Creating Beauty for the Glory of God

(Please welcome Shilo as she begins sharing with us about decorating and God’s heart for beauty!)

Kitchen inspiration shelving - CL

I love to curl up on the couch with a big thick stack of design magazines.  I’ll admit it.  I love decorating.  I used to feel guilty about that and wondered what use it could possibly have on the mission field.  It seemed so shallow to think about coordinating fabrics when so many have yet to hear the Gospel message.

Recently, though, I’ve come to a place of contentment and gratitude.  The guilt is gone.  I am now convinced that the Creator God, whose image I bear, is glorified as I work to bring about beauty in my home.  I recognize that He is the Ultimate Designer and that when I get a little inspiration, it comes from Him.

It thrills my heart to look through Scripture and see how God has adorned His “homes” through the ages.  First, there was the Tabernacle.  The Ultimate Designer takes six and a half chapters to describe exactly how the Tabernacle should look!  We’re talking fine fabrics with intricate embroidery, specific color schemes, metallic accessories and skillfully constructed furniture.  He left no detail undone.  Next, He accepted Solomon’s spectacular temple, and allowed it to bear His own name.  The prep work alone took over 200,000 men and the building process lasted seven years.  That’s not surprising with floor to ceiling cedar paneling and every single thing overlaid in gold.  Finally, we read about the New Jerusalem.  John described this final home as purely beautiful, sparkling like a jewel.

It’s obvious that God enjoys being surrounded by beauty (just look at creation)!  So I believe we can safely say that the desire to decorate is the result of being made in His image.  However, let’s look a little further to see if God gives us any guidelines for the amount of time and energy we should put into beautifying our homes.

Proverbs 24:3-4, 13-14, 21 “A house is built by wisdom and becomes strong through good sense.  Through knowledge its rooms are filled with all sorts of precious riches and valuables.  My child, wisdom is sweet to your soul.  If you find it, you will have a bright future.  Fear the Lord.”

Proverbs 31:13, 14, 22, 25, 26, 30She finds wool and flax and busily spins it. She is like a merchant’s ship…She quilts her own bedspreads.  She is clothed with strength and dignity…Her words are wise.  Charm is deceptive and beauty does not last; but a woman who fears the Lord will be greatly praised.”

From the context of these two passages, we can (and should) glean that that adorning our homes is only one aspect of our lives.  Our chief pursuit isn’t decorating, but rather character produced by the fear of the Lord.  As we know Him more, His Spirit empowers us to oversee our homes with wisdom and knowledge and to use them as a platform for ministry.

CLX0507CHAIR16DG - CL

Not that long ago, we were planning to move overseas for the second time.  I had seen pictures of the house we would be renting.  I spent many, many hours looking at magazines for ideas about what to do with my lack of storage in the kitchen.  I shopped for a fabric that wouldn’t clash with my psychedelic brown and yellow swirl tile.  Was it a complete waste of time?  Not at all.  My home, in spite of all its warts, is welcoming and cozy and I love being here.  Still I can’t help but wonder now, how much more beautiful I would be if I had instead spent all those hours pouring over the Word and listening to my Savior.

As you can see, I’m no expert on anything.  I’m growing and learning just like you.  I encourage you today to pursue Christ passionately, and then if His Spirit guides you, do something lovely to your home.  Glorify Him with your creativity and bless your family at the same time.

Does decorating thrill or intimidate you?  Have you ever thought about God as the Ultimate Designer?  What could you do to your home today to express that you are made in His image?

(Post by: Shilo)

Images courtesy of “Country Living”

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31 Responses to “Creating Beauty for the Glory of God”


  1. 1 Ana October 9, 2009 at 6:21 pm

    Shilo

    Thank you for this post! You have inspired me, that is exactly the way I feel, for a long time I felt shallow and even ungrateful for the way I felt towards Graphic Design and things that were not Ministry-Related.

    I understand your love for Design, I love to get my hands into creative projects and I do believe that God has blessed each one of us to create and express ourselves in different ways.

    I don’t have the funds to buy “stuff” for the house, but I always make something that makes me feel at home, wheather it is painting a door, making cushions or even recycling bottles and using them as flower jars I try to make my home- homey and to bless my family and our guests that way.

    Sorry for the long comment but I am just really excited to read this post and getting to know you and your Design point view it’s a huge blessing.

    Hugs from Brazil

  2. 2 susanmarie October 9, 2009 at 6:37 pm

    I just wanted to say that I love this post! So well-thought-through. =) I love your picture of God as the Designer and lover of beauty. Thanks!

