“My home and my space should be a functional and beautiful representation of life. It should allow comfort and should allow us to open the doors and make people feel welcome in our home. Some of that is the environment and some of that is the heart.”
I start this week mentioning this post by one of my favorite bloggers Emily.
I’m going to start with that because she just hit the nail on the head for how I feel about decorating and items.
Definitely read her post. Her family of six spent about 3 1/2 months traveling around the United States and sleeping mainly in an airstream trailer. They adventured and experienced tiny living. It sounds amazing! She came home to all of their things and rather than feeling shame or disgust, she embraced how certain items create home and aesthetic and thus one’s ability to open their door to others. That’s an oversimplified version at best.
Why do I mention this post?
I have been struggling for about two years with this concept. It started after we were in a bible study group. People would come into our small little apartment and make comments about my decorating. I tended to move things around a lot and acquire different things to make it more cozy or inviting – because let’s be real – studying God’s word while you are feeling uncomfortable or in a sterile space can be hard.
As God’s creatures, I think some or maybe even many of us appreciate aesthetic and beauty – why do people think instagram and pinterest are so popular?? – we LOVE the idea of comfort and inspiring beauty.
That’s the approach I took and still try to take with our space. I want things to be functional and aesthetically pleasing for our family. It allows us to feel comfort and functionality in our space and to feel inspired enough to get tasks done and to just sit.
However, after many bible study nights, after people left, I’d feel this horrible mixture of pride – how nice that they appreciate the vibe of my space – and a mixture of anger and deep cutting sadness – that person made kind of a dig at this or that or had a tone about my switching things around -. While some comments were nice, some began to cut deeper and deeper as intentions behind them felt pointed and like maybe somehow my likes and gifts were not okay and not glorifying to God.
Trust me – I examined this again and again. Did I spend too much money? Was I ungracious? Had I said something else to miff this or that person toward those comments? Should I tone it down? Should I just not buy or show up with anything different (even if I’d had a purse for ten years)? It became ridiculous.
I cannot describe how horrible this period of life felt. I constantly felt uneasy and judged. I didn’t like going to bible study outings or events because even if it wasn’t in my home, girls would make passive statements about my decor abilities (sometimes with kindness but often with a hint of just something else). Call it paranoia or call it well…
This really severed the relationship, amongst other things, with this group of people. Eventually to the point (culminated with some other concerns) that we left the church and have not really found a new church home.
For a long time, all of this because of my decor and my baking. In my heart, I internalized it as me doing something wrong to cause people to view me as shallow or uppity or whatever. It didn’t matter if I helped that person out in a million other ways – in my mind aesthetics must = self-serving.
This to the point that I hardly touched anything in our space for a year.
And you all, I was so upset. I still can’t fully think about some of our “past life” as I call it because the hurt is still there. It’s less and less with distance and time, but it’s time to let it go away.
So tying this back into Emily’s post.
When I read Emily’s words I just wanted to throw my arms around her and hug her sweet self. I wanted to say “thank you” and I will.
My home and my space should be a functional and beautiful representation of life. It should allow comfort and should allow us to open the doors and make people feel welcome in our home. Some of that is the environment and some of that is the heart.
That is my mission statement for our space. That right there.
Home should be home. It may involve mismatched items or perfectly collected antiques. In all reality, it doesn’t matter as long as it is something that creates beautiful joy and comfort.
My goal is to help others create this regardless of their space – rental, shared space, new home, old home.
My goal is also to let people in again. I know that may sound so silly, but I have literally and figuratively not allowed people into our space for quite some time. If I have let someone in, it’s because I really trust them and trust they will not make me feel like my love of colors and textures and comfort = the devil.
I know it’s rather a long and heavy post, but I just want to encourage others to do the same.
Please don’t shut off a God-given talent (like I did) if you can love others with it.
Please find people that support you and help nurture abilities.
Please don’t treat other’s talents as superfluous or silly. We are each given special qualities that can make the world or our communities better. Learning how to use those things in a humble and glorifying (not to us) way is important. Would I say that maybe I was so affected because some of my self-worth was tied up in my ability to make things nice – sure. I’d also say that some of it could be people inherently matter to people.
Words and tones and looks all affect others deeply. If you think they don’t go ask someone about a time that they were deeply hurt. I’d almost guarantee that how someone else made them feel, impacted them very greatly in whatever situation it was.
Above all, know that there is a bigger God out there that gave you unique and special gifts. The things that you are passionate about? The things that you daydream about? Those are potentially areas of your life that may be gifts that you can develop and share with others – not as idols or Gods themselves, but as ways to serve the community in which you live.
I end with this: