Is Decorating Frivolous?

Is Decorating Frivolous?

This post has been brewing in me for quite some time.   Actually, when I went to write it there was so much in my heart on this topic that the post was getting waaaay too long.

Basically, I could write all day on this.  Out of necessity, I will be breaking it into four different posts.

Recently, I was in two different conversations with people that I deeply respect in the blogging world. The topic of decorating came up, more specifically the frivolity of decorating.

They were arguing that nobody needs to decorate- it is not a need, it is a want, they said.  They weren’t attacking me, it was just an observation they were making.  But, the more the conversations continued, the more deflated I became.

Was it a waste of my time to teach decorating to my blog readers?  I started questioning everything I was doing with this blog, feeling like I had just hit a dead end.

I cried all the way home that night, but by morning God was challenging me, “What a minute, is this even true?  Is decorating/ creating beauty merely a want and therefore not important?”

I agree that it is a want, especially the specific pieces of decor, but might it also be a need on some level?  Might the act of decorating or creating beauty be a requirement for the human soul?

Hmmm, now I know that people have different interests and not everyone is going to care about decorating as much I or my readers do.

That being said, I am going to make a blanket statement and say that, yes, all human beings need a certain amount of beauty in their lives.

Then, there is the crowd that defines “beauty” as decorating and creating. That is were we come in.  There is something healing and calming in it for us.

A couple of weeks ago, I sent my email subscribers a simple email asking them what they are struggling with right now.  There was an unlarming number of unsubscribes, but I don’t care. It is something I would like to do about every six months because it shows me how best to help my readers.

One of the answers to my question actually is responsible for triggering this post. She described a series of losses, specifically 12 different deaths in her circle of family and friends that she is grieving over right now.

Then, she wrote, “Sometimes I feel that moving ahead and updating decor or being concerned with it is like I’m moving on and I can’t seem to give myself permission to do something.

What would you say to her?

It’s hard to say for sure with grief, because I myself am not ready to purge all the baby items I have from my miscarriage this summer.

And yet, decluttering and cleaning the house feels very soothing.

Focusing on creating a tiny bit of beauty each day is healing.  Even it is simply putting a tiny parsley sprig on each person’s soup at dinner or lighting a candle in the evening.

It is in these actions that I declare to the world and to myself that there is still order in the chaos.

God is still on the throne.

There is still beauty and hope and life worth living each day.

So, all that to say  . . .  when you are ready, dear reader,  . . . .

do not shy away from changing your home to make it more beautiful.

I think you will find a quiet comfort in it and might I dare say, your loved ones would want you to be comforted right now.

Related Posts

Miscarriage and Holding Dearly

What Your Decorating Says About You

 

Sharing at these parties.

SaveSave

SaveSave

Follow:

31 Comments

  1. Sharon
    November 1, 2017 / 8:32 AM

    I can say that I personally have this question come into my mind about once a month. I will be dragging furniture around, or fluffing pillows, and wonder if I am being selfish or distracted from the bigger picture? But, I have to say I totally agree with this post. Many times, cleaning, fluffing, creating have been a source of healing by letting me focus on what God has given me, in both material items and creativity. I try to set my mind on gratitude every time I work on my home or projects…’thank you God for this xxxx or for the ability to xxxx’. I am sure there have been times I have gotten carried away and lost focus or missed other opportunities. but I think when we keep it in perspective of what the big picture is, it definitely has a place in our lives!
    thanks for sharing your heart.

