Giving ourself the freedom to enjoy and create beauty.
I saw these inspiring words at the Magnolia Market on a recent anniversary trip to Waco, Texas with my husband. They immediately resonated with my heart and I felt it respond, “Yes, that’s what I want to do.”
I researched who Elsie De Wolfe was and found out she is considered the inventor of interior design. She was a prominent figure in New York, London, and Paris and wrote the book, The House in Good Taste in 1913.
When my husband was in medical school and I was working to support us, funds were always tight. We rented a duplex in a rough neighborhood in Dayton, Ohio. It had no shower, only an old claw foot tub, old dingy carpet, and no air conditioning. I couldn’t wait for the day we could move out. During those stressful, lean days, my sister gave me some good advice.
Do what you can now to make your home beautiful.
Don’t wait until someday.
Taking her words to heart, I started doing what little I could to add beauty to our home. I got permission from the landlord to put up some wallpaper, paint, and plant some flowers in the front bed. In each place we lived, I tried to create beauty with whatever time and funds we had. I went to garage sales, sewed curtains, pillows and looked for sales and ways to repurpose old furniture. Those years were hard, but I learned a lot about creating beauty on a budget.
I have always longed to be make my home a peaceful and beautiful place to come home to, but have often felt guilty about taking the time and money to do this. A while back, I realized these times of creativeness and enjoyment of beauty were essential for my soul health.
I began to understand that we long for beauty because it is a desire God has placed in our heart. For example, we love to be in the mountains, forests, or near the water because our body begins to breath slower, our stress level goes down and we experience peace. Our restless heart quiets and the worries we carry begin to fade as we experience the beauty all around us.
Marketers intentionally put handsome men and beautiful women in front of our eyes because they know we long for beauty and perfection in our own lives. Musicians and artists stir our inner soul with longings we can’t express, while builders construct structures that point our eyes up and impress us with their power and beauty. It all touches us deep within.
I believe this desire for beauty is really a desire for God. We seek to create and enjoy beauty because it fills a deep need in our soul for a home we haven’t lived in yet and a God we wish we knew. It’s how he made us.
Listen to what Emily, creator of Jones Design Company writes about her discipline of daily artwork:
“This painting practice feels a little like daily bread. It feels like sustenance for my soul that is coming from the Lord. It’s an act of worship,. . . It’s an act of trust and obedience and while its vulnerable and risky, it feels like the very best and most joyful thing I can do.”
I have never thought of my artwork, writing, cooking, whatever I am creating as worship to God, however, I believe Emily is right. I don’t understand how or why, but when I take time to doodle a small drawing in my art journal, I feel stress being released. This small act of creating somehow brings me a little peace. God loves my imperfect artwork and receives it as an act of worship.
. I remember as a child standing beside my mother in church and realizing she couldn’t carry a tune. But that didn’t stop her. She sang as loudly and joyfully as those around her and I think in God’s ears, it sounded like opera. It was her gift of worship to him and he loved it.
You were meant for beauty.
You are free to give yourself the gift of creativity in whatever way you love to do it, whether it’s hiking, singing, creating music, baking, painting, or just doodling. The beauty you create may only be for your own pleasure (and God’s). Other times it’s just for our family to enjoy. But maybe someday it will be shared with others and feed their souls too. Give yourself the freedom, time, and money to explore this way of worshipping God. Your body and soul will thank you and God will smile.