  3. 3 Ashley October 9, 2009 at 6:41 pm

    I also am so encouraged by this post! I always feel so moved to praise God as I experience beauty and I so appreciated your insight as to why this is, and specifically as to why God is glorified as we make our homes beautiful. I also have struggled to wonder how much I should care about decorating and the appearance of my home, and I so appreciate the encouragement to focus on God and blessing others rather than just on decorating for its own sake.

    I love to decorate as well, but I also have been very conscious about how I decorate lately and have been thinking a lot of how I should go about decorating our home (we just moved here 2 months ago). Specifically I have been trying to decorate with things that I already have or things that I can make or get inexpensively. I have been moved to decorate this way partially for my own financial reasons, but also because I want our home to be contextually relevant and I know that we as Americans are used to having more “things” than most of the people here where we live. I don’t want my stuff to be a hindrance to the gospel, but I do want my home to be beautiful and a blessing. I know you share this same heart, Shilo, from what you wrote in your introduction, and I am so thrilled to keep hearing what you have to share and to learn more from you!

  4. 4 Becky October 9, 2009 at 8:56 pm

    Shilo, so exciting to see you getting ‘published’!!! I love your article…I have much to learn in this area, as you know, but I’m workin’ on it! 😀

  5. 5 Betty October 9, 2009 at 10:22 pm

    I just had to comment here, and confirm that you did a great job with the decorating in the house you´re in! I was there to see it personally and it looks great. You encouraged me to make something of what we have, and not to always strive to want what we can´t….
    Great post Shilo!

  6. 6 Susan October 9, 2009 at 11:21 pm

    I love to decorate too and try to make our home warm and cozy. It is hard sometimes because I don’t want to make our home look TOO AMERICAN (as the comment mentioned above said). Also, I want to be careful that it isn’t TOO IMPORTANT to me. I also want to be careful not to spend TOO MUCH MONEY. But, usually I try to work with what little we have and make do. I find it a challenge each time we move (which is often) to try to make our new house “work” with whatever it has…trying to make it the best it can be, even if it is small or old or whatever.

    I think this blesses our husbands and our families. Even my boys notice little touches like plants and candles lit.

    Thanks Shilo for blessing me too. I share your “desire to decorate for Jesus” heart!

  7. 7 Tasha October 10, 2009 at 12:47 am

    Dear Shilo,

    Congratulations on being published. You present your thoughts in a clear and godly way. Thanks again for sharing your heart.

    I don’t consider myself to be a decorator or very creative, but I have been able to see the value God places on beauty and our responsibility to our families to provide a warm, inviting home. In understanding this precious gift we have to give our families I often feel I fall short and start comparing myself to others who have more creative abilities than me. But as I realize that God is the creator of all beauty, where I lack in creativity He fills in. I think He delights in being creative through us as we admit our dependence on Him. The outcome is heavenly! It’s through his strength and for His glory!

  8. 8 Shilo October 10, 2009 at 1:22 am

    Ladies…awesome conversation we have going here! You are such a blessing to me!
    In the months to come, I definitely want to talk about simple ways to decorate! We have so many challenges as missionaries – we want to be culturally appropriate, we don’t have tons of funds, and maybe what available locally doesn’t quite seem “beautiful” to us! 🙂 But it can be done. I think one of the reasons I have actually become more creative is because of NOT having a Target to run to. Imagine that! 🙂
    Hugs to everyone! Sweet dreams wherever you are!

  9. 9 Janna October 10, 2009 at 2:05 am

    We just finished a major remodel and I finally get to decorate my house. I love doing it and I love how it is turning out. I’m taking your advice to heart and am not going to feel guilty about making my home beautiful for my family and my guests (and myself). I am also going to be careful not to spend too spend much money or start to compare my house to others.

    Wonderful Post!

  10. 10 Addie October 10, 2009 at 5:17 pm

    Thanks Shilo for this article! I am definitely not a decorator, my husband is, but I do like using what I already have in new ways. I like using old books to decorate, or my kid’s artwork. I’m pretty frugal because our budget doesn’t allow me to spend a lot on fresh flowers every week, but I love getting things like that that freshen up our home. I’m looking forward to your articles!

  11. 11 Bethany October 11, 2009 at 3:08 am

    Shilo,

    Thanks so much for this post. I seriously have never thought about design as such a God given talent. I mean, I KNOW He is a designer and that He is creative but I just never connected it to interior design. I too love design blogs and magazines. I have been back home for a few months now and have had such fun decorating our new home on a serious budget. I enjoy it so much, mostly because I am making a home. Anyways, now I have scripture to turn to when I feel guilty about a seemingly shallow interest.

