we seek so desperately: happiness and beauty. There will be no more pain or sorrow, and then John immediately describes the beauty of the scene of Heaven, of the materials used in its construction ( we’re talking jewels and gold here and not Formica, ha!).

    Do you wish I had sent you an email instead? :) I love that you started your new series with this, Courageous Decorating Warrior for Christ that you are.

    Thank you, Darlene, for provoking meditations in me about a very special gift God has given me and my friends like you. I always like to think about how eager God is to give us good things, like an earthly father to his child.

    xoxo

    • Angela, very well said. I have often thought of how good it was for God to create color – He could have made a monotone, all gray world.

      Darlene, thank you for this series! You are beautiful inside and out. And I know that won’t puff you up, because I can tell you know God is the One Who gave you your physical beauty and creativity.

  • This is lovely Darlene, your whole series is wonderful. I’m so glad you are sharing these thoughts and your heart. I’m reading along and nodding my head every step of the way! Love you girl!

    xo & blessings.

  • Oh my….you have wrote quite eloquently what I have thought for years! Thank you for sharing those thoughts on beauty and faith and how they combine. Many times, over many years I’ve struggled with my passion for beauty and design and making our house, our home….and how to reconcile that with the great poverty in the world.
    Thank you…your words have touched me and inspired me.

  • Wonderful post. Yes, art is important, it makes life worth living. I don’t know the exact quote, but it’s something like “don’t have anything in your home that you do not find to be beautiful, or serve a purpose.” :)

  • Wonderful post. It’s amazing how many of us struggle with the same issue. Thanks for sharing your thoughts & heart and for sharing Angela’s comment in your latest post.

  • [...] blog’s more than just a pretty space. She also starts some amazing conversations, like the post where she opened a discussion about decorating and creating lovely spaces while there’s [...]

  • This is an old post, but wow I’m glad I found it! beautiful thoughts and words, and it can very much translate to many other superfluous categories of our lives, ahem, fashion. It’s looking at it in the right perspective, and acknowledging that our talents, our gifts are only because of the glory of God and his grace. Lovely Darlene

  • Darlene,
    I just found your post, and had to leave a comment. I love that you brought God into your work, acknowledged the struggle, and more importantly acknowledged Him. I’m a social worker, and work with the impoverished and hurt daily. For me, perusing interior design, pinning, and reading home org blogs is how I unwind, leave it all behind, and revive myself so that I can be present with my family. So I appreciate your work – and your ministry! May God Bless you, and keep on designing – I love it!!

  • Hi Darlene, This is the first time visiting your blog and I just read your post. I’m not a big commenter, but I wanted to say this to you…Wow! You spoke to my heart and I just wanted to thank you for it.
    Wishing you a blessed New Year!
    Siggie

  • Darlene! Oh my goodness. I just came across this today. I have struggled with these very thoughts. To the point that I have thought, ok. Enough. Close up shop. Delete blog. Whatever.
    But, I think, no, I know you’re right. God has placed a real desire in my heart to make this space He has blessed us with (even though it may be a rental), a real place where my children feel at home to create and be inspired to worship and become who they are meant to be for the kingdom. I feel like I get to set the stage for that. It’s a joy, a passion and I love it. Thank you. Thank you for sharing this.

  • [...] Enter.  Darlene and Fieldstone Hill Design. [...]

  • I know I’m a year late to this party, but I just had to comment. I have written this almost exact post several times and not posted it yet. It is such a struggle for me to balance poverty and generosity with creating a beautiful home. I’ve wrestled with God just like you and have also found that it is a balance. I cannot hold to my home and possessions too tightly. And I must be generous and give. But I also believe that God loves beauty and wants us to enjoy beautiful things. He created the beautiful world and colors, didn’t He?? Thanks for putting what I’m thinking in to words. Maybe now I’ll be brave to publish my post. :)

  • Like Laura, I am a year late to this party, but I had to leave a comment. I have popped over here time and time again from Edie’s blog and although I’ve looked around, I’ve never really been searching for something. Until now.

    You see, my husband and I are in the beginning processes of a major renovation in our home. We did a lot when we moved in, gutted the kitchen, new floors, totally remodeled the master bathroom… But I was pregnant with my second child at the time and really didn’t know what I wanted in a house nor did I have the patience or energy to try to figure it out. I attempted to work with an interior designer but her tastes didn’t quite match my own and in total frustation I gave up. I told the painters to paint every wall the same color, put a brown rug in the living room, hung cheap, boring, drab curtains and called it a day.

    After all, “we can’t take it with us when we die”, right???

    This post is amazing. Exactly what I needed to read and I cannot wait to dive into every post that follows in this series. I want to do it right this time and give my children (3 now!) a home that they remember. Thank you for writing this series. I will be in touch…

    Cary K.

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