  2. Cassandra Egan
    November 1, 2017 / 3:47 PM

    Oh boy…may I leave a big long comment? This touches on two things for me, it’s something that has so been on my heart. I’m going to be all over the map though. As you know, (but I don’t expect you to remember) my husband is being treated for cancer, and the road we have been on is long. He and I are mostly unemployed for what will amount to about a year during this time. Neither of us receive any sort of benefits, so we’re living on savings and grace right now. I won your bee glasses, and believe I told you then that it was such a boost for us. We’d just returned home after a hospital stay and we were both contemplating what it means to have a home, and the niceties of home. We were also feeling like we needed to feel a bit of good news. Fast forward to last month and the wildfires in California. My mother’s house burned to the ground along with some of my inherited antiques and my house very nearly burned. There was a night as my husband and I were in the hospital where I went to bed knowing the fire was headed directly for our home. I received updates throughout the night that it was still standing. Barely. By the next day, I got word that firefighters fought from right behind my house. They drew a line and I landed on the safe side. I don’t own my home or have renter’s insurance. (I tried once). If my house were to burn, the entire contents of my home would be lost to me. I began tallying up all the things I’d just bought over this past year before the cancer hit, and my husband and I were finally feeling able to spend on frivolous items. (I also seriously thought of the bee items, and would have been so sad to lose them!) I didn’t read blogs for a couple weeks. I didn’t do anything but read about the fires. And contemplate my own situation.
    I really had to think about everything. And I still don’t know how I feel about it all. I don’t know if my mind has been changed. (Other than feeling imperative to look into insurance again.)
    I did go back home after the evacuation order was lifted and just love all my things that express the home I like to have. If I may add one more twist to this overlong story…I was very sad during the fires that devastated our communities to not see them being observed as the hurricanes and floods in Florida and Texas and Puerto Rico had been observed. I felt a little abandoned by the blogging community. And therein lies my final observation: This is community to me. I was so sad to read about your miscarriage, because you are a real person with a real heart ache. I don’t expect bloggers to observe every tragedy. That would take all day every day. But wishing to share these things makes me appreciate the community aspect of blogging. I know it’s how some make a living, and I can appreciate that. I know many, including you use teaching as a vehicle to blog. I appreciate that also. But what I’m most interested in is the sharing that happens in blogland. And though I’ve never been to your home, the thoughtfulness that you put into it brings comfort to me even through the screen. And that’s what I want of my home. That it would bring comfort to anyone who enters. And I believe even if someone else cannot appreciate my choice in pillows or my little vignettes, they will at least register that my home brings me happiness and that happiness is offered to them too.

    • Ardith
      November 4, 2017 / 9:27 AM

      Cassandra, yours is a very powerful reply to Sarah’s heartfelt post. It seems this year has been particularly difficult for many people, my husband and I included. And as you and Sarah point out, the deep satisfaction, indeed the sanctuary that our homes provide is even more important in times like these. I know that I walk around our home every single day, grateful for all the comfort and beauty it provides.

      I wish everyone going through such heartache some respite this holiday season. I encourage us all to find some light in our lives, some way to celebrate life and each other. I wish you, Cassandra, and your husband the energy and best of help to win the cancer battle. I wish you relief from the level of stress you both must feel. You have all my empathy, and healing thoughts for your husband.

      • Sarah | She Holds Dearly
        November 7, 2017 / 10:11 AM

        Beautifully said, Ardith. Thank you for this.

    • Sarah | She Holds Dearly
      November 7, 2017 / 9:59 AM

      Casssandra,

      Yes, I do remember your story. Bless you, my friend. How terrifying about the fires and your home!! I, too, saw that the news wasn’t covering the fires the same way the hurricanes were covered. I’m so sorry, please, know that you have a group of friends here. We are praying for you and your husband! So glad you were our winner for the bee glasses and vintage poster.

  3. Kim
    November 3, 2017 / 3:25 PM

    With tears in my eyes, I thank you for such a beautiful and comforting post. Such heartfelt words. Thank you for your inspiring posts full of words and beautiful pictures that inspire. Life ebbs and flows. And with that we can find solace in the beauty that’s around us. So grateful for you!

    • Sarah | She Holds Dearly
      November 7, 2017 / 10:04 AM

      Kim, praying you for, my friend. Don’t give up! xoxo

  4. Paula
    November 3, 2017 / 9:35 PM

    I am not a follower of your blog. I ran across this post via a link on facebook, and I must say that I’m happy that I did. I absolutely love to decorate and craft. Due to chronic illness and almost constant pain, I rarely leave my house. This makes it so important to me that it be a place of comfort and beauty. Sometimes I can’t move around much, but I don’t get sad as I have beautiful things (some that I have crafted or painted) all around me to look at and focus on. Your post was beautifully written and made my night, thank you!

