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The Problem with Pinterest

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the problem with pinterest

I’m about to do something very stupid. (Unfortunately for me, it’s not a first). I’m going to take on a new American Icon. I’m going to mess with something that has quickly become as sacred as Mom’s apple pie.

I’m going to take a swipe at Pinterest!! Now don’t get me wrong, I’m thrilled that so many women are finding hours and hours of enjoyment at the click of a mouse. I’m also thankful for the world of ideas at our fingertips. But I’m beginning to wonder if Pinterest is making us into domestic perfectionists and hospitality hermits. Have we become venerate voyeurs who get our kicks from other’s accomplishments rather than making our own talents available to God?

I’m wondering if we’ve created such a high ideal for our homes, by being able to pin the absolute, collective, best ideas, that we don’t want to open our “in progress” homes up for entertaining? Rather than venture a BBQ or dinner party with friends, are we all sitting in our own “less than impressive” homes, by ourselves, in front of a computer screen, with the delusion that others’ homes are so much cooler than ours.

Living where we do and because of what we do,Tim and I have been in some spectacular homes and had some incredible meals there. So believe me, when it comes to inviting friends over to our “humble” house for a meal, I’ve had the same feelings of inferiority. It’s funny how you don’t really notice the peeling paint on the patio or the dingy beige carpet on the stairs until you have friends arriving in 15 minutes. That’s when I remind myself that this isn’t about me. Go ahead. Dim the lights! Light the candles! Wipe the water stains off the goblets. And smile.

Isn’t it just like the enemy to pervert the desire for a beautiful home to be about perfection and comparison rather than about relationships? I mean when we forfeit friends for flawlessness, we miss the whole point of making our homes a beautiful, welcoming place. Unless we want to create a museum, we need to forget about having an “idyllic” home and use our homes for something better – building relationships, encouraging others, and sharing Christ’s love with those who need a tender touch.

My friend JoAnne Thompson in her wonderful book, Table Life, puts our reluctance and idealism in perspective when she says this: We hold on to our homes like owners instead of stewards.

So my sweet, creative, talented friends, pin away! But let’s not forget that in the process, we are to use our homes to bring glory to God and joy to others. And no one has to know that the new area rug in the family room is covering up a huge stain of grape soda!

Here’s to shooting for perfection and settling for progression,

Love, Darcy

Darcy Kimmel

Darcy Kimmel has a heart for encouraging and equipping parents and grandparents to maximize their unique callings in life with the Grace Based Parenting model for relationships. Her greatest joy comes from her own family and relationships. Darcy speaks at marriage and parenting events with her husband Tim. As a writer, Darcy is co-author of several books on parenting, grandparenting and family relationships.

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  1. Alicia Wyant says:

    Well said. I had a wise man ask me once if I was inviting people over for “entertainment” or “hospitality?” We are called to hospitality, not entertainment. Hospitality is to make others feel loved and comfortable. Entertainment is American Idol – Fake. I enjoy Pinterest for ideas, but only if I do not lose sight of my true calling – to be a Christ Follower…

  2. Fran White says:

    Darcy, thanks for sharing your thoughts. Your are so right about people not wanting to have friends over because their house isn’t clean or perfect when in reality family and friends should just want to be together regardless of the state of the house. I never apologize for the state my home is in…and I tell this to young mom’s. Make your home a place where family and friends can gather and Christ’s love can be shared.

  3. MaryAnn says:

    If I could have back every hour I spent longing after what I didn’t have in my home, I would live to be a VERY VERY old age!
    For everything in the world–the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes and the boasting of what he has and does–comes not from the Father but from the world. 1 John 2:16

    My mom and dad Alberta Blakeman taught this example by living it. To this day, they can and will feed anyone a feast on a moment’s notice!
    Don’t forget to show hospitality to strangers, for some who have done this have entertained angels without realizing it! Hebrews 13:2

  4. Heathahlee says:

    I needed to read this today! I deal all the time with feeling like my home isn’t good enough to have friends over. I’m slowly getting over that…and try to overlook the awful floors that are in sore need of change! :)

  5. Linda says:

    Reminds me of decades old arguments about Martha Stewart before her conviction and after. I learned lots from her and her book, Entertaining. I also learned about hospitality from mo mom and other older women. Experience helped me temper my expectations that held me back. When it is all said and done, it is the heart of the one who welcomes the guests at the door. Do what you can handle, afford and enjoy! Your gueast will too!

  6. Janna Murphy says:

    I am sad that this is written about a fun and interesting website. I have found many wonderful ideas for my family from crafts to meals.
    Pinterest is a great way to learn how to redo something old, or learn to sew from things you have it’s a great way to go green.
    Someone always has to take apart things that can be positive and make the people that are doing something positive into something negative.
    I learned to see an amazing quilt sheets, make a dress from a pillow case and redo a desk. How can anyone complain about that.
    Please remember before knocking something think of all the good people may have learned from this website like weight loss ideas, how to cook of bake, knitting, sewing how to style there hair. How to make something out of something. The list is endless.

  7. Leanne H says:

    @Janna: I agree with both you and with Darcy. I think it depends on ‘what’ you pin and what the motivation is. i know that we could pin a lot of “perfect” rooms, outfits, nail applications, eye shadow and hair shots, and if we look at our hearts we will see the fruits of this – is it making me feel inferior and inadequate if i don’t achieve the ideal (blank)? I too have tried recipes, birthday ideas and crafts – some have gone well and others flopped! For me it re-energizes me when i can think of something NEW to make for supper! But anything taken to an exptreme can be bad. I know I have had to fast from Pinterest for Lent or Advent because the “addiction” can rob me of hours that I could have spent taking care of my family and home needs! Everything in balance.

    After everything is said and done, I still haven’t even attempted HALF of what I have pinned! But it is fun to know that there are cool things to try ‘one day’.

  8. Janna, I don’t think she was turning a “positive into a negative” I think as a Titus 2 woman she was cautioning those of us who are comparing ourselves and our homes to “the best” – we all need to hear the perspective of those who have experience. We live in a society where people always want MORE and to measure up. As with many things what was meant to assist and be a help, can become an obsession and lead us astray. Personally I appreciate her perspective, her loving others enough to give us a word of caution and the truth that people and relationships matter than more than possessions. I am so happy you are using Pinterest for practical purposes, but not everyone is. I have seen it waste hours and hours of some people’s days…it’s the age old problem of too much of a good thing becomes an abused thing.

  9. Suzanne says:

    The problem I have with posts like this is that I love to pin, and I love to look. I do not, however, lust after what I’m looking at. I’m not addicted to looking. And, while I appreciate the motive of the heart, I just enjoy seeing what truly creative people are able to come up with, because I’m not creative. I am hospitable, I have an open home, and I love down time with my family. Pinterest is like fantasy football for girls.

  10. Marsha says:

    “Forfeiting friends for flawlessness.” The perfectionist in me can make up a million excuses for not being hospitable… And then when I am, I sometimes pick apart what I should or shouldn’t have served or what I should or shouldn’t have said. Truth is, nobody really cares about it being a multi course meal or that the paper piles were stacked up into one giant pile and pushed to the corner. What they care about is connecting and real friendships. I think when we keep it simple, we give our guests permission to have friends over for dinner as well… Spaghetti without salad? Why not? It’s about togetherness.

    I am a fan of Pinterest and HGTV.. but I have had to cut back on both because I inadvertently let comparison steal my joy and contentment. :) I am always a work in progress!

  11. TONIGHT: We are having a THEME THURSDAY at our home. I get the first one. My THEME is “Welcome to Summer” with my own creative ideas for our family to CONNECT FACE TO FACE. My girls have already told me they’re looking for ideas (some via PINTEREST) to make their THURSDAYspecial!
    I’m not on PINTEREST, but I enjoy seeing the things my girls are looking at. It’s like THE greatest magazine without all the ads! AND…I can’t wait to see what they do on THEIR THEME THURSDAY!
    If you’re in our neck of the woods….join us for dinner for THEMED THURSDAY!

  12. Sonja says:

    “Table Life” what a wonderful book , and God seeking author.

  13. Vicki V says:

    Amen, sister! Perusing Pinterest and blogs can be both motivational and disheartening, depending on my mood. But I personally suffer from sensory overload and a sense of inferiority when I spend too much time on them, which is why I have cut back. Thanks for this post.