The Green Room + Love

How can our home glorify God?

I am not a decorator. I can easily identify wheat I like and what I don't like, but somehow that doesn't translate to actually decorating my living space. In all of the dorm rooms and apartments I've lived in, the extent of my interior design was usually a couple of posters and a window valance.

So when we bought our house, I resolved that it would be a warm, welcoming place, instead of blank white walls. But I wanted it to be more than just homey. I wanted it to glorify God.

Now obviously the most important way our home can glorify God is through our actions and words, through the love shared within it. But I also believe the physical stuff surrounding us is important. So I began to pray, "Lord, show me how our home can glorify You."

For months I prayed this. Through the move and closing. Through the delivery and unpacking. Through the interminable furniture search. I patiently (for once) kept praying. It's not like decorating had to take place immediately - we have a 30 year mortgage, after all.

"Lord, let my home glorify You."

And then one evening when I completely wasn't expecting it, the Holy Spirit rustled in with an answer. Right there at my sewing machine.

"Don't buy crap made in China."

Okay, those weren't the exact words (though those are in fact words that have been uttered from my husband's mouth multiple times). But what the Lord was telling me is that our family is being called to glorify God through simplifying and through responsible purchasing. Simplifying is easy enough to understand - it means minimizing the toys, knick-knacks, and all that other stuff that crowds our homes to the point where we can't make it to the back of the basement and the thought of actually parking in the garage is laughable. It even includes (gulp) unnecessary kitchen supplies and impulse buys at the fabric store.

Okay, that's the crap part. But what about the made in China part? Hey, the Chinese needs jobs, too, and it's a lot cheaper for us to buy stuff made there. The thing is, it's really not about China (although I would rather not support an oppressive country that mandates forced abortions). It's not even about buying American, though that is our personal preference. It's about God's children.

When I buy something made in the USA, I can feel fairly confident that the working conditions for the people that made this were decent. Not ideal by any means, but probably not life-threatening or inhumane. I can't be certain of that, however, when I see things that were made in other countries. China? Cambodia? India? What do I know about the working conditions there? Next to nothing, except that I'm afraid to find out. I suspect the workers are not always treated with the dignity due to the children of God - the dignity that every human deserves, Christian or not.

So now our home decor purchases are limited to American made, fair trade, or homemade. I'd make allowances for other Western nations, but I really haven't seen anything out there to buy - apparently we Westerners only consume and don't produce.

This makes simplifying much easier. Trips to the home store or craft store are much less tempting when you realize almost everything is off limits. It's also more difficult. It seems I had barely finished thanking God for answering my prayer before I was trying to haggle specifics with Him. This was the beginning of December, after all, and decorating Miriam's room had been my plan for her birthday and Christmas gifts. I had bought more than a half dozen cheap gold frames with plans of a collage on one wall. Every single one was made in China.

"Since I bought those before I knew, I can still use them, right?"
Wrong. There was a reason you kept all those receipts. Back to the store they went.

"I love the idea of making all our curtains and even our bedding... but it seems like all the fabric is made in another developing country. What do I do about that?"
It's okay to continue buying it for now, but contemplate finding fabric that you know is responsibly made.

"Does this just apply to our home decor? Or to everything we buy?"
Start with the decor - it's more than enough. And it will make you so conscious of the issue that before long you will be reconsidering all your purchases.

"So just to clarify, are these Christmas decorations off limits? Because it's such a good sale and I promise I'll use them for years and years to come!"
Put down the wreath. Step away from the plastic garland.

Thoughtful consumption. For the sake of God's children. It's not easy, but it's what our family is being called to. You probably won't notice it if you're glancing around our house. But it is one way that our home is glorifying God.

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How can our home glorify God? + Love