    • Sarah | She Holds Dearly
      November 7, 2017 / 10:06 AM

      Hi Paula, I’m so glad our paths have crossed. Thank you for all your kind words, I can tell we are kindred spirits. I pray your pain is eased soon. xoxo

  5. November 4, 2017 / 12:49 PM

    I think that in order to be happy and settled, ones space is incredibly important. Everyone finds that happy place with different decor.
    For example, my ex husband hated art work on the walls… whereas I’m the daughter of art collectors and as I was growing up, it became evident to me that a space that I loved and was comfortable in was a space where the walls were adorned with creations from other souls. Windows of endeavors.
    My house now has artwork on every wall… and this makes me feel good, and safe.
    I’ve had an awful couple of years, (with my mother dying, separating from my husband, becoming a solo mother, selling our family home, walking away a better person – but having the crapoy end if the deal) but all that aside, the things around me and my home make me feel like this is my place in the world. My own spot I’ve carved out.
    Some people spend a huge amount on what theyre passionate about… like sports/equipment, or beauty products, or clothes… I spend my time and energy on my house and garden. They are a labour of live and something that is always a work in progress, but I’m also incredibly proud of what I have achieved. A safe place for me and my daughter to express ourselves in.
    End note: everyone grieves in their own way, and it is not up to anyone else to ever judge that process. (Even though some do… naive? Awful humans? I don’t know…)
    You just take whatever time you need to heal your soul from your loss. We are all different. But many of us cant understand. Big hugs.

  6. Margaret
    November 4, 2017 / 1:48 PM

    This post reminds me of the book The Art of Home Making by Edith Schaeffer. Both are a good reminder to take care of my home, family and guests, and not let the burdens in my life overwhelm to the point of doing nothing. Thanks.

    • Sarah | She Holds Dearly
      November 7, 2017 / 10:16 AM

      Margaret, I am going to have to read your book recommendation! Thank you so much!!

  7. November 4, 2017 / 1:48 PM

    Dear Sarah … We love and serve a most creative Creator! And He speaks peace to us as we putter and craft and rearrange and care for the objects He’s allowed us to have.

    Two years ago, I found that caring for my everyday spaces turned out to be a sweet consolation in the loss of my dad and my grandson just a few months later. And feathering and nesting is this counselor’s therapy.

    I’m new to your space this week, and I’ve already subscribed. Just love what you’re doing here … and look forward to connecting in the days ahead.

    Blessings to you …

    • Sarah | She Holds Dearly
      November 7, 2017 / 10:19 AM

      Well said, my friend. I do believe it is the image of God in us that makes us desire beauty and order. I’m so sorry about your losses, your heart must be broken. You are in my prayers. So, glad our paths have crossed, welcome to She Holds Dearly.

  8. Brenda
    November 4, 2017 / 4:50 PM

    Through wisdom is a house builded; and by understanding it is established;

    And by knowledge shall the chambers be filled with all precious and pleasant riches.

    from Proverbs 24 kjv

    I see a whole picture here, of building a sanctuary for our family, and it looks neither haphazard, nor does it look meaningless to the Lord. To make the gathering of precious and pleasant riches for our homes of no importance, makes these verses of no importance.

    In crisis situations I have had comment made on my home in a most positive way. What we are doing in our homes does count in God’s economy. It is a part of the role of a virtuous woman (Proverbs 31) and it does matter. Be encouraged in these passages!

    • Sarah | She Holds Dearly
      November 7, 2017 / 10:20 AM

      I would love to frame that verse in my house. So, true. Our homes are havens both for us and whoever visits them.