  12. 12 Kara October 17, 2009 at 9:37 pm

    God has been really teaching me to value beauty since it’s all a reflection of Him. I first saw it in the natural world, but have been thinking of it at home, now. We chose a small, new, apartment to rent over the larger but very dingy ones available. And I love living in a beautiful place. The lack of clutter, the cleanliness, the brightness all reflect God’s beauty to me.

    I’m trying now to do more ‘crafty’ things with my kids in order to decorate. But they don’t usually finish anything, and I’m not willing to pressure them (though it does frustrate me!). Plus, I’m always looking for things that actually end up looking nice… and yet are easy… any ideas?

  13. 13 Shilo October 18, 2009 at 4:31 pm

    Hi Kara, if you have a printer, you can get some fun and free art to frame up. Several free sites that I know of are Feed Your Soul: the free art project (http://indiefixx.com/Feed_your_soul/downloads.html) and literally thousands upon thousands of free vintage prints at http://vintageprintable.com/wordpress. Hang tight…we also have LOTS of fun and affordable ideas coming soon! 🙂

  14. 14 Julie October 21, 2009 at 9:48 pm

    Shilo, you are such an inspiration to me!!! Thank you for sharing from your heart. Maybe you’ll make a designer out of me yet!

  15. 15 EB Jackson October 27, 2009 at 8:05 pm

    so good to hear from others who are “making do” to create beauty in a new environment. cleaning out clutter has been the most effective way to make order and beauty in our home. there is beauty in simplicity. i also try to incorporate more than my sight when decorating my rooms. simple things like a chiming or ticking clock, classical or praise music softly in the background. smell: lamp rings (from USA) to fit on light bulbs, a big bowl of lemons or apples, pine branches, apple peelings and cinnamon simmering on the stove all day for no other reason than to smell good, scented candles, sizzling garlic and onions to meet hungry family members when they come home. taste:i like to decorate with pretty produce and then prepare it after its “peak” a tiered plate stand holds dark green limes, pretty bright orange mandarin oranges, red and green bell peppers, and purple onions right now in our kitchen. a big basket of inexpensive apples sits outside our front door now, on my small sink window sill perches several cute pots of fresh spearmint, fresh parsley, fresh basil, and freah green onion – pretty and practical!! squash, (to be cooked into punpkin pies and breads ) as well as gourds, pine cones, pretty red, yellow and orange maple leaves and pinecones line our long oak table for the entire fall season. WOW!! did i really write all that?? sorry i got carried away – i guess im passionate about making our home welcoming and inviting and love creative ideas using God’s colorful creation. thanks for the venue…

  16. 16 Bernice Shupe December 18, 2009 at 10:35 am

    Your title intrigued me as I read it in Ann Voskamp’s blog! The sixth of my seven sons is a missionary in Guinea, West Africa where he has taught children of two evangelists for three years. And I loved to decorate our home! Just finished decorating the Christmas tree! The house looks so festive! Since my husband (a dairy and crop farmer) is recently retired, he cut the tree and set it up. Even put on the lights! Otherwise he probably wouldn’t even have noticed it! I love to fix flower arrangements in the summer! One could be setting right in front of his plate, and he doesn’t even notice it! I just gently call his attention to it, and share how much fun it was to put it together. Quite different than being hurt that he again did not even notice it! God has given us talents, so let’s joyfully use them! I have encouraged my sons to take notice, and they are doing a great job of complimenting their wives!
    By the way, after having 7 sons, last week we had our sixth grand daughter! And we have 1 grand son – Abraham Elijah! God is blessing! He is so good!
    Remember to stay positive! Have fun fixing up your home with joy! The joy of the Lord will be your strength!

  17. 17 saltnlight February 4, 2010 at 9:25 pm

    Thank you! I really had not thought of this. You have changed my perspective.

    We had the most ever visitors in our home when we were recovering from hurricane damage and things were damaged and chaotic. That cured me a bit about making everything just so. I don’t have time to get things exactly as I want and I am O.K. with that.

  18. 18 Liz May 23, 2010 at 2:17 pm

    Thank you! We are in the support raising phase of moving to Honduras, and I have struggled with this idea a lot…not wanting to be culturally inappropriate, but still have our home be a sanctuary for our family! We are going to need it! Thanks!

  19. 19 PJ November 24, 2010 at 3:46 am

    Thank you for this post. I’m an HGTV addict. We are building a house right now, and after taking Perspectives, being overseas, reading Radical (by David Platt) and other books on living a Biblical life, I am riddled with guilt over the special little details we are adding to our home. So many have yet to hear the gospel and I just asked for upgraded crown molding on my cabinets. petty! Ugh…
    Your words are helping me to see that it is okay to enjoy God’s beautiful creation. Blessings on you! ~ Stacy

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