  9. judy h.
    November 4, 2017 / 7:36 PM

    To some degree or another, each of us bear the bruises of the battles we’ve fought at sometime in our lives. Others of us have battled unrelentlessly for as long as we can remember. Why some more than others? I’ve pondered that for hours and am always brought back to my faith; really, the only constant in my life. I can still hear my late mother-in-law’s words when I ponder too deeply, “God’s ways are not man’s ways”, she would often say when something happened with no reason or call. I have suffered from severe depression and anxiety for the past 31 years of my life. This time of year, a familiar melancholy always comes calling and covers me with a fog of wishing the holidays would pass quickly, wanting my birthday to pass uncelebrated and having no care or desire whether our home is prepared for the holidays, or bears the slightest hint of the time of year. My husband delights in the fall and winter; Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas and the coming new year. Every year (he always knows the perfect day), he purchases something small, a blue pumpkin from the annual pumpkin fest, a fall bouquet, my favorite pink and cream poinsettia and asks me if I am up to decorating with him. Almost always, I tell him, “I don’t know”, but the small touch of natural beauty he brings into our home, never fail to convince that beauty is good medicine. I get the urge to contribute to his gift and sometimes take the reins of the rest of the holiday decorating and other times, I gladly share the process with him. Does my seasonal melancholy tiptoe out of the door? Unfortunately, no – but each day, I am touched by the beauty, the decorations, the lights or music and think to myself, “THIS, is my gift from God, He helps me through the days and wants me to enjoy the process of making beautiful and then, to take a step back to experience the joy and peace of creating the beautiful because He wants me to know the importance of beauty, because in beauty, we always find gratitude. In the prescence of gratitude, a place exists in all of us that our problems and burdens cannot touch.

    • Sarah | She Holds Dearly
      November 7, 2017 / 10:23 AM

      I’m so sorry to hear about your struggles, my friend. You husband sounds like a true gift from God. You are right to say that the simple touches in our homes are from God, I call them “God kisses”, He is alwasy trying to communicate his love for us in the details. xoxo Thinking of you this season.

  10. Sherry Stuifbergen
    November 7, 2017 / 9:27 AM

    Wanting and creating a beautiful home is a sign of happiness and self-expression..and a show of love and respect for ones whom you invite to come inside. How can anyone put down the ability and want to decorate and beautify a home. It is a “nesting” instinct in human beings.

    • Sarah | She Holds Dearly
      November 7, 2017 / 10:23 AM

      Yes, yes, yes! Thank you, Sherry, for articulating this so well.

  11. Peggy Z
    November 7, 2017 / 9:59 AM

    This post is very near to my heart. We moved to my husband’s childhood home 4 years ago. I haven’t made any changes as this was his Mom’s home for 80 years. My heart has been to continue the wonderful hospitality she shared. But today you have given me another word. Sanctuary. I am going to start. We need to feel like this is home. It doesn’t have to be filled with high end furniture or the latest trend. We need to be able to feel we belong here too.

    • Sarah | She Holds Dearly
      November 7, 2017 / 10:26 AM

      Oh, I love that. Sanctuary. Yes, I encourage you to let the place become your own, it doesn’t mean you don’t love and remember your mother-in-law. It is just an extension of her.

  12. Kendall
    November 7, 2017 / 10:33 AM

    As with anything, there is a spectrum and one must have moderation. With every good comes the temptation of excess. Of course, excess, pride, putting decor above people or God would be bad. Of this we can agree and be sure.

    Creating beautiful things was GODS FIRST ORDER. The first thing (we know of) that he ever did was CREATE. “In the beginning, God MADE….and it was GOOD.” We create, we beautify, we decorate because we were created in his image, these are the traits he passed on to us….well, some of us. Other people have different gifts. These are an outward expression of our inward being.

    Decorating is by no means frivolous, rather an attempt of our souls to recreate Eden, the first perfectly ordered and beautifully decorated space.

  13. Linda Charlton
    November 7, 2017 / 11:10 AM

    First of all, the truth of the matter is we all move on from sad events and grief at some point. It is not good for one’s mental health to wallow in sadness. Each person moves at her own speed and in her own way. I am not a wallower so it’s somewhat difficult to understand that mindset. My way is to move on as quickly as possible and to avoid certain sadness triggers. That is not for everyone. The act of re-framing our thoughts is really helpful. Instead of saying to one’s self I shouldn’t do this because, say I want to do this in honor of…..my mother, sister, BFF. Decorating can really honor someone in many ways: using an item(s) you received from a person, using an item that helps you remember happy times with that certain someone. You get the idea. Instead of thinking it selfish, think of it as preserving good memories and honoring those.

  14. Meg
    November 7, 2017 / 11:54 AM

    Bless your sweet heart. You help us see the beauty in God’s world, which includes that in our homes. Perhaps the beauty we introduce in our homes is more important than anyone really knows. Perhaps it is a balm to our souls and a haven to our hearts. Write on, dear one.

  15. November 7, 2017 / 4:23 PM

    This is a very real question. I always think of home as a refuge from life’s heartaches and a haven with happiness and love. And how we decorate is our comfort. It shows people who we are. And if it gives us joy then it can’t be a bad thing. Maybe some people do consider it a want and not a need but for me, it is a need.

  16. Jessica
    November 7, 2017 / 4:36 PM

    I really love this post, and feel that decorating is an expression of one’s creativity and artistic vision. I enjoy decorating and feel my creativity is a gift and not frivilous! I have always wished I could sing as beautifully as my grandmother..until I realized I had other strengths in art and design. I really enjoy your blog and look forward to your unique and inspirational posts.

  17. Tanya Hulbert
    November 7, 2017 / 5:42 PM

    I am very encouraged reading this. God has created us each uniquely, however, each with a desire for beauty in our lives. That definitely looks different for each person. For us it is beauty in our homes. God has also called us to be wise with finances He has blessed us with. He gives us wisdom and discernment. Thank you for encouraging us in our walk with different forms of beauty. God has created us for that desire.

  18. Minnie McCoy
    November 8, 2017 / 9:21 AM

    Is decorating a need or want? It is a need. Oh, true, it’s not air or food or water. But look around carefully. God himself decorates the world for every season.
    People that cook for a living or simply for joy Decorate the food with arrangements and garnish.
    People Decorate themselves with clothing, jewelry and makeup.
    People that write Decorate the subject with words that are not needed to make a point.
    Even my puppy dog Decorates with her toys. If you move any of her toys from the place she puts them she will put it back exactly as she had it before. She wants them facing a certain way. Yes…she is decorating in her own way.
    Decorating, fluffing our nest so to speak gives us peace and comfort.
    I have been in a lot of homes that weren’t really decorated, they are just usable. The people that live in these homes just don’t seem happy or peaceful. So sorry for their sad little houses.
    As for the rest of us Keep Up The Decorating! Make your spot in the world beautiful and cozy not just simply Usable.
    Blessings to you!
    Minnie

  19. November 8, 2017 / 5:46 PM

    I lost my son to a motorcycle accident 4 years ago this past October. I started to feel the guilt of living immediately and struggled for about a year. I’d always been a “decorator,” the one my friends turned to for advice on arranging. Suddenly adding beauty and order to my home became imperative. Decorating is the only thing that has helped keep me sane, allowed me to honor my son, who had such a zest for life, by living my own with joy. Decorating is not frivolous, living in a home that brings happiness, also brings security…for how can we feel secure when Our home is sad and in disarray? Living with things that speak to your heart, have history, that MEAN something to you……that is what a HOME needs. I started my blog with the hope that I could offer ways for turning the average house into a sanctuary. I loved this post, it spoke volumes to me. Thank you.

  20. Julie Briones
    November 16, 2017 / 10:18 PM

    Great post and great comments. I especially enjoyed the comments regarding us being made in the image of God, and, because of this, we naturally are creative in some way, whether it be home decor, the arts, or simply being creative in making a special memory for a loved one. 🙂

    Another thought that comes to mind, that I believe is biblical, is that the Lord is a kind and loving Father, wanting to give us good things (just like we do with our own children… but SO much more!) I believe through the aspect of humans appreciating beauty (home decor, art, a different haircut, new makeup, or just the amazing way He paints our sky!) that He give us tastes of Heaven. Simple glimpses into the Home He is preparing for His children. If these tastes/glimpses are SO amazing here on Earth, just *try* to imagine what we will have in Eternity! PTL! Thanks, Sarah, for sharing, and letting us share!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *